Simply put he should never have resigned.
Courtesy of The New Yorker:
Only two years ago, Franken was being talked up as a possible challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020. In Senate hearings, Franken had proved himself to be one of the most effective critics of the Trump Administration. His tough questioning of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, had led Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, and prompted the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.
As it turns out, Franken’s only role in the 2020 Presidential campaign has been as a figure of controversy. On June 4th, Pete Buttigieg was widely criticized on social media for saying that he would not have pressured Franken to resign—as had virtually all his Democratic rivals who were then in the Senate—without first learning more about the alleged incidents. At the same time, the Presidential candidacy of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been plagued by questions about her role as the first of three dozen Democratic senators to demand Franken’s resignation. Gillibrand has cast herself as a feminist champion of “zero tolerance” toward sexual impropriety, but Democratic donors sympathetic to Franken have stunted her fund-raising and, Gillibrand says, tried to “intimidate” her “into silence.”
Franken’s fall was stunningly swift: he resigned only three weeks after Leeann Tweeden, a conservative talk-radio host, accused him of having forced an unwanted kiss on her during a 2006 U.S.O. tour. Seven more women followed with accusations against Franken; all of them centered on inappropriate touches or kisses. Half the accusers’ names have still not become public. Although both Franken and Tweeden called for an independent investigation into her charges, none took place. This reticence reflects the cultural moment: in an era when women’s accusations of sexual discrimination and harassment are finally being taken seriously, after years of belittlement and dismissal, some see it as offensive to subject accusers to scrutiny. “Believe Women” has become a credo of the #MeToo movement.
Mayer did some digging in Tweeden’s past, and explores the accusations made by the other women, and then ends the article with this:
The lawyer Debra Katz, who has represented Christine Blasey Ford and other sexual-harassment victims, remains troubled by Franken’s case. She contends, “The allegations levelled against Senator Franken did not warrant his forced expulsion from the Senate, particularly given the context in which most of the behavior occurred, which was in his capacity as a comedian.” She adds, “All offensive behavior should be addressed, but not all offensive behavior warrants the most severe sanction.” Katz sees Franken as a cautionary tale for the #MeToo movement. “To treat all allegations the same is not only inappropriate,” she warns. “It feeds into a backlash narrative that men are vulnerable to even frivolous allegations by women.”
I have made no secret of my belief that Al Franken was railroaded and used as an example to prove that Democrats believed women no matter what and that all accused of sexual impropriety would be punished without fail.
Jane Mayer does an admirable job of revealing why that was a dangerous prescedent for the Democrats to set and how it cost us one of our very best.
Do yourself a favor and read the article from start to finish.