Friday, November 17, 2017

Wish I'd Written That: Al Franken Edition

don't like the guy at all, and that’s not based on politics but an experience with his extraordinary personal jerkiness. I don’t agree all the time with our other senator, but I like her, because she’s a decent person. Franken is an arrogant toad. I am amused that his sonorous pomposity has been pierced by the boob-grabbing photograph of something he thought was funny, because it cuts right to the heart of his self-conception.

"He’s probably always thought he was a comic genius. He’s second-rate. If that. No one searches Netflix for “Al Franken comedy.” No one who watched SNL ever thought “oh wonderful! It’s Al Franken,” and no one ever said SNL was can’t-miss-TV this week because Al Franken was back.

"I don’t think he should have to resign his Senate seat. That seems a bit much, but I didn’t make the rules. Did he say he doesn’t remember doing what he did? Because if I wrote a script so I could kiss a Playboy model, I think I’d remember.

"Quite a bonfire, isn’t it. You might say a wienie roast."

- From today's Lileks

I couldn't have put this any better myself. To be fair, though, his apology was a model of contrition, the kind that every crisis management team should have on file to give to their clients.

Hopefully, he actually meant it. And that's not meant as a reflection on him, as much as it is the general cynicism in which we find ourselves nowadays. You'd like to think that these people really are sincere when they make apologies like this - or at least that they meant it at the time they said it, if nothing else - but unfortunately, we have too much evidence pointing elsewhere to be able to do so.

As to whether or not Franken should resign - yeah, he probably should. In a perfect world, or a lab experiment marked "U.S. Senate," probably not. A formal censure, even a reprimand, would probably suffice. But I'm not sure that kind of thing does any good anymore; we don't value integrity as we once did, or even pay it lip service. Something like a censure would amount to little more than a slap on the wrist; there wouldn't really be any stigma to it. In the age of lifetime politicians, the loss of their office is probably the only thing they really understand.

It's a chicken-and-egg thing. Is the problem how to punish a guy like Al Franken, or is it how a guy like Al Franken got into the U.S. Senate in the first place?

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