I like Al Franken immensely and was distraught when he was in essence railroaded from the senate, by a small group of overzealous Democrats, rather than wait for his ethics review, in connection with a sexual harassment charge from many years back when he was a comedian. Franken chose the high road, to leave rather than excite further controversy and I respected him for that then and I respect him for it now. The good news for us is that Senator Franken has not left public life, he now has a blog where he is doing social and political commentary, Al Franken.com. Below are excerpts from his piece on Trump and coronavirus, “The President Is Crazy.”
The president is crazy*. We see that every day. But he is the president. He won the election – technically.So, we just have to live with it – having a president who is clinically insane*. […]
The president’s mental illness* allows him to be both intellectual sloth and supremely confident jerk, ever convinced that he (and he alone) can do everyone else’s job better than they. Generals, climate scientists, public health experts. And he’s always right. Because he’s a psychopath*.And this Donald Trump brand of psychopath* is never wrong. Even when being wrong will cause the additional deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Let’s start with his very first public assessment of the most-deadly worldwide pandemic in a century. Asked at Davos by a CNBC reporter, “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”
Jan. 22 – “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control.”
Jan. 24 – “It will all work out well.”
Jan. 30 – “We have it very well under control.We have very little problem in this country at the moment – five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.”
Feb. 10 – “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
Feb. 19 – “I think the numbers are getting progressively better as we go.”
Feb. 20 – “…within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero.”
Feb. 22– “We have it very much under control in this country.”
Feb. 25 – “…the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus… They tried the impeachment hoax … and this is their new hoax.” (to Sean Hannity)
Feb. 26 – “We’re going down, not up.”
Feb. 27 – “It’s going to disappear.One day like a miracle – it will disappear.”
Feb. 29 – “Everything is really under control.” (The vaccine will be available) “very rapidly.”
March 2 – “It’s very mild.”
March 4 – “…we’re talking about very small numbers in the United States.”
March 6 – (visiting the CDC) “I like this stuff.I really get it.People are surprised I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability.’ Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.” Maybe.
March 6: (same availability) “Anybody who wants a test can get a test. That’s the bottom line.”
March 7: “I’m not concerned at all. No, we’ve done a great job with it.”
March 10 – “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
March 16 – (asked to rate his own performance) “I’d rate it a ten.”
March 17 – “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” […]
What will Dr. Tony Fauci do when this idiot* suggests that it would be a beautiful thing for Americans to pack the pews on Easter Sunday? Oh, he just did that?Even though that would be just cuckoo*?
But what will Dr. Fauci do the next time? Or the next? Flinch? Roll his eyes? Tactfully correct the president?I beg you, Mr. President. Keep Dr. Fauci! Yes, it’s just a matter of time before you put him in an untenable position and his measured, diplomatic response will set you off because you are a lunatic*. And you will want to fire him because you will be in an uncontrollable rage. That’s going to happen, because it always happens, and because you are completely unhinged*. […]
But please, sir, don’t.Not because he is an indispensable asset during this once-in-a-century worldwide pandemic. No. Keep Tony Fauci because he will guarantee you an enormous audience. Millions more will flock to their screens for the drama. It’s Salieri versus Mozart. The bitter, twisted hack against the true genius dedicated to his God-given gift. And remember which one died early and was dumped into a pauper’s grave!
It would be fun to watch, if it weren’t so sad.
Don’t go to church, everyone. Stay home, everyone.
*I am not a psychiatrist. Nor have I personally examined the President.
It is so sad to lose this man’s intellect and his insights from the senate. That debacle was truly handled wrong. I wrote a piece on December 7, 2017 when Franken was accused of sexual harassment, and it appears below. “Why Al Franken Being Tried By A Kangaroo Court Doesn’t Feel Right — Because I’ts Not”
We live in strange and emphatically trying times. Times when a boasting sexual assaulter sits in the Oval Office, an accused pedophile runs for the Senate with the full endorsement of his party, and on the other side of the aisle, one of the best and the brightest of our Senators, Al Franken, just officially became the sacrificial lamb on the altar of sexual harassment. This is not to say that Franken did nothing wrong and whatever the facts of his alleged transgressions now constitute a moot point at best. The ethics investigation was not allowed to go forward. What is left at the end of the day now is the confused political mishmash wrought by the events of the past few weeks since Franken first stood accused. We now have to sort through the wreckage and see where we went and where we are right now with this situation — and frankly? This may be a day that Democrats come to regret. Daily Beast:
This is where I see some opportunism at work, in two ways. First, let’s cut to the chase: Do you think we’d have heard all these calls for his resignation from his Democratic colleagues if Minnesota had a Republican governor? No way. Maybe a couple senators would, but as a group they wouldn’t be nearly so cavalier about dumping him if they knew a Republican was going to replace him. And that’s fine; that’s politics. Newsflash: Politics is political. But it does make me take these high-moral-ground statements of his colleagues with a few grains of salt.
Now Gov. Mark Dayton is throwing a wrench in the works by evidently appointing a caretaker on the condition she not seek to keep the seat, which opens the seat up to the real possibility of Republican capture in 2018 (maybe by Norm Coleman, the Republican Franken defeated in 2008). I wonder how many Senate Democrats calling for Franken’s head would have thought twice if they’d known Dayton was going to pull that boneheaded move, instead of appointing a younger star like state Attorney General Lori Swanson who could build a real Senate career.
Second, obviously, the Democrats are hoping to present to America a contrast between them and the Republicans. And that contrast is real. But it, too, is not really about morality. It’s because rank-and-file Democrats take sexually inappropriate behavior a lot more seriously than rank-and-file Republicans do. This week, Quinnipiac polled about 1,700 people and asked them whether an elected official accused (and only accused) of sexual harassment or assault “by multiple people” should resign. Among Democrats it was 77 percent yes to 14 percent no. Among Republicans it was 51-37.
The glaring problem with this case and the way it was handled is two fold: 1. The ethics investigation should have gone forward. No matter who was saying what, due process should have been allowed to prevail rather than the kangaroo court which did prevail. The Republicans are laughing their asses off at us and for that we are responsible. 2. Lines are now blurred with respect to different levels of sexual crimes and their severities. Whatever Franken was accused of doing, the facts do not reach the exploitative level of Donald Trump nor the sheer perversity and debasement of Roy Moore.
Again, a sane step back, a dispassionate investigation of a body of evidence would have been by far the best. Had that scenario been allowed to prevail, not only would justice have been done in the classic sense but clear and reliable precedents would quite probably been established. As it all stands now, we had a lot of high emotion and declamation leading up to a climax, but hardly a solution. We may have technically “won” this battle — but we did not advance ourselves in this cultural war. If anything, we went backwards. The denouement was not satisfying — let’s see if the coda is any better.
The coda appears to be that Al Franken continues to serve and I saw kudos to that.