Monday, July 22, 2019
Hindsight is 50-50
While I really think Jane Mayer generally does great work, this piece does nothing for me. I felt like Tweeden's political bias was irrelevant to whether or not her claims should be taken seriously at the time, and still do. I think it was pretty clear at the time that conservative media was positively gleeful about reporting a liberal senator as having been accused of sexual harassment, and that dynamic, while interesting, isn't surprising to us after years of their paying attention to "but Bill Clinton's penis" (which was, in its day, somehow even more ubiquitous than "but Hillary Clinton's emails").
What remains the case is that there were more allegations, that numerous senators called on Franken to resign, that he made that decision himself, that once he resigned, no further investigation was going to happen (or would satisfy the right wing radio scandal-mongers) and that looking back in anger, regret, or anything else will simply never tell us "what might have been". Hindsight isn't 20/20, it's 50-50.
For me, the bigger picture was the accused sexual harasser/rapist in the White House, the accused pedophile Roy Moore, and the ability to take seriously claims that we believe and stand with women who report sexual harassment on the left. It couldn't be a "both sides" issue. Life isn't fair.
I think Franken was right to resign when he did instead of dragging it out, and I can totally understand his regret now, just as I can understand how his friends and supporters feel about that. I think it definitely is that case that right wing media cynically seized on it, and whether it was true or not never would have mattered, and the same people who wanted Franken's scalp, would go on to defend Kavanaugh or any other conservative figure under allegation of sexual wrongdoing. We don't know what would have happened had anything been just a little different.
And for what it's worth, people who want to blame any of this on Senator Gillibrand can pretty much stuff it.