How The Franken Thing Is Going To Play Out

… is anybody’s guess, but I have two supportable (and very different) hypotheses.

The first is short and sweet and I’ll give it to you straight.

Tweeden and Senator Franken get together, possibly with their families, and have a pow wow. They emerge from this to announce a newly formed organization to destroy the patriarchy in government. Franken throws his viability as Senator to the voters, and stays in the Senate, but the two of them launch a major campaign to rethink and rebuild gendered relationships at the levers of public power in America. All is well.

The second hypothesis is a bit different, and in this one, Franken resigns. Here’s why.

To understand this there are a few things you need to know about that have not to my knowledge been noted by the press or commentators, but that are very important.

Each US state has two senators, each elected for six year terms. Minnesota has Senator Klobuchar, who will be running for re-election during 2018. Senator Franken will be running for re-election in 2020. This means that Klobuchar has to campaign with a guy living under a cloud, or to avoid him, which is difficult because of the way they have campaigned in the past.

Franken is more liberal than Klobuchar. Franken appeals to voters in the Twin Cities and Klobuchar is more popular with voters out state. The state of Minnesota is largely divided into Twin Cities vs. outstate, with the former liberal and the latter conservative. Some will say that is an oversimplification, and it is, but note that Congressperson Keith Ellison represents the core of the Twin Cities and Michele Bachmann represented a big outstate district.

When one of our two senators runs, the other helps in their own zone. Senator Klobuchar campains with Franken outstate, and Senator Franken campaigns with Klobuchar in the cities. Franken explains to the extremely liberal people of South Minneapolis that he needs Amy, and they should overlook the fact that she says it is OK to hunt wolves. Klobuchar explains to the people outstate that she needs Al, never mind the fact that is a flaming libard. And so on. That’s how a state like Minnesota gets to have two such great Senators.

It might be better for Amy, the party, and the state, to jettison Al and run with a different strategy.

We are going to have a gubernatorial election in 2018, as two-term Democratic governor Mark Dayton will not seek re-election.

Minnesotan governors are in office for notoriously short periods of time, despite the absence of term limits. The governorship became a 4-year gig in 1958, and no governor ever served more than two terms consecutively since. More importantly, the last time we’ve had a single party in office for more than two term was a series of Republicans starting with Harold Stassen in 1939, and ending with Elmer Anderson in 1955.

Combining these last two facts, we normally would expect that the Republicans will take back the governorship of Minnesota in 2018.

(Remember the 2016 Presidential election? History said a Republican would win. Common sense said a Democrat would win. Who won?)

Minnesota Democrats (called locally DFLers) have been running some outstanding candidates for the DFL endorsement this year, and the Republicans have not gotten their acts together. It is widely thought that, with Trump in the White House, and the Minnesota Republicans behaving badly in various other ways, that the DFL, which is currently in the minority in both houses of the legislature, will probably take the state Senate, maybe the state House, and have a very good chance of taking the governorship.

But taking the governorship is not at all certain. Any DFLer running for governor in Minnesota right now is living with this very uncomfortable uncertainty.

If Franken resigns, Democratic Governor Mark Dayton appoints his replacement. He will replace Franken with a woman, obviously. If you look at the candidates running or very likely to run for Governor, for the DFL endorsement/primary, most of them are women, including one who is not officially running yet but will. Two of those, Rebecca Otto and Lori Swanson, are constitutional officers. Otto is the Auditor, a position Dayton once held, and that is seen as a pre-governor position by many. Swanson is the Attorney General. Both are widely liked and very well regarded in their parties, across the state (except by some Republicans, of course), and nationally. Both would make excellent Senators.

If Franken leaves the office of Senate prior to June 30th (I may be off by one or two days on that date) 2018, there will be an election in 2018 for that seat. Presumably the appointee will run for that office. If the vacancy begins after that date, the election will be the following November (2019).

Here is a very important added point folks outside of Minnesota may not know about and need to understand. Within the state, it has suddenly become apparent that there is a lot — A LOT — of horrible behavior by men in the Minnesota state house. Lots of physical sexual attack, harassment, etc. by elected legislators (and others, I think) against women, including the elected women in the legislature. This is all suddenly coming to light locally, just as it has been nationally for Hollywood and other venues. The Governor has come out with strong condemnation of that sort of thing, and you can expect him and everyone else in the state to be on the war path against patriarchy-sanctioned bad male behavior against women. If Senator Al Franken is a piece of bread, this situation is a Sunbeam toaster.

Putting this all together, we have enhanced pressure for Franken to commit to leaving the US Senate. We have a strategic reason for him to leave in several months rather than right away, but that would be difficult. Unless, of course, there was a lengthy (as they always are) investigation. Insisting on an investigation may even be a way of controlling timing.

Ideally, from a Minnesota DFL point of view, Franken would leave on July 4th weekend or so, just about six weeks before the primary in which Otto, Swanson, and the others, are running. Dayton picks one of them to be Senator, the other goes on to win the Primary, and that person becomes governor.

It does not have to be either of those two women sent to Washington. It could be Erin Murphy or Tina Liebling, also running for the DFL nomination to run for governor. I don’t think the governor would appoint Tina, she is fairly anti-Dayton in her current campaign. Erin maybe, she’s well respected, but I have no idea how she stands with Dayton. It could be his Lt. Governor, Tina Smith.

It won’t be any of the men running, including Congressman Tim Walz, who has largely unqualified himself for statewide DFL support by being too close to the NRA in an era of concern over guns, and too easily sided, in the past, with anti-environmental causes. Also, he and the other men in the race are not women at this time, and I really think Dayton has to appoint a woman, would appoint a woman, and he has no shortage of high caliber talent who are women.

At the moment, Otto is the head and shoulders above the rest best candidate in the governor’s race, on all the issues, and it would be a shame to see the state lose her to DC. But, it would be a huge gain for the country. On the other hand, Swanson being moved out of the race would make it more likely for Otto to win in Minnesota in a year which is jinxed by the historical trend.

Time will tell.

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46 thoughts on “How The Franken Thing Is Going To Play Out

  1. It is time for another sensational Barrocko
    Beer Summit?

    Another solution would be for the Senate “ethic”
    committee to sentence Mr Smiley to six months community
    social work, in the ghettos of Chirack.

    Professor Laden, a very well presentation, indeed.

    By the way, Ms Otto is herself not particularly bright.

    The cost of her auditing “crews” is that they are neither
    time efficient nor cost effective; so have all too many
    municipalities testified.

    Yet she keeps insisting that her state agency unit should
    continues audits, rather that private accounting firms.

  2. Bill, you are wrong about Auditor Otto, but I do appreciate the fact that you just revealed your exact political affiliation and motivation.

    1. “She holds a Master’s of Education from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Biology from Macalester College.”

      I suspect her Biology degree, makes her eminently knowledgeable
      regarding auditing and accounting matters.

      Has Ms Otto ever worked in the private sector ?

    2. “Has Ms Otto ever worked in the private sector ?”

      Irrelevant: only a moron would think that work in the private sector is any preparation for work in government. (Checks to see who asked the question): Oh, yup, verification for the idiot part.

    1. Most likely how it will play out is that more women will start making complaints about Al.
      People in Minnesota will make a judgement about whether it is worth removing him. My guess is it would not be, and that he has behaved decently as Senator. However, if his behavior the last decade is more like Joe Biden, then he is gone.

    2. The metadata does match. He just attributes more to the report than is in the report. She found out about the picture after the trip. That doesn’t mean it had to happen after the first incident.

  3. Your Deanship said “Irrelevant: only a moron would think that work in the private sector is any preparation for work in government.”

    It is this philosophy, why governmental units are so wasteful
    and non-productive – much like your assessment(s).

    In fact, Dean, most of the Demco operatives, are lifetime careerist
    whom flourish in this type of an environment. Where there is any
    form of market demands, they would either be cashiered or
    employed in a dead end position.

    Your way of thinking, saps America’s economic resources
    and moves economic opportunities overseas.

    Thanks so much for being a poverty pimp, like the rest of
    your party’s representatives.

    All 216 of your Progressive Pals voted to denied
    American a tax break!

    What happen to your standard clarion call – “fighting for you?”
    What a group of fraudsters. Time for Bernie “I did” Madoff
    to have company.

    Mr Dyson, you are vacuuminess in your approach for the
    betterment of the middle class; the free market; and our
    economy. Back, back to the USSR, where no one is a tsarrr,
    back to the USSR!

    Everything the Progressos touches turns to manure. It reeks
    to high heaven.

    If you reply, please make sure to call me a racist and a liar
    and idiot too, because your mental capacity is limited to
    only degrading your fellow human being.

    When do you want to schedule lunch?

    I will read to you from Uncle Mao’s Little Red Book.

  4. What I keep missing in this conversation is that the photo looks staged – he’s looking at the photographer and mugging, and you can see shadows under his fingers, so he wasn’t actually touching her.

    It’s a totally wrong photo, and not funny in any way today, but what was it’s intent? What was the conversation right before and right after the photo? No one knows, apparently, and the other people in the room haven’t come forward.

    If it was a candid picture taken of Franken fondling a woman, that would be straightforward. But this pic is not that simple, and I think yes, the Senate needs to have an inquiry.

    1. I know Greg has mentioned the evidence that the pics were staged, but that seems to be missing from most of the discussions I’ve read elsewhere. As he has said, the two things – the kiss rehearsal and the photo – keep getting conflated.

    2. There is a link above to a twitter discussion. Someone claiming to be the photographer says the whole thing is staged, and LeeAnn is awake.
      Also, that the color around Al’s neck and the file metadata implies doctoring.

      Problem with all this is it means:
      1) Al confessed to something he knew was false. Could be faulty memory.
      2) Someone edited in Al’s head onto a picture of someone else fondling LeeAnn in the same way. They would have also done this and shown the pictures to LeeAnn immediately, not recently.
      3) The metadata is not inconsistent with the story. LeeAnn saw the pictures after the fact. From her view it was forced kiss, then the grope photo. However, the photo could have been taken earlier, and doesn’t have to be Christmas Eve.
      File edit date would still contradict 2, but is interesting.

    3. The photo is definitely stagey, but she may very well have been asleep and unaware of what was going on. And if you look at his hands, the shadows, and the hastiness of the pose, it’s hard to tell if he actually intended to make any contact. That doesn’t make it any less tacky or even any less appropriate, but it makes you wonder how much of this is because of hyperactive, juvenile antics gone sideways.

      As for the kiss… harassment? stupidity? stupid harassment? clowning stupidity with some harassment thrown in? … You tell me.

      I will say this much for Franken, he seems to have made an honest effort to sober up for his role as senator. That’s more than you can say for the other jackasses we’re seeing in the news.

    4. MikeN,

      Re: 1)

      Whatever happened, the best move politically was for Franken to just apologize and avoid turning the situation into an even uglier public spectacle than it already is.

      In other words, either way, the honorable move in this situation was for him to suck it up, take the hit (come what may), and not behave like a little Trump.

    5. I think I meant “…any less inappropriate…” above.

      Commenting in the AM without caffeine.

  5. I too find this picture very fishy. It’s obviously a sight gag in poor taste but I agree obviously staged with Franken participating. Who was the photographer and what was his (I’m assuming) understanding of what the intent was… Ms Tweeden (who willingly played the birther game on Hannity = she’s either a simpleton or a liar) claims she had the photo for ten years. Where’d she get it. She knows Franken…why never bring it up personally? Why never during his narrow window in MN?And why does she come forward now then claim she doesn’t want an investigation? And why does she now after a career as a glamour model act pull the librarian act with the fake bcgs? And Roger Stone? This whole thing reeks.

    1. Well, another claim is certainly not good for Al, and from what I’ve read this latest women’s claim is credible despite her being a Trump supporter (who poses for pictures with Al Franken amazingly). Doesn’t much change my opinion of Ms. Tweeden’s claim.

      But of course the mammoth in the room is that an admitted serial sexual predator, compulsive liar, and flaming a-hole is the current Republican president.

  6. JohnW said “Doesn’t much change my opinion of Ms. Tweeden’s claim.

    But of course the mammoth in the room is that an admitted serial sexual predator, compulsive liar, and flaming a-hole is the current Republican president.”

    Why is one credible and the other not? Please advise.

  7. OA, why is it a smart move for Franken to apologize for a picture he knows is fake? Seems to me the smart move is to deny it, declare it a fake and attack LeeAnn as trying to set him up.

    He’s giving minimal apologies and gone into hiding, hoping he can ride out the storm. He never denies the actions of the newest accuser or says that he never takes pictures like that.

  8. Well, if it’s an out-and-out fake, yeah — especially with credible evidence. But if it’s a matter of interpretation of events, then probably not as it would likely devolve into the kind of endless he said/she said that just tars everybody and stirs the pot.

    FWIW, without having examined the original photo (just some Internet versions) I’d say that if it’s been composited, then somebody did a remarkably good job of it.

    If it was simply retouched, interpretation of it likely wouldn’t change much — especially if it was just batch processed (through Photoshop actions, macros, or whatever) or otherwise run through global filters. IMO.

    1. …although I do wonder why he isn’t wearing a vest like the others in the photo…

      Or he may not want to quibble about the photo if he crossed the line with the kiss.

    2. …and now that I look again, while the shadow outlining his figure is believable, I’m not quite sure the lack of shadow on the rest of the photo quite adds up with the angle of the lighting…

      Ah well, I leave it to the experts.

  9. His Deanship said “Yes, you are scum bill.
    I’d ask you to look for a defense of the people you point out from me, but that would require a little effort on your part and you’ve demonstrated a comfortable lie on your part is preferable to any semblance of work or decency.

    The problem is, as has been pointed out, that you are one of the simple-minded folks who believe bad actions by one person in a group are proof of the evil potential of everyone in that group. Stupid, for anyone capable of thought, but typical for a “christian”.

    When you begin ranting the same way about Moore, President Trump, Ralph Shortey, and going on about how their actions come from the lack of morality of the Republican Party you will be on your way to a little self-rescue.

    Then you’ll defend nazis, the KKK, and others, and we’ll simply have it stressed again that for you conspiracies and falsehoods are more important than rational thought.”

    It is a good thing that you failed, repeatedly, your trial lawyer exam, as
    most if not all of your clients would be guests of a governmental institution.

    I pity you, as you must have a most miserable existence. You are always
    angry and spiteful. Your only course of action, with some minor deviations,
    is to routinely smear your opponents with lies and innuendos.

    You are an intellectual worm, with not a single shred of integrity nor
    honesty. The capacity to fairly debate your opponent, with give and
    take, is beyond your sense of fair play or justice.

    Since you clearly lack the ability to employ any form of cognizant
    functions, you are essentially only left with the the skills of a
    neanderthal and perhaps then in the lowest quadrant.

    On the other hand, as a raving and unhinged proponent of
    the truth, you excel in the most extraordinary manner. You
    are like a Broadway show, entertaining but nothing of lasting

    You are a complete bore, distasteful, and an ever broken
    record. The only social cohesion you bring is that of sadist,
    an attack dog, as your mental facilities are unable to cope
    with civil reason and rational.

    I suspect the only time you will have full and complete
    satisfaction, is when you boots are on the throat of your
    opponent – grasping for breath.

    You, Dean, are morally bankrupt. And the only question is
    whether or not you are redeemable?

    1. And again, you avoid calling out the members of your party. Point made.

      I pity you, as you must have a most miserable existence. You are always
      angry and spiteful. Your only course of action, with some minor deviations,
      is to routinely smear your opponents with lies and innuendos.

      Hmmm. I do get upset at people who lie (as you do), support racists (as you do), support people who would reduce freedoms and marginalize women and minorities (as you do), all while trying to hide behind a veil of being “christian” (as you do).

      You’ve made your life as a science denying, racist loving, person bb. The fact that you don’t like being called on those things is irrelevant.

  10. Your DeanShip, there are too few on my side to “call out.”
    You “side” appears to have a state monopoly.

    Another eight pin strike! Charles “red” Rose, charged
    by eight women of being a sex pervert! Groping, doping
    and walking around naked to reveal his 75 year old
    battered body. He should be charged for offending mother

    The assault media at its best.

    BTW, where are the Feminists ? Where is Gloria “I am” Allred ?

    Where are the Leftist – because they are always “fighting” for
    women rights and dignity ?

    Why have not the right honorable gentlemen on this website
    mention any of these perverts names or issued condemnations ?

    You and I know how deeply this illness runs in your collective

    We are having a clearance sale on burkas and an additional
    discount for all Greg Laden posters.

    1. You do notice that folks like Rose and Franken are immediately called to task and the women are believed, don’t you? No — because you choose not to and prefer to lie.

      That isn’t happening with you or with Republicans in general.

      You are as complicit in the ills of abuse practiced by your folks as the Pope is in reference to the centuries of (usually sanctioned) abuse by the priesthood.

    2. BB

      BTW, where are the Feminists ?

      Where are the Leftist – because they are always “fighting” for
      women rights and dignity ?

      You aren’t going out much, are you?
      Try the blog Pharyngula or the news website Wonkette. For starters.

      OTOH, you seem the type who is just out to peddle cheap insults on a few people you singled out. I understand why you wouldn’t dare facing a large lectorat comprised of principled feminists and leftists and you prefer pretend they don’t exist.
      Smart boy.

  11. His Deanship said “Hmmm. I do get upset at people who lie (as you do), support racists (as you do), support people who would reduce freedoms and marginalize women and minorities (as you do), all while trying to hide behind a veil of being “christian” (as you do).”

    I find my retort simply by the contents of your incomprehensible words.

    The folks whom reduced women freedoms and marginalize them, are
    your Progresso Pals in Harveywood, the MSM (MOP), and members
    of the Demco party. Let’s not forget Old Man Bushneck and the moraless
    Rep Mark Sanford (R).

    As usually, Dean, you are insincere and myopic; typical trademarks
    of Leftwingers. Mud slinger par excellent.

    You should also note, that Christians are not beyond reproach.
    Doctor & Minister Martin King Blvd, exemplifies how Christian
    are subject to human frailties.

    You should love Christians, as Pope Francis shares most of your
    values. Even devils have high friends in the Vatican.

    BTW, Charlie “red” Rose needs your condolences. I am sure that
    global warming affected his actions. He simply got hot for women.

    I nominate Dean for – Slurist of the Year.

    1. I find my retort simply by the contents of your incomprehensible words.

      Such an odd style. English not the first language, I think.

  12. Greg:

    Your resignation theory sounds very reasonable.

    Made more so by the 2010 allegation.

    If a third or fourth come to light (not a prediction – just an “if”), it makes it even more likely.

    I don’t think this sexual harassment/assault issue is political.

    I think men of all parties will be worried about their past practices coming to light.

    I couldn’t believe the Charlie Rose story – that was a surprise to me (just from watching him on TV). I think this will roll on and on – with a new revaluations every day for months to come.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see this hit the academic world soon.

    Why there are even stories circulating in the patent law community which could be the subject of #MeToo posts. It seems that bad things always happen at Christmas parties. So I expect stuff to come out in my professional circle soon also.

    We will see I guess.

    Really fascinating!

  13. His Deanship utters “You do notice that folks like Rose and Franken are immediately called to task and the women are believed, don’t you? No — because you choose not to and prefer to lie.”

    What a doltish statement, Your Deanship. Nice deception, however, both
    acknowledged their actions.

    It is a good thing you are not a state prosecutor, you would have
    few convictions: albeit the defense community would love you,

    Charlie “red” Rose was and is a Conservative hater.

  14. Your Deanship uttered “You do notice that folks like Rose and Franken are immediately called to task and the women are believed, don’t you? No — because you choose not to and prefer to lie.”

    Overtime – without the rhyme.

    No diversity nor equality, as the senator ignores the LGBTQ community,
    whom would warmingly greet his advances.

  15. Oh, dear, another sex crazy leftist pol
    groping and doping women.

    Hey, Dean Old Bean, the list is getting
    bigger and bigger each and every day.

    Wait for next November, the Socshevik
    crap will be clean out of CONgress and the
    Red Horde will explode with violence and
    seen for a century.

  16. The difference between “the left” (there is no single group under that umbrella) and the modern republican leadership is that the people you point out face consequences while the republicans don’t.

    More importantly, we have an abuser-in-chief who stated yesterday that having a man with a record of stalking and abusing young girls in the Senate is more important than having a man who prosecuted KKK members who bombed a church.

    It’s easy to see why bb likes the president — they are both completely lacking in any integrity or decency.

  17. The only person lacking integrity here bb is you, who can’t distinguish between honesty and nazis, the kkk, and won’t denounce a president who admitted to abusing women, walking in on teens in the dressing room during beauty pageants, and worse, or others on the right.

    Again — the people you announce are facing repercussions for what they did, while people on the right who are as guilty are not. The fact that you are fine with that — and with the nazis and kkk people you support — don’t paint a good picture of you as a person (neither do your hints at shady business operations) but do put in in good standing on the modern right. A true reaganite.

    1. Conservative fought a war over character in politicians should matter, and were defeated soundly. The lesson learned is that Democrats will protect their own no matter what, but will insist Republicans should be thrown out.

  18. The lesson learned is that Democrats will protect their own no matter what, but will insist Republicans should be thrown out.

    So you aren’t paying attention either?

  19. I have to admit, I wasn’t as happy with Franken’s speech as I expected to be. Too much of a nonpology.

    He did make a good point: he (and other) Democratic folks have fallen for these incidents, but on the right people are perfectly happy to ignore abuses of equal or worse levels, simply because “they need the votes”. More evidence about what anyone who pays attention already knows: The Republicans have no real interest in morals or decency, only politics. (Witness McConnell’s recent comment about Franken and compare it to his non-comments about Moore and the president.)

  20. In answer to Bill up above about Otto in the private sector. She and her husband built a rather large and successful business (Otto Construction or something like that) which they sold while it was at a very healthy state, and the business is still going strong, state-wide. I think she’s done other things as well but that is a multi-year private sector successful venture that she should be very proud of.

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