Democrats brace for the comeback of Al Franken

When he resigned from the U.S. Senate in January 2018 at the height of #MeToo amid allegations of inappropriate behavior, Al Franken said he wasn’t going away. So it seems somewhat absurd that anyone is surprised that he’s reappeared in public life with his new podcast, similar to his pre-Senate “Air America” days.

Franken isn’t talking about the quick push by Democrats to get him out of the Senate — led by presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who provided the final shove — but whether he paid too high a price is still being debated, the Washington Post says.

Gillibrand, who’s struggled to distinguish herself in a crowded field, is asked about it on the campaign trail all the time, the Post says.

Franken isn’t talking publicly. Privately, the paper says, “he can’t shut up about it.”

“Regardless of whether you think it was right or wrong for him to leave the Senate, his voice is missed in the midst of this Trump-created crisis of democracy we’re living through,” said Stephanie Cutter, political consultant and former deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama.

The podcast, which quickly has become one of the most popular political podcasts, appears to be a first step to “getting back in the fray.” But what’s the second step?

“I think he made out like a bandit,” said Tina Dupuy, a former congressional staffer who accused Franken of grabbing her waist during a photo in a way that made her uncomfortable. “He’s not the victim here. And now we’re talking about a comeback without him even being fully honest about what he’s done.”

Hilary Rosen, a Democratic consultant, says that for Franken to be fully welcomed back into the fray, he needs to take responsibility for why he’s no longer in the Senate. Too many people, Rosen said, are blaming Gillibrand for his resignation, putting responsibility onto a woman for the actions of a man.

“He never comes to her defense,” Rosen said. “I’ve heard through the grapevine that he blames her and is resentful. Shame on him.”

Franken, in refusing to talk to the Post, indicated that he’s not going to be a shrinking violet among Democrats.

“I can’t explain it right now,” he said. “There will be a certain point I give my first interview, and when it happens, I think you’ll understand.”

  • Angry Jonny

    Bob, we are all going to miss you terribly come Thursday. Enjoy your TOTD with Looch, and similarly, enjoy your well earned retirement.

  • Rob

    Hmmm…expecting any politician to be fully honest is a fool’s errand. But if and when Al publicly acknowledges that it’s his behavior that cost him his Senate seat and that he has stopped blaming Gillibrand, he may yet be useful in the battle to dislodge T.Rump and his toadies from power.

    • Barton

      When has he said he blames Gillibrand? Though, I think she is to blame because he was forced out before a thorough investigation was done. And what was discovered in the end deserved censure but not the equivalent of “firing” (at least in my opinion).

    • Sonny T

      Even the Devil won’t be able to bring him back : ) And I think there’s better people than Franken to whack the Trump pinata, that’s for sure.

  • J Allen

    Maybe Al can be interviewed by Garrison, as they have a lot in common.

  • Barton

    I don’t understand why Rosen thinks Franken should come to Gillibrand’s defense, to be honest. He has apologized for his actions in the photos and he took his witch hunt punishment without so much as a sarcastic aside. What did she want? A “thank you ma’am, may I have another?”

    • Jeff

      I’m still in the camp that says the voters of Minnesota should have made this decision. I blame Gillibrand for grandstanding and won’t vote for her if she’s still around for the primary.

      • Sonny T

        Remember Franken resigned to avoid further inquiry. And still refuses to talk. This tells the whole story. If he had any shot at staying in, and facing the voters, he would have.

        Gillibrand took the high road. There is a low road, and that’s supporting an abuser. Bravo for her.

        • Jeff

          Please check your facts. He resigned because he lost support from fellow Democratic Senators. Gillibrand was one of the first to ask him to resign. He was calling for a Senate inquiry and wasn’t dodging an investigation.

          • Sonny T

            Really? They wouldn’t let him go through with the Senate inquiry? They forced him out? These are the facts?

        • Among the more puzzling aspects of my time doing NewsCut is why people spend so much time here spreading misinformation as fact. Is it that they’re legitimately uninformed ? Or is it intentional.

          Whatever it is. Stop it. It diminishes us all.

          https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/30/senate-ethics-committee-launches-its-investigation-al-franken/911503001/

          • Sonny T

            Now I’m puzzled. Whad I miss? What “misinformation” am I spreading? Did he not voluntarily quit, as I stated? If he was forced out, and not allowed to address the investigation, I stand corrected.

            Of course he “welcomed” an investigation. They all say that. Right before quitting.

          • // Remember Franken resigned to avoid further inquiry.

            C;mon, man. Get it together.

          • Sonny T

            You don’t think that’s why he resigned? Of course it is.

            We still don’t know his side of the story, besides vague denials. And he’s not taking questions. There are words, and actions. The actions are what counts.

          • Take a seat Sonny.

          • Sonny T

            I’m not poking the hornet’s nest this week, that’s for sure.

            I thought everyone saw this the same way. Franken resigned voluntarily. It looked bad. But it was going to look a lot worse, and he knew it.

            These guys aren’t allowed back. Long live Me Too.

          • Postal Customer

            “These guys aren’t allowed back. Long live Me Too.”

            Which, of course, does not apply to the president.

  • 212944

    Listened to the Air America show back then. Still miss Katheryn Lanpher on MPR.