The Corner

Politics & Policy

Al Franken’s Failed Dodge

Al Franken sat down with a local Minnesota CBS reporter, Esme Murphy, this week and did himself no favors. If you have the time, you should watch it. Franken keeps trying to say he doesn’t remember doing anything wrong, has a different memory than his accusers, etc. But, Franken explains, because he so, so, so respects women, if they feel they were disrespected, that’s bad enough. It’s all too-clever-by-half parsing and dodging, very reminiscent of 1990s therapeutic-culture locutions that emphasized empathy over facts. One great thing about the interview is that Murphy is having none of it. She keeps going back to the actual charge — that he grabbed these women’s butts. How do you not remember that?

But the other great thing is that Murphy actually brings up the point that has bothered me the most about Franken’s gaseous word-cloud pseudo mea culpas: Normally, Franken never puts up with any equivocation from people he doesn’t like. He’s always rolling his eyes and chortling at people who don’t answer questions clearly or, more often, the way he wants them to be answered. He rose to political prominence by writing books that started from the supposition everyone he dislikes or disagrees with is a “lying liar.” As a senator, he assumes that his political opponents are always arguing in bad faith. If a Republican were in Franken’s shoes trying to hide within a fog of bovine fecal mist, Franken would be a dervish of mockery. But now he can barely contain his anger that he’s not being allowed to do exactly that.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

Most Popular

Elections

Democrats Are Dumping Moderates

The activist base of the Democratic party is lurching left fast enough that everyone should pay attention. Activists matter because their turnout in low-turnout primaries and caucuses almost propelled leftist Bernie Sanders to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated New ... Read More
Culture

Questions for Al Franken

1)Al, as you were posting on social media a list of proposed questions for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, did it occur to you that your opinion on the matter is no more relevant than Harvey Weinstein’s? 2) Al, is it appropriate for a disgraced former U.S. senator to use the Twitter cognomen “U.S. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Strzok by a Farce

An investigation is one of two things: a search for the truth, or a farce. The House is conducting a farce. That fact was on full display during ten hours of testimony by Peter Strzok, the logorrheic lawman who steered the FBI’s Clinton-emails and Trump–Russia probes. The principal question before the ... Read More
Film & TV

Stalin at the Movies

Toward the end of The Death of Stalin, two Communist Party bosses size up Joseph Stalin’s immediate successor, Georgy Malenkov. “Can we trust him?” one asks. “Can you ever really trust a weak man?” his comrade answers. Good question. Last week brought the news that the head of Shambhala ... Read More