Rush: It’s good that Dems are supporting Franken because it lets us point out their hypocrisy
“Good” is emphatically the wrong word under the circumstances. It’d be good if the GOP were purging its ranks of politicians credibly accused of harassment and then using Democrats’ hypocrisy to pressure them to do the same. But that’s not what Rush means. What he means, in the context of touting John Hinderaker’s endorsement of Roy Moore, is that it’s “good” that Democrats don’t have the nerve to back up their feminist rhetoric with action because it means Republicans get a free pass. If they won’t boot Franken and Conyers, we don’t need to boot Moore. If they didn’t take Juanita Broaddrick seriously, we don’t need to take Trump’s accusers seriously. It’s a race to the bottom, enabled by the insinuation that Republicans need only behave as scrupulously as Democrats will allow them to be. If Dems are looking the other way at their bad guys, there’s nothing that requires us to be any better. That’s a weird concession for the pope of conservative talk radio to make. Democrats, not Republicans, are the yardstick for moral behavior in politicians?
And what if the Democrats did boot Conyers and Franken tomorrow? What would Rush say?
There’s no scenario in which he calls on Moore to quit, not even if a half-dozen new accusers come forward this week. If anything, paradoxically, that would strengthen the belief that this has all been a scam: Moore’s campaign has settled on the fact that no one accused him of improprieties before, despite the fact that he’s been running political campaigns for decades, as proof that the allegations about teenaged girls have been trumped up. If more women come out of the woodwork, well, that just makes the whole thing that much more improbable, doesn’t it? The lesson of Harvey Weinstein and the ensuing cascade of accusations against others, though, is that it’s not that unusual for women to keep quiet for many years before speaking up. Look at Weinstein; look at Bill Cosby. Juanita Broaddrick didn’t go public for years after she was allegedly raped by Bill Clinton. It’ll remain a mystery whether it was Moore’s Senate run that finally caused his accusers to talk to the media, fearing that he was on the verge of winning an unusual amount of power he didn’t deserve, or if it was the newfound credulity with which the public has greeted the accusations against Weinstein, Ailes, Brett Ratner, Bill O’Reilly, and so on, that made them think they’d finally be believed.
If either Moore or Franken ends up going down, though, odds are it’ll have less to do with the sturdiness of the accusations against them than with the fact that they lack the coveted “icon” status that gives presidents and congressional institutions like Conyers a pass. David French:
From Ted Kennedy to Bill Clinton to now John Conyers it appears that the “icon” defense is alive and well. It’s a virtual mathematical formula, power versus progressivism equals immunity plus praise.
Trump is mocked for claiming that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and not lose support from his base. Well, Kennedy proved he could drown a woman in Massachusetts and still be one of the most beloved liberals in the Senate. Bill Clinton got his “one free grope” and perhaps even one free rape. John Conyers and Al Franken are less powerful but still progressive. Thus they survive and soldier on when virtually any other “icon” in Hollywood, the media, or corporate America would be long gone — especially now, in post-Weinstein America.
The point about how other “icons” are being dispatched in the private sector can’t be emphasized enough. Conyers, Franken, and Moore aren’t examples of public servants or would-be public servants being held to the same low standards as the cretins in Hollywood or the media. They’re being held to a lower standard. Weinstein was fired from his company and will soon be facing indictment; Louis CK is momentarily unemployable and Kevin Spacey probably permanently so; John Lasseter in on leave from Pixar and might never return; Charlie Rose lost a 40-year career in less than 24 hours. Businesses are dealing with misconduct within their ranks, however belatedly. America’s legislature isn’t. And its voters seem to want it that way for tribal partisan reasons.
A footnote in lieu of an exit question: The Daily Beast reports that Lee Busby, a retired Marine colonel, is seeking to enter the Alabama race as a write-in candidate, no doubt one who’d pull more from Moore than from Jones. Democrats are united behind their nominee, although it’s an open question how many of them will turn out. Republicans are not and Busby could give some “Never Moore” voters a place to park votes. What makes this semi-interesting is that Busby has a White House connection. He was once vice chief of staff to Gen. John Kelly, now Trump’s own chief of staff. Is Busby going to get any covert White House support? Is he running at Kelly’s behest? Anything that raises his profile would imperil Moore. It’s some coincidence that the former right-hand man of Trump’s right-hand man is suddenly positioning himself to play spoiler.