While Democrats might be rewarded for their moral stance, they also run the risk of being accused of hypocrisy if they don’t police all their members equally. Already, Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada is refusing to resign despite detailed allegations that he sexually harassed a former campaign staffer. It was only last month when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Conyers an “icon” when pressed about disturbing allegations—before backtracking under pressure. Franken, the party’s biggest sacrificial lamb, pointedly declined to apologize to his accusers in an unusual resignation speech in which he touted his record as a champion of women’s rights.
If a Republican governor were tasked with appointing Franken’s replacement, would there have been widespread calls for resignation? Count me skeptical. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a leading voice against sexual harassment, took her time to call on Franken to resign—well after a half-dozen women came forward detailing the comic-turned-senator’s apparent history of groping.