An apology from Al Franken is welcome, but I think he should find an appropriate public forum to explain his sexually abusive behavior. It squarely fits in the middle of a social crisis — massive sexual abuse of and violence against women — that has exploded into the national consciousness and turned this commonplace, but up to now socially hidden behavior into something that is socially exposed and unacceptable. Of course, this shift in social attitudes wouldn’t have happened without many courageous women — young and old — coming forward to painfully tell their stories of this destructive behavior, perpetrated by men of all ages — all of whom are in some way in positions of social power. Franken in my opinion owes a fuller accounting of what he did and why he thought it was acceptable to the Democratic Party, the progressive movement, the people of Minnesota, the country, and, most of all, Leeann Tweeden.
1. G.W. Bush’s speech was a timely intervention in our national dialogue. There is little doubt as to who his targets were. Moreover, he speaks to an audience that must be reached if Trump and Trumpism are to be decisively defeated. GW is a member of the ruling elite, but he’s not part of that particular fraction that is willing to move beyond traditional democratic norms and embrace authoritarian rule and practices. And in his speech he made that perfectly clear. That should be welcomed. Defending our democracy will take people of diverse views and interests. Our talking points and tactics should reflect that fact.
Which is why I have gotten a little irritated at some people on left who feel compelled in recent days to remind us how bad the Bush presidency was. Do they really think we have such short memories? My guess is they don’t. And some other motivation is at play here.
2. In a recent oped, Paul Krugman writes that the outcome of the governor’s race between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie is of crucial importance.”Whatever happens in Virginia, the consequences will be huge. If Gillespie pulls this off, all the worst impulses of the Trumpist G.O.P. will be empowered; you might think that things can’t get even worse, but yes, they can.”