The classic Ambrose Bierce short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, which was later made into a prize-winning short subject film by director Robert Enrico that captured laurels at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival and which eventually made it’s way into American culture at-large when it was shown as an episode of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone TV series played out in Real Time on the floor of the United States Senate yesterday.
Standing on the bridge, noose around neck, was The Condemned Man – one Senator Al Franken, (DFL-MN), who has been fighting a losing battle against his party’s Sexual Harassment Blue Coat Brigade for a month now.
And when the moment came to Stretch the Rope Al chose The Long Drop in the hope that he might still find A Way Out before his political neck snaps when his boots stop a few feet shy of the creek bed.
Over at Minnesota-based Powerline blog Steven Hayward lays out The Escape Route:
Did anyone else notice a crucial passage in Franken’s statement on the Senate floor this morning? He said that he’d be resigning “in the coming weeks.” How many weeks? Will reporters ask him for a date certain? Notice, too, that he neither apologized nor admitted to any wrongdoing. Quite the opposite—he essentially implied that some of his accusers are lying, and he couldn’t help but attack President Trump and Roy Moore.
I think Franken is attempting a super-Clintonian dodge. He had to address the immediate firestorm, but he’s probably holding out for Roy Moore to win the election in Alabama next week, be seated in the Senate by the Republican majority, and then Franken may try to rescind his promised resignation, the storm having blown over and attention shifting to the baggage of Moore. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the Democratic Senators who called for his resignation yesterday suddenly reverse course and say Senator Moore changes everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole thing wasn’t hatched as a stunt by Chuck Schumer to relive the pressure on Franken, set up a renewed attack on Trump, and up the pressure on Republicans over Moore. Gotta keep that “GOP war on women” theme alive! Like Clinton in 1998, I’ll bet Franken thinks he can brazen this out if he temporizes. You should never underestimate the Gollum-like fanaticism of politicians to hold on to their offices.
There is no reason for Franken to stay on beyond today. Gov. Dayton can appoint a replacement Senator right away. Keep a close eye on whether Franken casts votes on the Senate floor or in committee in the coming weeks. That will be one clue.
Yup, that Long Drop is gonna feel like An Eternity for us all…
(Alternate title for this post: Grope? Get the Rope!)