Thursday, December 3, 2009


Some Republicans are chonked off at Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) because he made them look as if they’re rapist sympathizers.

At issue is an amendment to the Pentagon spending bill that would bar “future and existing” federal contracts to defense contractors and subcontractors “at any tier” who mandate employees go through a company’s arbitration process for workplace discrimination claims — including claims of sexual assault. The measure passed 68-30, with 10 Republicans voting yes and 30 voting no.

Franken, who declined to be interviewed, has said previously that the measure was inspired by the story of former KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones, who alleges that she was drugged, beaten and gang-raped at age 19 when stationed in Baghdad. She fought the arbitration clause in her contract, and in September the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that Jones’s sexual assault allegations were not “related to” her employment, allowing her to proceed in court. KBR is fighting the ruling.

And now groups who support rape victims are taking the Republicans who voted against the amendment to task. GOP senators such as John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota are pissed that Sen. Franken isn’t doing anything to stop the groups from beating up on them.

“I think it would be helpful for Sen. Franken to come forward and say, ‘I’m not suggesting that anybody who votes for my amendment is indifferent to crimes against women or anybody else,’” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who voted against the amendment. “What’s going on politically with the amendment Sen. Franken can’t control, but I think it would be helpful for him personally to just let the rest of us know that’s the views of others — not him.”

Actually, I think it would be a lot more helpful if the Republicans could just for once accept responsibility for their votes instead of blaming someone else for their own problems. In other words, “Oh, grow up!”