Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is benefiting from the same type of defense as former President Bill Clinton did after sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape charges were voiced during his administration — that if he's right on the issues, then his personal behavior can be excused.

Let's be frank. It's been a bad fall for Hollywood glitterati, politicians and pundits who can't walk their talk, whose personal behavior doesn't match their public pronouncements.

But — and you knew this would happen — the Bill Clinton rule is beginning to pervade, especially for those accused of sexual wrongdoing on the left side of the political spectrum. If the accused is perceived to be right — as in correct — on the issues, their personal peccadilloes can be set aside.

No less than feminist icon Gloria Steinem, after all, had the then-president's back.

"If the President had behaved with comparable insensitivity toward environmentalists, and at the same time remained their most crucial champion and bulwark against an anti-environmental Congress, would they be expected to desert him? I don't think so," she wrote in a 1998 op-ed in The New York Times. "If President Clinton were as vital to preserving freedom of speech as he is to preserving reproductive freedom, would journalists be condemned as 'inconsistent' for refusing to suggest he resign? Forget it."


One by one, Steinem belittled his accusers, including this glossing-over about one of the incidents:

"Even if the allegations are true, the President is not guilty of sexual harassment," she wrote. "He is accused of having made a gross, dumb, and reckless pass at a supporter during a low point in her life."

Some of the latest on the left to be outed for incidents of sexual perversity already have their Steinems.

For U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., there's liberal comedian and longtime friend Bill Maher, who admitted Franken "did a bad thing" but shouldn't be lumped in with other men like Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein or Donald Trump.

And his former female coworkers on "Saturday Night Live" offered their "solidarity" on Twitter.

"In our experience," the tweet read in part, "we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer and an honorable public servant. That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm that after years of working with him, we would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard."

Nevertheless, a second woman has now come forward with claims about Franken.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the longest serving House member and top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, was reported by Buzzfeed on Monday to have used public funds in 2015 to settle a sexual harassment complaint from a female staff member.

The longtime congressman previously was investigated by a congressional ethics committee in 2006 for allegedly using his staff for personal errands, including babysitting his children, but no formal action was taken. In 2009, his wife, Monica, then president of the Detroit City Council, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

Just last month, though, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., touted Conyers at a women's luncheon as "supportive of women for many, many, many years."

In an address where she said she wanted to "recognize a record number of women who are boldly coming forward to reveal disturbing and grotesque acts of sexual harassment, assault and rape, often times at the hands of men who believed they were too rich and too powerful to ever be confronted or held accountable," she saluted her colleague because "he has impeccable integrity on all of our issues."

The key words, of course, being "integrity on all of our issues."

As of Tuesday, liberal lion Charlie Rose, host of his own show on PBS and co-host of "CBS This Morning," had few defenders other than himself after being accused of sexual harassment by eight women.

He always felt, he opined in a public apology Monday, "that I was pursuing shared feelings."

Although CBS moved ahead and fired Rose Tuesday, a CBS News executive who spoke to the Los Angeles Times on the condition of anonymity trotted out the Clinton defense of Rose's potential value to the country (and, no doubt, the liberal cause).

"There is not a single person of note on the planet who does not know who he is," the executive said. "His talent was so in the stratosphere."

We wrote earlier this week our belief that even Democrats are rethinking defending Clinton. So we don't believe the recent impassioned defenses of liberal sexual abusers will hold much water. It's the same kind of holier-than-thou talk, after all, that sunk Hillary Clinton and put an admitted sexual harasser in the White House. How's that for irony?