Senator Bob Corker (R. TN) deserves all the credit for this title. In a tweet posted earlier today he said
Look, I'm sorry, but even before these reports surfaced, Roy Moore's nomination was a bridge too far.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) November 11, 2017
The reports he is referring to are, of course, the allegations of sexual abuse by Judge Moore when he was a 32-year-old assistant District Attorney against a 14-year-old girl. The Washington Post published these allegations earlier this week and lit a firestorm within an already fractured Republican Party. Defenders of Roy Moore (he no longer deserves the appellation of Judge, having been removed twice from the Alabama Supreme Court) have performed some incredible mental gymnastics to support the nominee.
One of the most common complaints heard is “Why didn’t these girls (now grown women) come forward before now? Isn’t the timing suspicious?”
- Answer #1: The Washington Post reporters did what investigative reporters do. They investigated rumors that had been circulating for some time about Moore’s predilection for young girls. They found four women, who were unknown to each other, with similar stories, that were verified by 30 sources.
- Answer #2: If you are a 14-year old girl in the South in the 20th century, do you really think anyone is going to take your word against that of the assistant District Attorney? A man who has the power to persecute and prosecute you. In fact, Alabama State Representative Ed Henry has already called for these women to be arrested.
- Answer #3: Investigating a complex story requires time to develop contacts and verify sources. The Woodward and Bernstein investigation into Watergate (also published by the Washington Post) went on for nearly two years. Their editor required at least two independent sources for each report. This Washington Post article has 30 sources for their story.
Then there is the – even if he did what they say he did – who cares? The Alabama State Auditor compared the scenario to that of Mary and Joseph. Or the – if he did it, it was a long time ago, who really cares anyway, and I’ll never vote for a Democrat.
In Southern politics, there are always a number of dirty, little secrets floating around. Some are pure speculation (is so-and-so really the senator’s illegitimate brother?) while others are fairly well known such as who is sleeping with whom. After time, some politicians will even admit their secrets, like the time a former governor of Georgia admitted in my presence that yes, he had paved rural roads using state money in order to get votes.
Then there is the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” proposition. As many legal and political scholars have pointed out, this is applicable only when one is facing legal ramifications such as loss of liberty or property if found guilty in a court of law. It does not apply in the court of public opinion. Richard Nixon had not been charged with or found guilty of any crime when he resigned the Presidency, although speculation was rife that he was the third “unindicted co-conspirator.”
But Senator Corker is right. Even before this scandal erupted, Roy Moore was already carrying enough baggage that should have sunk any reputable candidate. Moore, supposedly someone conversant with our Constitution, did not think a Muslim should be sworn in as a Member of Congress – in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution which states in Article VI
“but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
In 2005 Roy Moore said that “homosexuality should be illegal” according to CNN News. There has been no indication that Moore has changed his position on this issue. Those are views better suited to Iran and Saudi Arabia than the United States of America.
As stated earlier, Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court twice for refusing to enforce rulings issued by the United States Supreme Court. Under our system of government, if you disagree with a Supreme Court ruling there are several options open to you. You can file another suit, you can petition for an amendment to the Constitution, but you are not allowed to defy them.
Any of these positions taken by Roy Moore should be ample justification to deny him a seat in the United States Senate.
This story is rapidly unfolding and changing from hour to hour. On Friday night when appearing on Sean Hannity’s show Moore said his recollection of what happened so long ago was hazy, and he “might” have dated some young girls but never without “asking their mother’s permission.” He was 32 years old. Just how creepy is that.
But on Saturday his memory had become crystal clear and he vehemently denied all the charges against him. However, more people are stepping forward to confirm his fondness for dating young girls, including a former co-worker in Gadsden.
In the meantime, the number of Republicans calling for Moore to bow out of the race is increasing. The National Republican Senatorial Committee filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Committee on Friday severing all ties with Moore campaign according to the Chicago Tribune.
From Mitt Romney
Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 10, 2017
To John McCain
The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 9, 2017
And most recently, the Governor of Maryland
Roy Moore’s defenders should ask themselves if they would be so quick to excuse him if the victim was their daughter or if the offender was a Democrat. He is unfit for office and should step aside. Americans are better than this.
— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) November 11, 2017
have called unequivocally for Moore to drop out of the race. Other members of Congress have publicly withdrawn their endorsements while some like Mitch McConnell are using the “if true” caveat before calling upon Moore to bow out.
However, Alabama Republicans appear to be standing behind their candidate and, in the long run, they are the ones who really matter. But this scandal already seems to be affecting Moore’s standing in the polls and he is tied with Democrat Doug Jones in the latest one. After the blue tsunami at the polls on Tuesday, if enough disaffected Luther Strange Republicans line up with independents, they could turn the tide in Jones’ favor and flip Alabama blue.
If there is a silver lining to be found it is that Donald Trump has resoundingly endorsed Moore, after previously endorsing Luther Strange who lost the Republican primary.
Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
And most people who are on Twitter are familiar with the Rick Wilson Rule:
EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES