The GOP’s never-ending Judge Moore problem
The GOP does not have a Judge Roy Moore problem. It has a Judge Moores problem. That’s plural for a reason. Moore is hardly an aberration in GOP ranks. In the past two decades the list of GOP governors, congresspersons, and state and local officials who have been accused of, convicted of and either summarily dumped from office or resigned reads like a Who’s Who of a roster sheet of sexual deviants. A long list of GOP sexual rogues have engaged in sexual molestation, rape, pedophilia, pornography trading, peeping tomism, and every sort of internet sexual trading, pandering and solicitation imaginable.
GOP Senate and party leaders sweat bullets over Moore in part because he is a political embarrassment and a potential lethal political liability with the 2018 mid-terms around the corner. Having him in office, and in the Senate, would be a direct threat to their shakiest of shaky grips on that chamber. They are toying with every desperate political trick and tactic in the book to get rid of him. That includes: finding a write-in candidate, delaying the December 12 special election, and the even more longshot tact of moving to deny him a seat or expel him if he wins the Senate race.
That’s only part of the reason the GOP sniffs deep danger in Moore. He casts the ugly and sordid public glare back on the GOP’s long history of being a safe hideout for packs of sexual deviants. Moore is yet another reminder of what has been standard operating procedure for the GOP’s family values, Bible-thumping moralists who have previously gotten caught with their pants down. In nearly all cases when the sexual deviancy, profligacy, philandering, abhorrent fetishes and pedophilia of GOP notables is exposed, the word that instantly comes to mind is hypocrisy, with a capital H. And, in nearly all cases, the news of their misdeeds quickly blew over. They were not endlessly pounded by Democrats for their acts. This stands in stark contrast to the virtual crucifixion of former North Carolina Democratic Senator John Edwards (and for a time, top Democratic presidential contender) after the revelation that he had an affair and fathered a child out of it. With Edwards there was even some talk of a criminal prosecution, as a spin off from the infidelity and out of wedlock child fathering. The party has repeatedly whipsawed Democrats for being the loose, anything goes, under miners of family values by touting gay marriage, abortion, and Planned Parenthood. These have become in the GOP hit lexicon code words for the “permissiveness” that then GOP presidential candidate Richard Nixon lambasted Democrats for in 1968. He parlayed that attack into a White House win.
In the years since then, GOP presidents, presidential candidates, and nearly every GOP officer holder, or would-be officeholder used Nixon’s morals script to win and hold office, and tar and slander Democrats as apologists for immorality. Despite the bad behavior of legions of GOP officials, the GOP has firmly imprinted family values defenders as its exclusive preserve. It will not give up the morality preserve without a fight.
Moore himself is a near textbook example of that. He has virtually told GOP leaders to stuff it. He will not step down. He has legions of local GOP operatives and party officials in Alabama and in other parts who passionately defend him, and finger point the usual suspects: Obama, Clinton, the liberal media, and put-up vengeful women out to torpedo the candidacy of a staunch conservative.
GOP Senate leaders are indignant and rage at Moore because he’s a huge political albatross. They are stone silent, though, about how the Moores of the present and past have been so pervasive a fixture in the GOP. And worse, how GOP elected officials have led the charge against such things as transgender bathrooms and pornography, while themselves being outed for fetishes with pornography and child sex.
The beauty of the Moore flap beyond making the GOP squirm in trying to cut and run from another alleged sexual deviant in its ranks is that it exposes a political vulnerability of the GOP. That’s important in the next round of GOP initiated culture wars over abortion, transgender bathrooms, and strengthening LGBT protections.
Whether the Democrats chose to make an issue over the Moores in the GOP or not is less important than the fact that the GOP beyond scrambling to protect its political turf has no answer for them. And Moore and the Moores in the GOP will always take great comfort in that.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.