By any rational measure, Judge Roy Moore should never have been nominated as a senatorial candidate. His statements over the years have proved that he does not understand the constitutional separation of church and state; he believes his role is “to obey God’s law,” not that of the state or nation in which he presides.
He believes that homosexuality is a perversion that should be outlawed, and that “disfavoring practicing homosexuals in custody matters promotes the general welfare of the people of our State in accordance with our law, which is the duty of its public servants.” For Moore, to award custody to a gay parent is to ignore issues of “public morality”:
The common law designates homosexuality as an inherent evil, and if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent.
The truth is, as Dahlia Lithwick and James Sample write in Slate:
Brazen, unapologetic contempt for the rule of law is not often a trait associated with judges, much less justices. Yet, this has long been Moore’s calling card and a rallying cry for his loyal supporters. Moore’s patent defiance of the most fundamental tenets of American law should have disqualified him from public office years ago.
All one must do to find out if these writers are correct is to examine Moore’s record. For example, he believes that parts of Illinois and Indiana operate under sharia law, and says that a Muslim cannot be a member of Congress since his loyalty is not to the United States. As a federal judge, he has claimed the right to say that citizens in his jurisdiction do not need to obey existing law, such as the right to gay marriage. For this offense, along with his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments from public display outside his office, Moore was twice removed from his judgeship.
This is the man Steve Bannon, the former White House strategic adviser, supported as a candidate. Appearing at one of Moore’s rallies, Bannon praised Moore as just the kind of populist nationalist who represents Trumpism, and hence the people. Par for the course. Among Bannon’s other favorite candidates contesting “establishment Republicans” is Michael Grimm, recently let out of prison for tax fraud.
Now, the Washington Post has run its story detailing reports of four different women who were approached by Moore when they were young teenagers; one claims she was sexually assaulted. Leigh Corfman says she was 14 when Moore approached her and her mother while they were sitting on a bench waiting to enter the court for a custody trial. At the time Moore would have been 32 years old. Corfman says he offered to watch her while her mother was in the hearing; it seemed like a good idea. Instead, he reportedly got the teenager’s phone number and later drove her to his house, where he undressed her to her underwear, got undressed himself, and proceeded to inappropriately touch her.
Yesterday a fifth woman, Beverley Young Nelson, came forward. In a tearful and powerful public testimony, she said that Moore tried to rape her in 1975 when she was sixteen. She said she fought back, that Moore held her by the throat, inflicting bruises, and that he eventually left her on the ground in a parking lot while he drove away.
While Mitch McConnell and mainstream Republican leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz are arguing that Moore should step down, his defender Sean Hannity and other apologists for Trump are defending him, as are many Alabama Republicans. State auditor Jim Ziegler says he accepts that Moore is guilty, but dragged out the Bible as a defense. Mary and Joseph, he argued, prove that Moore has done nothing wrong:
Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or legal here.
Other conservatives are using faulty logic to back Moore. Some acknowledge his probable guilt, but argue that the Democrats, the Clintonites, John Podesta, etc. are so thoroughly evil that — although in regular times they would not support Moore — a Republican-controlled Senate must be maintained to stop the Democrats from regaining power.
With this kind of logic, Max Boot writes in a powerful op-ed, the GOP does not deserve to remain a major political party, and should preferably die:
In the final analysis, no indictment of their candidate will convince the faithful. As Trump once said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters. Or, more to the point, Roy Moore could molest a 14 year-old girl and not lose votes. Because for Republican partisans, their opponents are the “forces of evil,” and anything is preferable to that. Even Donald Trump. Even Roy Moore. So in ostensibly fighting evil, Republicans have become complicit in it.
Indeed. If the GOP listens to Steve Bannon rather than to the senior Republicans in the Senate who are now coming out against Moore, including Ted Cruz, more candidates in eastern and swing states will face the fate of Ed Gillespie, and award the Democrats a boost they otherwise might not be able to obtain.
Let’s call it the age of political destruction.