Alabama’s perennial – and most controversial – politician is Judge Roy Moore. He was controversial long before his 2018 Senate race. Prior to 2018, Moore had Republican nominations and offices despite heavy opposition within even the Republican Party – but it all came to a head when he was accused by a number of ladies with “inappropriate behavior” many years in the past.
The accusations fell short of rape, although one of the alleged victims tried to make that case. What did surface with a degree of credibility – largely based on the number of accusers – was that, as a young man, Moore had an attraction to much younger girls. Some of which were a bit short of the age of consent – even in Alabama.
Essentially, Moore was accused of sexually molesting several of these underage gals. The description of the accusations varied significantly. Was Moore really a sexual predator or boorish guy given to inappropriate behavior in the tradition of former Vice President Joe Biden? The answer to that question generally fell on partisan lines. There was enough damning behavior that Moore lost the General Election to his Democrat opponent – now Senator Doug Jones.
Whatever one thinks of the controversy it cost the GOP one of the supposedly safest Senate seats in America – one long held by Jeff Sessions until he accepted President Trump’s invitation to become Attorney General. And we know how that turned out.
Weeeell … Judge Moore is back. He has announced his intention to run again for the United States Senate. For most of the GOP leadership reaction has been a bit like someone removed the stake in the heart of a political Dracula. President Trump, who endorsed Moore very reluctantly in 2018 has expressed his desire to have Moore stand down.
Should Moore be nominated again, he is most likely to assure the re-election of Jones. With the GOP having several Senate seats up in 2020 – and the experience of what happened with the House in 2018 – a pick-up in Alabama could be critical to control of the Senate.
At first blush, it would seem that Moore is just simply crazy to enter the race again. However, initial polls give Moore the lead over a four-person field of candidates with 27 percent of the vote – which may mean that Alabama Republican voters are crazier than Moore.
Moore is more than an Alabama problem – or even a Senate problem. He will get enormous negative national publicity, and all the accusations will be on endless loop. It will not help the GOP with the women’s vote. A Moore race will do the Republican brand no good.
When asked why he is getting back into the fray, he says it is God’s will. He explains the humiliation and defeat of 2018 also as God’s will – who occasionally bestows hardship on even his most loyal believers. After all, Moore observes, God made his own son suffer mightily.
I have had two personal experiences with candidate’s running because of God’s endorsement. The first was with televangelist Pat Robertson when he decided to throw his hat into the presidential ring. Over dinner one evening, he explained that he has asked God to give a sign that he – Robertson – should run for President.
The good pastor said that a hurricane was bearing down on his home in Virginia, but that it inexplicable shifted and hit landfall in Maryland. That was the miracle … the sign. Surely Robertson was aware that hurricanes are capricious events, and often change direction faster than a UFO. I also wondered what God had against the folks in Maryland. Like Moore in 2018, Robertson – though unscathed by scandal – went down to ignominious defeat.
Back in Illinois, one of my good friends, Jack Ryan, decided to run for the Senate. He said he believed it was God’s will for him to run. I was unconvinced. I asked him if God really put him on this mission, or whether he had but God on his ambition. Whatever the case, Ryan’s campaign ended early when there were reports that he and his television star wife, Jeri Ryan of Star Trek, had visited some swinger sex clubs.
Whether Moore decides to withdraw, loses the primary or loses the General Election, it appears that from my experience God will be 0-for-3. Since I have greater confidence in God’s abilities, methinks that it is never wise to ASSUME the Creator’s political backing.
So, there ‘tis.