Moore bolsters credibility
To the dismay of Washington’s Republican Senate leadership, Judge Roy Moore crushed Luther Strange in the runoff for the Republican nomination for the open Senate seat in Alabama, outpolling Strange by 9 percentage points.
Senate Republican leadership, and President Trump, stood behind Strange.
The Republican establishment doesn’t want their party branded with Moore’s hardcore, outspoken Christian fundamentalism. They don’t buy it and they’re afraid that it will spill over to challenges in upcoming Senate races and hurt their party.
But the same flawed political conventional wisdom that led Republican leadership to back the wrong candidate in this race is operating all the time, and lessons never seem to be learned.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich expressed his trepidations, on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, about the state of the Republican Party, and when asked if Moore represents the party’s future, he said, “I hope not.”
Kasich ran for the presidency against Donald Trump and in the end refused to support Trump. He said he wrote in John McCain on his ballot.
But McCain is a poster child for why voters are fed up with Washington.
He’s been a Washington fixture since 1983 who has refused to go home.
In his failed presidential run against Barack Obama, McCain refused endorsements from major evangelical pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley, surely alienating evangelical voters that he critically needed.
After his defeat, he should have retired. Instead, he ran again for re-election twice, once at age 74 and again at age 80.
If he gracefully retired in 2010, as he should have, chances are a young conservative would be in his seat, McCain’s key obstructive vote against Republican health care reform would not have been there and we would have a health care bill today and the beginning of the unwinding of Obamacare.
In 2012, Todd Akin, a six-term Republican congressman from Missouri with a flawless conservative voting record, ran for the Senate against incumbent liberal Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Polling in the early months of the campaign was neck and neck. A Rasmussen Poll in June had Akin ahead 50 percent to 42 percent. A Survey USA poll in early August showed Akin’s lead at 51 percent to 43 percent.
Then, in late August, Akin spoke poorly in a TV interview. The reporter prodded him regarding difficult questions on abortion and Akin used the unfortunate term “legitimate rape.” He later apologized about his poor use of language, stating the obvious that he was not justifying rape.
Instead of Republicans coming to support a good conservative in a winnable and critical race, they dove for cover. It was reported that Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, conveyed to Akin that funding from the party would dry up if he didn’t withdraw from the race.
Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney said Akin should drop out.
In the end, Romney lost, Aiken lost, and control of the Senate went back to the Democrats.
Now Cornyn is making the same kind of remarks about Judge Moore as he did about Todd Akin, responding, “I do not,” when asked if he thinks Moore will be a productive addition to the Republican senatorial team.
When Moore associates the ongoing pointless violence around the nation, the chaos around the world, with moral decay, this touches a responsive chord among many citizens.
Critical local elections this November will test our moral mettle. A transgender individual is trying to capture a seat in the Virginia state assembly. The teachers union in Colorado, looking to a 19th-century dinosaur called the Blaine Amendment, which blocks government funds to schools with religious affiliation, is trying unseat a Douglas County school board supporting school vouchers.
Contrary to hurting, Moore’s candidacy bolsters Republican credibility nationwide. The problem of moral chaos may not be clear to Washington insiders, but it is to many voters across America.
(Parker is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.)