The “Roy Moore Story” is marching toward its final chapter, and Moore seems to be the last man standing, an embarrassment to the Republican Party. But perhaps Moore, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in a special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is simply beyond feeling shame.
He was, after all, twice removed as chief justice of his state’s Supreme Court (dispute over display of the Ten Commandments), and his speeches have featured him walking around the stage in his cowboy hat brandishing his pistol. Sadly, he’s humiliating his state.
The Washington Post has reported that several women have said Moore pursued them as teenagers, including one who said he initiated sexual contact when she was 14 and Moore was in his 30s. Attorney Gloria Allred brought another woman to the public Monday who said Moore made advances when she was a teenager. The women who have come forward have done so publicly. For his part, while Moore denies the claims and now threatens to sue The Post, he seemed shaky in a radio interview with right-wing broadcaster Sean Hannity.
And it’s clear Moore’s predicament has Senate Republicans uneasy – and that’s about the mildest thing that can be said about it. Leaders have made no secret of their wish that Moore pull out of the race, probably in favor of Luther Strange, the appointed incumbent he defeated in a Republican primary. Although it appears that at this point there would have to be a write-in campaign if Moore left the race, should Republicans not do the simplest thing for voters and endorse Democrat Doug Jones?
Moore’s predicament has gone national and is happening in the context of an outbreak of sexual harassment stories out of the entertainment industry, which began with an explosion of claims against producer Harvey Weinstein.
But GOP leaders know that if Moore wins the Alabama seat, they’re going to be faced with demands, and they will be strong demands, to remove Moore from that seat. That will roil Republicans in Alabama and split the party on the national front as the 2018 campaign nears.
At this point, Moore’s stubborn defiance of party leaders is becoming a profound embarrassment. To boot, Moore had the support of Steve Bannon, the ultra-right nationalist who was ousted as President Trump’s chief strategist a few months after the president took office, reportedly on the demand of Gen. John Kelly, the president’s chief of staff.
Roy Moore is becoming the symbol of a Republican Party mired in the past, hampered by allegiance to the hard-right at its core and out of touch with women and minorities. Meanwhile, Democrats need make no effort to weaken Republicans. The GOP’s doing the job for them.