There are two types of partisans who support Roy Moore: those who question the most serious of the allegations against him, and those who accept the allegations as true but say we should support him anyway.
It is the latter group — people who say “sure he’s guilty but vote for him anyway” — that I continue to find inexplicable. I run a personal blog at patterico.com and have done so since February 2003. Over there, I have a guest poster who is also a long-time reader named Dana. She’s an excellent blogger who deserves to be more widely read, and she had this to say about the Roy Moore situation:
The worst example of party loyalty is when a sexual predator’s bad behavior is brushed away, rationalized, overlooked, or worse: acknowledged as being rooted in truth, or altogether true but dismissed anyway because supporting the party trumps everything else – especially when an election is involved. And even if the opponent is as morally pure as driven snow, better to have an accused sexual predator in office than one from across the aisle.
Emphasis is mine.
When I recently wrote a post targeting those who believe Moore’s accusers but support him anyway, my post was repeatedly misread as attacking people questioning the claims of the accusers. In this post, I’m removing any chance for a fair-minded reader to misread what I am saying, by emphasizing the bolded language above.
So let me be crystal clear: for the sake of this post, we are going to assume for the sake of argument that all of the most troubling aspects of the accusations are false. We’ll assume for the sake of argument that multiple women got together and contrived a political hit on Moore, fabricating evidence against him in an effort to keep him out of office.
Isn’t there still room to criticize people who have said: “Even assuming the allegations are true, we should vote for him anyway”? Even if those people are mistaken about the allegations being true, isn’t it troubling to you that someone would say that?
I saw that in comments to my recent post, some people were saying I was trying to “cherry pick” these comments as having come from unimportant people. But one of the people who said this was the governor of Alabama, who said she had no reason to question the accusers, but that people should vote for Moore anyway.
It’s not “cherry picking” to note a claim from the governor of Alabama. And the accusers include someone who said Moore tried to have sex with her when she was 14.
Dana titled her post on this topic When Party Loyalty Begets a Collective Moral Bankruptcy:
But convenience is not limited to the left side of the aisle. The disgust I have at the Democrats’ decades-long denials and efforts to dismiss and rationalize Bill Clinton’s awfulness until politically convenient to admit them, is the same disgust I feel about the right side of the aisle currently circling the wagons around Roy Moore. . . . It’s taken a long time, but Republicans are now this close to becoming as morally bankrupt as are the Democrats.
This is the problem when you say “maybe it’s true but vote for him anyway.” You become morally bankrupt. If you believe in God as the foundation of morality, how can you justify voting for someone you have said you believe to be a child molester, whether you’re wrong or not? It makes no sense to me, at all.
And what basis do you have to criticize those who support Al Franken’s butt cheek grabs or John Conyers’s escapades? The only thing you can say is: well, their policies are bad. Because you have already legitimized supporting sexual assaults for the purpose of politics. The only weapon you have left is that the other side’s politics are worse.
And even if you didn’t care about moral bankruptcy, your precious political power is not exactly enhanced when independents see Republicans shrugging their shoulders at child molestation.
If you want to question the accusers, and you can do so in a factual way that does not rely on rumor and fever swamp smears, that is appropriate. But if your argument is “vote for the guy I believe to be the child molester, FOR THE CHILDREN!” then you have lost your way.
Roy Moore may well still win this election. But there is a giant wave coming in 2018. The Senate will almost assuredly be firmly in the hands of the Democrats, whether Roy Moore is in the Senate or not.
And when that wave has washed over you, and your majority and your soul are both gone, what will you have left to show for it then?