Since last week, the political news has been dominated not by the Bob Menendez corruption trial, not by the fight to pass tax reform in the House, which happened Thursday, not by the rather stupendous accomplishments of the president and his team during his Asia trip — including bailing out three UCLA basketball players who stupidly got themselves arrested for shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store in China — but instead by a series of allegations about the Republican nominee in the special election in Alabama to replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate.
It seems that Moore, as a younger man in his early 30’s during the latter years of the 1970’s, engaged in a marital strategy which was falling quickly out of fashion — namely, that he was searching for a bride either in or barely out of her teens. A few years later when he was 38 Moore did marry a 24-year old former beauty queen; the couple have been together some 33 years.
Doing so was significant of a couple of things. First, that Moore wanted a wife who didn’t have a career, something which observers of his well-established and long-held traditionalist positions on cultural and social issues won’t find surprising. And second, that he was looking for a big family with lots of children. Marry someone young who doesn’t have a career, and raising four or five kids is a lot easier to make happen. In the 1970s, and particularly in Alabama, and particularly in a small town like Gadsden where Moore lived, this was not all that uncommon. Nor was Alabama unique in this respect — the pursuit of young brides was a societal norm in the generation before Moore’s and had been for a long time. Practically every Jane Austen novel you had to read in high school or college covers that subject.
But because Moore acted out scenes from those Jane Austen novels, it appears he’s vulnerable to accusations that his pursuits led him somewhere darker. A host of women have leveled a spectrum of charges against him, most of which don’t reflect anything particularly disqualifying to his Senate bid but a couple of them would make him unpalatable, to put it kindly. In both of those cases the accuser is less than 100 percent credible (one of them, whose stepson immediately surfaced to inform the public his dad divorced her because she’s a serial liar, actually hired Gloria Allred — nobody with anything truthful to say does that), and the timing of this spate of accusations so close to next month’s election pitting Moore against the pro-abort socialist creep Doug Jones suggests that stealing an election for the Democrats in a red state is really what all this is about.
It hasn’t helped Moore’s cause that his defense to these charges has been at times inarticulate and wishy-washy. He was apparently taken much aback that he would be defending his lifestyle of nearly 40 years ago, as any husband forced to publicly discuss his romantic life before meeting his wife might be, but in the hyper-partisan and sexual harassment-addicted environment we currently see that response has been deemed suspicious.
And so Moore has struggled to fend off the charges. In Alabama, where he’s known and has a loyal following and where the Washington Post, which originally published the allegations, is roundly hated, he fares better than he does nationally. The polls vary wildly, but Moore still leads in as many as he doesn’t — an indication he might yet survive the firestorm. His would-be Senate colleagues have rushed to condemn him, which hardly affects the voting public in the Heart of Dixie. What respect might one afford Lindsey Graham, who has split his time between serving as a character witness at Menendez’s trial and heaping opprobrium on Moore, after all?
And yet on Thursday came manna from heaven descending on Moore, almost as though the prayers of the candidate, his wife and their followers were answered. On Thursday Leeann Tweeden, the model, TV personality and morning radio anchor at KABC-AM in Los Angeles, posted to the station’s website a long story about a December 2006 USO tour of Afghanistan in which she participated, along with then-comedian and now-Senator Al Franken. Tweeden accused Franken of forcing his tongue down her throat during the “rehearsal” of a kiss included in a skit he’d written for the tour, and then dropped a larger bomb — posting a photograph of Franken feeling her up while she was sleeping on the plane back from Bagram Air Base.
And just like that, Moore was gone from the top of the front page.
Just like that it’s no longer Moore who’s the Bad Boy of the Senate — as if he ever was, given Menendez’s reported dalliances with teenaged Dominican hookers as part of his corruption scandal. Now it’s Franken who will allegedly be the subject of a Senate Ethics probe, and it’s Franken who will likely be hounded by a parade of accusers tumbling forth from the ether.
All of which is fine.
I said at my site that Moore ought to offer to withdraw from the race in Alabama the minute the Senate votes to expel Menendez, a suggestion which would never have to be acted on — and that fact would expose the hypocrisy and lack of credibility of Mitch McConnell and the rest of the establishment pukes populating the Senate. I said that before the Franken story came up. Now with Franken Moore can offer a two-for-one deal which will similarly not be taken up and the Senate would look twice as fraudulent.
All of which being what it is, the real complaint isn’t with Moore. It’s with McConnell. It’s the meddling by him and his leadership team in that race which caused such a mess in the first place — had the NRSC not endorsed the corrupt Luther Strange in the primary, rather than leaving the race alone or endorsing the far more palatable Rep. Mo Brooks, it would likely have been the proven conservative and electable Brooks winning the nomination and coasting to victory. Instead, McConnell and NRSC chair Corey Gardner created Moore as an anti-establishment candidate with truth on his side as he attacked the crooks and RINOs running the Senate and Strange as in league with them.
At this point, regardless of what happens McConnell loses — if Moore wins, the leadership will have to seat him and tolerate his sure-to-be maverick behavior for having alienated the GOP’s own candidate and seen him win anyway, and if Moore loses they’ll have found a way to lose a Senate seat in one of the deepest-red states in the country.
Either way, McConnell’s utility as the Senate’s Majority Leader seems to have passed his expiration date. If he’s unable to deliver a tax reform bill to a conference committee on top of the Alabama debacle, it will be an urgent necessity to force him out.
As for Franken, we all know his “Sorry, lady” apology to Tweeden is all that will be required. McConnell suggested an Ethics probe should be in the works, but that will quickly die down just as surely as will the follow-on accusations about Franken surface and be buried.
Nothing changes in the Senate. You might think Moore is a creep; if so, he’d fit right in.