The worrisome tale of Roy Moore’s alleged fondling and harassing of teenage girls (at least one who was only 14) when he was a 30-something prosecutor in Alabama raises questions about the brilliance of his chief benefactor, Steve Bannon.
After Alabama Senator and early Trump sycophant Jeff Sessions was relieved of duty to become the embattled Attorney General in Trump’s ass menagerie he calls an administration, his empty seat was filled by the appointment of the aptly named Luther Strange. Strange got to be Bama’s temporary junior senator filling Sessions’s seat until after a special election that will be held on December 12. Instead of coasting to victory as you would normally expect (after all, no way would the Democrat candidate, Doug Jones prevail in a blood-red state like Alabama), Strange got primaried by the bible-thumping Judge Roy Moore who was twice booted off the bench for fancying himself above the law.
Strange was supported by the so-called Republican Establishment led by Mitch “the Turtle” McConnell who directed hefty sums into Luther’s wobbly campaign. Bannon and his alt-right acolytes pushed hard for Moore – and simultaneously used the primary as a cudgel to beat up on McConnell and his errant establishment ways.
Trump was clearly conflicted. I’m sure his gut told him to follow Bannon’s lead and support Moore, but those around the Orange Man – sensing Moore too loose a cannon – talked him into backing Strange. Of course, Strange lost – as Bannon (the Oracle of Breitbart) predicted – and Moore became the Republican candidate. And true to form, never-wrong Trump essentially tweeted “Luther who?”
Shortly after Moore’s victory, five grown women came forward to accuse the creepy Judge of crossing the line when they were less than half his age.
Moore’s denials have been tepid at best, and now the tide in the Establishment has turned against him, with several top Senators calling for him to drop out – which ain’t gonna happen.
You might think that the Republicans are afraid Moore will lose to Jones, thus shrinking their lead in the Senate to just a single vote – but in reality, they more correctly fear he’ll win. There’s no doubt in my mind that the sloped-foreheads in Alabama will vote for any Republican no matter how heinous over a Democrat no matter how heavenly. These voters, had they lived in Jerusalem in 30 AD would have called on Pontius Pilate to free Barabas and Barabas’s evil twin over Jesus Christ.
Luther Strange can try a write-in campaign, but the Alabamans have already spoken. And to turn on Moore at this point would be tantamount to them knuckling under to the pressure of “elite” outsiders – something they could never countenance.
So, Moore wins. What then? The Republican Establishment – again flailing like amateurs against Bannon the chess-master – is suggesting they will refuse to seat Moore. Or maybe they’ll seat him, but immediately expel him. Maybe they think the Governor of Alabama would then appoint Sessions back into the seat he probably wishes he’d never given up.
But could Bannon be so smart as to have planned this whole thing to turn out exactly as it has? Once the Establishment Senators kick off their crusade to deny Moore, the right wing that aligns more closely with Bannon than with the old Turtle will demand McConnell’s head on a platter. Just what Bannon wants. And other Senators who have excoriated Moore – Lindsey Graham, Pat Toomey, Orrin Snatch, Chuck Grassley, Thad Cochran – will be frog-marched behind McConnell for similar punishment the next time they come up for re-election.
By putting McConnell and crew in the unenviable position of denying the rightful winner of an election from their own party, Bannon has cornered the Establishment’s king. Checkmate is assured.
End note: #MeToo #Please!