Sohn: Roy Moore's election bid not a referendum on God

Sohn: Roy Moore's election bid not a referendum on God

November 14th, 2017 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

FILE — Roy Moore, Republican nominee for Alabama's open Senate seat, in Homewood, Ala., on Aug. 10, 2017. Most Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, say he "should step aside" after allegations that he pursued sexual and romantic relationships with teenagers while in his 30s. (Kevin D. Liles/The New York Times)


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Mitch McConnell, our nation's Senate majority leader, is right to say that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore "should step aside" after four women accused Moore of sexual misconduct when they were teens and he was in his 30s.

"I believe the women, yes," McConnell said a news conference Monday morning, just hours before a fifth believable accuser came forward Monday afternoon.

Moore didn't help himself over the weekend in an interview with GOP apologist Sean Hannity, who asked if Moore remembered dating girls that young when he was in his 30s.

"Not generally, no. If did, you know, I'm not going to dispute anything but I don't remember anything like that," Moore said. Later, pressed further, Moore said: "I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother."

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Isn't something inherently wrong if Moore or you or anyone else in their 30s has to ask a parent's permission to date a girl? Even then he did not think of these girls as adults old enough to make their own dating decisions.

Nor did Moore help himself when he tweeted in the wake McConnell's suggestion to step aside:

"Apparently Mitch McConnell and the establishment G.O.P. would rather elect a radical pro-abortion Democrat than a conservative Christian," he wrote.

Clearly Moore thinks it's all about women and God: Women whose bodies men yearn to control, right down to their reproductive health, and God, as long God can be wrapped in a conservative Christian cape.

Yes, McConnell made the right choice, but for the wrong reasons.

After all, if McConnell "believes the women" over Roy Moore, why doesn't he "believe the women" in Trump's case?

Let us count the other wrong reasons.

» McConnell and Moore loathe each other.

» McConnell sees a convenient opportunity to pre-purge the Senate of one more alt-right leaner.

» McConnell sees the handwriting on the wall (and the polls that say the Democrat could win the seat over Moore at this point), and he thinks a write-in campaign has more promise for eventually helping to pass tax cuts for the rich.

McConnell is doing this not because a guy like Moore should not be in the Senate, which he surely should not be, but simply because of politics. Politics for the GOP and against Democrats. Period.

Some in the GOP, like Moore apologist Hannity, term the timing of these allegations opportunistic, while ignoring the timing and opportunism alleged in these accusations that a 32-year-old criminal prosecutor sexually assaulted minors.

But why be surprised? Women are simply to be controlled. And conservative Christian values are just another magic carpet to ride to office.

Meanwhile, Alabama voters are so caught up in watching the Roy Moore train wreck that no one is looking at, much less asking, who the Democratic candidate Doug Jones is and what he's like.

In the early 2000s, Jones, a then-U.S. attorney, successfully prosecuted the last of the Birmingham Church bombers who killed four African-American girls in 1963 — a time when white Alabama stood firmly behind then-Gov. George Wallace trying to derail the civil rights revolution, according to liberal magazine The American Prospect.

He's mild-mannered and — like Donald Trump — a novice politician, something voters seem to appreciate in these days of revolving-door swamp politics.

But since no Democrat has won a statewide office in Alabama since 2006, Jones now has to peel back the religious wrapping that veneers Alabama's middle-class fear of equal blacks and equal women.

As in Tennessee and the rest of the middle-America, this is a problem that became cemented when the last two Democratic nominees for president became a black man and a woman.

"People in northern Alabama don't like blacks, but they don't know any," one Democratic official told The American Prospect in a story examining whether Alabama might be the next Democrat surprise. And once those long-loyal Democrats saw the national party "nominate a black or a woman for president, that was it."

Since 2008, the GOP concentrated on convincing voters — especially white, Southern ones — that Democrats are the enemy, the party of blacks, gays and gun haters. The result has been a rise in white male identity politics, the GOP and Donald Trump.

In Alabama, that crowd has seen Moore — at least up until now — as a man who twice refused to compromise his claim of God-driven principles battling the dark powers of godless Washington. But what's really dark here is the hijacking of God and faith and so-called righteousness to win elections.

Roy Moore used the Ten Commandments for his advantage, wagering that becoming a martyr for faith would give him an unflappable base of support. In his younger years, he apparently made a similarly successful bet that the power of his position would allow him to intimidate the long-time silence of timid teenage girls and widen his dating range.

It's time to stop thinking of Roy Moore's election bid as a referendum on God.

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