Thank God for Alabama football coach Nick Saban. He presents Alabama in the very best way possible. If it wasn’t for him, the news coming out of Alabama and the images of our leadership would not be particularly flattering. But here we are.
I have been fretting for some time about Roy Moore coming to the U.S. Senate. He embodies every negative stereotype anyone ever had of people from Alabama. As I wrote soon after his win in the GOP primary, “Moore is bad for Alabama and worse for the GOP.” Well, I didn’t think it was possible when I wrote that piece a couple weeks ago, but things have managed to get even worse. Yesterday’s revelations in The Washington Post that he has a history of inappropriately engaging teenage girls exposed a whole new level of disqualification for Moore.
Suffice it to say, I was worried then — and more so now — that if anyone or any company considered moving jobs to Alabama, holding a conference in my home state or doing anything to contribute to our economy, we would have to hide Moore. Rather than use the senator and the resources a Senate office brings as a recruiting tool, businesses will shy away from having anything to do with toxic Roy Moore.
In recent years, Alabama has been particularly successful in recruiting aircraft manufacturers and hi-tech aerospace companies to the state. We’ve always had a robust delegation at the Paris Air Show, and we’ve built a reputation as one of the nation’s top states for doing business. But can you imagine Moore at the Paris Air Show pitching Alabama as a modern environment for hi-tech companies? Arrrrghhh! Even if what people will hear and read about Moore wasn’t bad enough, much of the time, he looks the part. He’s beyond an eccentric crazy uncle. Wearing his small cowboy hat, a tight vest and sometimes displaying a tiny gun, Moore looks like a reject from the Village People. The states that Alabama competes with for business development must be celebrating. Sigh.
To say the least, Moore would not be able to help recruit jobs to Alabama. He won’t be a positive force as an ambassador to usher in international trade for Alabama’s $20.6 billion export market. And considering what we now know from The Washington Post’s reporting, no sane parent would dare to have their kids intern in his office.
Making matters worse is the fact that some in Alabama continue to stand up for Moore. In a defense that will go down in history as a punchline in jokes about Alabama, State Auditor Jim Zeigler said Moore’s actions made him think of the memory of Jesus Christ. That’s right. He actually said: “[T]ake Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became the parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.” Well, as Ron White famously said: “You can’t fix stupid. … Stupid is forever.”
Anyway, Moore is more than just another embarrassment produced by Alabama politics. His presence has had profound national implications. Specifically, a traditionally safe Republican seat will likely flip to the Democrats.
The fact is, as Josh Holmes told the New York Times: “This is what happens when you let reckless, incompetent idiots like Steve Bannon go out and recruit candidates who have absolutely no business running for the U.S. Senate.” I won’t go so far as to suggest Moore’s rise is entirely due to Bannon — after all, Bannon only jumped on the Moore train a few weeks out from the election. But the presence of people like Moore and Bannon in the American political space is dangerous. Republicans everywhere need to say so and make clear that there is no justification for supporting Moore.