If you want to see the state of the GOP these days take a gander at Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey. Asked about her vote for Senate she had this to say:
I’m going to cast my ballot on December the 12th, and I do believe the nominee of the party is the one I’ll vote for. I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions. So that’s what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore.
So, she doesn’t believe the women, right? Nope. She said: “I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them. The timing is a little curious. But at the same time, I have no reason to disbelieve them.” So, what does she think of the conduct he is accused of committing? “There’s never an excuse for or rationale for sexual misconduct or sexual abuse. It bothers me.” But not enough to put someone she concedes may be a child sex predator in the U.S. Senate. Because … well the courts! Tax cuts!
This is on a par with what White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who makes one pine for Sean Spicer, who showed discomfort in lying), said about the difference between President Trump — accused by about 20 women of sexual abuse and groping — and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.): “I think in one case, specifically, Sen. Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn’t. I think that’s a very clear distinction.” That would not be a distinction you’d normally offer: My guy is going to lie, deny he ever did anything and trash the women accusers so don’t hold him accountable.
Both of these women and First Daughter Ivanka Trump, who envisions Moore in a “special place in hell,” but defends her father as a feminist, demonstrate that amorality, tribal blindness and intellectual dishonesty are not the sole province of men — even when it comes to alleged assaults on other women.
Ivey says she believes in what the Republican Party stands for. That would be supporting alleged child predators for office? Electing liars (she believes the women, not Moore’s denial) to the Senate? This is the final result of years of win-at-all-cost politics in which no evil (child molestation? murder?) compares to the “evil” of electing a perfectly competent, patriotic member of the other party to office.
When I think of a group that might be called, “Republicans Against Predators in Elections” (or whatever), you realize that would now be seen as controversial, an attack on the president. And that’s the nub of the problem.
“No party is immune from evil; no tribe has a monopoly of good,” writes Andrew Sullivan. “If these bipartisan sex-abuse revelations can begin to undermine the tribalism that so poisons our public life, to reveal that beneath the tribes, we are all flawed and human, they may not only be a long-overdue turning point for women. They may be a watershed for all of us.” We should be so lucky.
Republicans will tell your they support Moore and Trump as vehicles to policy goals. That assumes (falsely) that their policy goals are noble when they are actually unrealistic, unpopular, inconsistent and unconservative. Run up the debt, say the fiscal hawks. Take away health-care coverage, say the GOP “reformers.” Ban Muslims, round up Dreamers and slash legal immigration say the “Constitutional conservatives” and “market capitalists.” Worst of all: Vote for “values,” say the charlatans who backed Trump.
In truth, the goals these Republicans care about, if they ever did, have long ago been sublimated (they certainly changed them entirely) to the goal of holding power, of winning. When that is the highest calling they’ll vote for alleged child predators, racists and just about anyone else with an “R” next to his or her name. The result is moral chaos, political malfeasance and gross incompetence. And a President Trump.