Debbie Wesson Gibson was in her attic hauling out boxes of Christmas decorations last week when she noticed a storage bin she said she had forgotten about. Inside was a scrapbook from her senior year of high school, and taped to a page titled “Those Who Inspire” was a graduation card.“Happy graduation Debbie,” it read in slanted cursive handwriting. “I wanted to give you this card myself. I know that you’ll be a success in anything you do. Roy.”The inscription, Gibson said, was written by Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican nominee for U.S. Senate who in recent days has repeatedly denied the accounts of five women who told The Washington Post that he pursued them when they were teenagers and he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s.
Moore has denied even knowing these women. But Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Let Alabama voters decide!), the White House staff, a slew of GOP operatives, the governor of Alabama and a segment of the conservative media refuse to recognize reality — or, worse, don’t care if the allegations of sexual misconduct with minors are true. Gosh darn, they need the accused child predator’s vote for tax reform! Facts carry no weight with these people, so those who’ve decided the GOP can tolerate an alleged child sex predator in the U.S. Senate won’t be influenced by more evidence, no matter how irrefutable.
You see, once Republicans decided that Justice Neil Gorsuch, or a tax bill, or deregulation, or anything justified whatever egregious behavior and character flaws Trump and then Moore had, then anything and everything could be rationalized away. I’m quite certain that if David Duke ran on support for the tax plan, Republicans would embrace him. This is moral madness, particularly for a party that fancies itself the party of family values.
It’s a telling moment when one party and its president embrace someone against whom so much evidence of egregious wrongdoing has been presented. Mitt Romney tweeted, “Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.” But Republicans already have. I’d like to think a Romney or a governor like Ohio’s John Kasich could run in a primary and beat Trump, but if he stumbles through the Robert Mueller investigation, it’s hard to image the party abandoning him, especially with “respectable” conservatives doling out talking points (Oh, it’s only a tweet! We don’t really know what happened!)
There is no going back for the GOP. Trump may go, but the people willing to accept Trump — and Moore — will be around. And there is no policy alliance possible, no common bond to be had for a great many Republicans and ex-Republicans with those who’d elevate tax cuts or Gorsuch or any issue above a long line of victims. They’d set Moore (and before him, Trump) as a model and entrust to his character the most important issues of state. To those who find that anathema, there is no going back into the GOP fold with the Trump enablers.
Even if Trump had turned out to be brilliant, level-headed, honest, coherent, unifying and constructive, the Faustian bargain would not have been worth it. That he is ignorant, erratic, dishonest, incoherent, divisive and destructive — yet still commands the party’s support — demonstrates that Republicans have made a cold calculation. They gladly put a memory-addled narcissist in the White House with no regard for democracy, because we need the 20 percent marginal tax rate or because we need Gorsuch to uphold traditional values on the bench. The hypocrisy would be laughable if the entire situation and the moral debasement of a national party, and our politics, were not so horrifying.
Read more by Jennifer Rubin: