The Corner

Politics & Policy

Saving Roy Moore Isn’t Worth It

FILE PHOTO: The Presidential motorcade awaits the departure of U.S. President Donald Trump from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. on November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo – RC1D221C4C20

I argued that conservatives should disassociate themselves from Roy Moore and denounce him weeks before credible allegations surfaced today that he preyed on teenage girls, one only 14 years old. So I’m pretty locked-in.

I suppose it’s good that some Republicans see this as a bridge too far. But it’s a little hard for me to focus on that upside when you think about what they considered to be acceptable until now.

Still, it’s good to know where the line is. You can set up shady charities for profit. You can call for religious tests and champion theocracy. You can cutely flirt with the idea that homosexuals have no rights — I don’t mean gay marriage, but the right to life — you can be removed from the bench, twice, you can demonstrate a thumbless grasp of the issues central to the Trump agenda: This is all acceptable for many conservatives. But, molest a little girl? That at least is too much.

But not for everyone. The state auditor of Alabama says that this sort of thing was allowed in the Bible, don’t you know:

Asked whether or not the report would upend Moore’s campaign, Ziegler predicted that Alabama voters would be angrier at the Washington Post for “desperately trying to get something negative” than Moore for his dalliances with teenage girls decades ago.

“He’s clean as a hound’s tooth,” Ziegler claimed, before relying on Scripture to defend Moore.

“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Ziegler said choosing his words carefully before invoking Christ. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here,” Ziegler concluded. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Breitbart’s Joel Pollack doesn’t cite scripture and doesn’t condone molesting teenage girls. He just wants to quibble about what a teenager is:

And both want to make the outrage here that the Washington Post had the effrontery to report this story at all. It’s a “narrative” don’t you see? And because this “narrative” hurts Moore — and makes Steve Bannon look foolish — that is not only bad, but the real story.

Here’s Jack Posobiec, who peddled the pedophile-pizza-parlor story not long ago:

https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/928690877794484224

Now, if you honestly think all of the people talking to the Washington Post are lying and that the Post somehow got them all to make this up, you have got one of the biggest stories of the century. If you can prove it, Roy Moore will end up owning the Post after his lawsuit.

But the Post has offered an enormous amount of evidence. Moore’s defenders are simply shouting “fake news!” “Soros!” “Narrative!” and other inanities — because that’s all they’ve got.

And for what? To defend a man who was indefensible before the Post story.

I am one of those naïve fools who actually believed that the conservatives who often talked the loudest about the supreme importance of character were sincere. The last two years disabused me of that.

But just as a matter of cold realpolitik, I cannot grasp why so many people think it’s a good idea to stand by a man who, if elected, will serve as a negative campaign ad made flesh. I get the argument that it’s a “binary choice!” But it’s a binary choice now, because a bunch of people who want to see the GOP burn down made it one. In the long run, a Senator Moore would cost Republicans more seats than the one he might give them. He’d be an albatross for every elected Republican, including President Trump, who will be asked to take a side on every scene in the clown show Moore would bring to Washington. And every conservative who ever denounces a Democrat for immoral behavior or insane views will be asked, “Oh yeah, why did you support Roy Moore then?”

Saving Steve Bannon’s reputation as the leader of some (doomed) movement certainly isn’t worth it, not for the cost to the GOP not to mention your own souls.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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