This week establishment Republicans fired a possible mortal blow in the civil war instigated by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. This particular skirmish started in Alabama when Bannonite Roy Moore defeated establishment candidate, Luther Strange, in a special primary election to become Republican nominee and presumptive U.S. Senator.
The unusual off year vacancy occurred when President Trump selected Jeff Sessions to become U.S. Attorney General. Strange, the former Alabama Attorney General, was appointed to fill the vacancy and received millions of dollars from Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s PAC and the lukewarm support of President Trump.
Moore emerged in the primary as the anti-establishment choice. His list of wing nut bona fides is pretty extensive, even for a candidate supported by such right wing luminaries as Steve Bannon, Sarah Palin and Brexit supporter, Nigel Farage.
Moore was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001. He was removed two years later for commissioning and then refusing to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building in violation of a federal court order.
After two failed attempts at the Republican nomination for governor, Moore was somehow re-elected as chief justice in 2013. This time he lasted three years before being suspended for ordering Alabama’s state probate court judges to refuse marriage licenses to same sex couples in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges.
Any Google search of Roy Moore reveals a long history of controversial statements especially regarding homosexuals. Despite, or perhaps because of, his rabid anti-federal government leanings and big mouth Moore defeated Strange in the Republican primary practically guaranteeing that he would become Alabama’s next U.S. Senator.
Even as Bannon celebrated and threatened to attack other establishment Republicans the proverbial other shoe dropped and Emperor Palpatine, look alike Mitch McConnell, gassed up the old Death Star this time to take a shot at his own party.
The Washington Post broke a story last week quoting one Alabama woman who claimed Moore had “initiated a sexual encounter” with her when she was 14 years old and three other women who also claimed Moore “pursued them romantically” when they were between 16 and 18 years of age. Three days later another Alabama woman accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 and as I wrote this article four more women lined up to add their voices to the growing chorus of Moore accusers.
McConnell and his allies pounced, demanding that Moore step aside. The vote on the Senate tax reform bill was quickly delayed and other important matters like immigration reform, ISIS and North Korea were relegated to the back burner while McConnell and Bannon locked horns in a power struggle for control of the Senate.
As for the rest of us, at least until November 2018, it is no longer enough to let Trump be Trump. We also have to endure McConnell being McConnell, Bannon being Bannon and Moore being Moore no matter the cost to the country.