Roy Moore and the sickness of the conservative movement

Roy Moore and the sickness of the conservative movement

Unless you've been under a rock for the past 24 hours, the news dominating all channels is that of the Washington Post's blockbuster piece on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, in which it is alleged that as a man in his thirties he molested teenage girls.

One would think this would be a bridge too far for Republicans. One would think that they would with one voice condemn even the hint of such an act, and call on Moore to pull out of the Senate race.

One would be wrong (with the exception of John McCain). Either Republicans weaseled their way out with the equivalent of "thoughts and prayers" by saying "if these allegations are true", or they went whole hog and defended Moore, saying these events are 40 years old. Voting for Democrat Doug Jones is a horror greater than pedophilia in the modern conservative mind.

Many of the remaining sane conservatives such as Jennifer Rubin and David Frum are, of course, sickened by these apologia. But they are as Jeremiah crying in the wilderness. They make us liberals feel that there are still decent people on the other side; but they don't drive the conversation. The fact is that it should be no surprise that Alabama Republicans are circling the wagons around Moore. We have, after all, a self-admitted sexual harasser and pervert in the White House. His indecencies didn't matter to Republicans; they voted for him anyway. No amount of moral pathology will dissuade a Republican from voting for another Republican. When the Weinstein debacle became public, liberals beat retreats from him with alacrity. It should come as no surprise that the exact opposite is happening among Republicans vis a vis Moore.

The conservative movement has become a disease. It's no longer about policy prescriptions, about a different way to strengthen the commonwealth. It is, quite simply, a power game. It is a movement seeking power for its own sake. Or, worse, a movement seeking power to impose a medieval view of the world on the country as a whole. If it ever cared for lifting up citizens, it no longer does. It is nakedly partisan, concerned only with benefiting its cadres. It doesn't even really care about the rubes who vote for it; they're useful idiots, to be dispensed with once power is achieved.

Tuesday was revivifying. But this is what we're fighting. We're fighting cynical fanatics. We're fighting people who, the Moore episode has shown, have no decency. The time for going high while they go low has passed. It's time to hamstring them, so they can do no more damage.



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