The Washington Post bombshell story alleging Alabama Senate hopeful Roy "We should criminalize homosexuality to prevent the subversion of children" Moore was a serial sexual predator of underage girls has met, aptly enough, with some fierce, tawdry and downright gonzo responses. The WaPo story, citing on-the-record interviews with four women, described encounters between Moore, then an assistant District Attorney in his 30s and presumably not yet the full-fledged wingnut bigot he grew into, and girls 18, 16 and 14; the most serious charge involves his sexual assault of the then-14-year-old, whom he first approached at court outside her parents’ custody hearing. Can you spell c-r-e-e-p-y?
One of the first responses came from Mitch McConnell. Whether because he and other GOPers didn't really want the lunatic-fringe Moore running, or because his own political star is sinking fast in orange-tainted waters, or because he doesn't think it's morally acceptable for grown men in positions of power to hit on teenagers - we choose #1 and #2, given he's never indicated any cognizance of the term "morally acceptable"- he proclaimed Moore "must step aside" from the Senate race if the charges prove to be true. That tired hedge was a common refrain, even among so-called critics of Moore. "If it's true, the Republican Party doesn’t have any place for pedophiles," boldly intoned Josh Holmes, a McConnell confidant, who added a sweetly vengeful twist to the debacle by blaming Steve Bannon, patron saint of extremist weirdos, for the vexing presence of Moore in the race. "Here we go," said another mortified critic of Moore. "Another Steve Bannon special."
But they were largely drowned out by Moore's bizarre defenders. First, his campaign lamely argued he's married with kids and besides he's been around for decades so why haven't we heard about this before? Then came Breitbart: They challenge the term "teenagers," portray a man who simply "attempted to court" or "dated" them, cite one girl who viewed Moore as "romantic," and skirt the 14-year-old's assault by trashing the Post and fellow-travelers who support "radical causes." Twitter summation of their argument: "Roy Moore (was) very romantic and recited poetry to the children he was trying to fuck."
Then, a flood of support, fiery if often incoherent, from other Alabama Republicans. "It's just a bunch of bull," said Trump’s state chairman; he noted when his candidate ran "there was about 15 ladies who ran to the press and said the same thing.” Others found the charges "fabricated as the day is long” and "opportunistic" - "they are just looking for their chance to get on some liberal talk show" - while deeming McConnell "scum," "a dumbass, a coward, a liar himself and exactly what’s wrong with Washington, D.C." None mention that the assault victim is a registered Republican who said she prayed long and hard before coming forward.
The reward for most outlandish defense may be a tie. Up first, Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler, who - when in doubt - called on Scripture. He insisted “there is nothing to see here” and "he's clean as a hound's tooth" - What does that mean? Isn't a hound's tooth slobbery? - before urging, "Take the Bible." (Please.) He invoked first the old/young parents of John the Baptist, then got to the good stuff. "Also take Joseph and Mary," he said. "Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus." His conclusion: “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”
Also unusual: Roy Moore not pleading for forgiveness or challenging the facts, but asking for money. Now, he announced in a fundraising letter, is the time to send his righteous godly ass to heathen D.C to challenge "the Obama-Clinton machine’s liberal media lapdogs." "The forces of evil are on the march in this country," he writes. "We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message. That's why I must be able to count on the help of God-fearing conservatives like you to stand with me at this critical moment.” He's right about one thing: With women nationwide demanding accountability for sexual crimes by powerful men, it is in fact a critical moment. The stories of Cosby, Weinstein, Moore et al do not describe "some tragic, pitiable downfall," writes Lindy West, but simply "someone who got away with it." And call it a witch hunt if you wish. "The witches are coming, but not for your life," she says. "We’re coming for your legacy."
Would you leave your teenage daughter alone with this man? (We have one, and we wouldn't.)