Republicans took their opportunities to hit the Sunday morning news shows by pushing tax cuts while attacking current and prospective members of Capitol Hill who are embroiled in sexual misconduct accusations. Some talked Al Franken. Others talked John Conyers. Senator John Thune talked Roy Moore.
His words for the Senate candidate in Alabama were quite harsh..
“If Moore wins and he comes into the Senate in January, there will immediately be an ethics investigation. It will be a cloud that he’ll be operating in, and it will be a distraction to our agenda,” Moore told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
The thin majority the GOP holds in the Senate wouldn’t be upended completely if Moore lost, but they would have a lot of trouble getting anything of substance passed. As it stands, they can only afford two GOP defectors on any particular piece of legislation. This is why they couldn’t pass an Obamacare repeal and replacement bill despite four attempts.
“The president can obviously speak for himself … but the alternative, as I said, is not good either. The president, to the degree he wants to use his influence in this race, could help everybody out to try and get Roy Moore to step aside,” Thune told Wallace.
As more Republicans attack Moore, one of my colleagues wonders why they believe Moore’s accusers from four decades ago but dismiss the 13 accusers against the President.
Based upon the credibility of some of the stories being told about Moore, it seems likely to me that he did at least some of what he’s being accused of doing. At this point, he denies all of the allegations and is actively fighting some. While his alleged crimes are severe, there are some challenges to them. Arguably the most concerning is that despite many elections and being in the public eye for decades, the allegations were kept secret for four decades.
One could point to the rise of accusations following Harvey Weinstein’s downfall to justify the timing of the strories. This is plausible, but that’s for the people of Alabama to decide. It’s not for Republicans on Capitol Hill to discuss publicly, not because they have no interests in it but because their interests are tainted. They aren’t looking at this as one seat in the Senate, nor do they care about the alleged victims. They’re viewing Moore as an albatross to be hung around all of their collective necks. They believe his presence in the Senate will undermine their ability to win elections.
In other words, they’re worried about optics.