Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh recently offered up some unusual reasoning in defense of embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Moore is at the center of ever-widening charges of past sexual misconduct with young girls, but Limbaugh appeared to be throwing Moore a lifeline by pointing out his previous party membership.
According to Limbaugh, Moore was a member of the Democratic Party when he was allegedly making inappropriate advances toward girls as young as 14.
“Did you know that before 1992, when a lot of this was going on, that Judge Moore was a Democrat?” Limbaugh said. “You didn’t know that? How about all these people saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, everybody knew about Judge Moore, he’s a good old boy!’ While he was a Democrat, nobody said a word. When he supposedly was attracted to inappropriately aged girls, he was a Democrat.”
It is unclear why Limbaugh was associating political affiliation with sexual impropriety, or how converting to another party should excuse such alleged acts. It appears that Limbaugh could be hedging his bets in the event that a crushing defeat awaits Moore.
During that very same show, which aired on Tuesday, he also criticized fellow Republicans for withdrawing their support for Moore.
“No matter what the real stories are here, and no matter what the evidence is, these guys, these people on the Republican side, are making it clear they are going to prevent this guy from ever being seated in the United States Senate.”
As more women come forward with accounts of Moore’s untoward sexual behavior, the prospect of irreversible damage to Moore’s bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate has become a real possibility. Despite the swelling ranks of women stepping up with their own stories of unsavory encounters with Moore, the former Alabama chief judge maintains his innocence — and a steadfast refusal to withdraw from a very important special election.
Although a withdrawal by Moore would be troublesome, his election could prove problematic for the GOP as well. Majority leader Mitch McConnell has already expressed his opposition to Moore, along with several other key Republicans who have vowed that even if Moore is voted in, they would consider the extraordinary move of nullifying a lawful election.
Federal law allows the removal of a sitting congressman for cause, by a process similar to presidential impeachment.
But the GOP’s troubles do not stop there. If Moore is elected and Republicans somehow manage to remove him from office, they run the risk of alienating themselves from voters during mid-term elections and, more importantly, the 2020 presidential race.
Conversely, if Moore wins and nothing is done, the GOP still faces similar fallout, not only from its Republican constituency but also from swing voters, in battleground states, who were no doubt instrumental in the election of Donald Trump.
The biggest sticking point with this state of affairs is the nature of the allegations Moore is facing. Conceivably, if Moore faced accusations of inappropriate touching only of adult women, some voters may find it in their hearts to forgive such past indiscretions. However, sexual assault is a different story, and even more so, sexual assault on a child is effectively universally despised. In fact, it is a contention with the ability to transcend party lines.
This is not to say that the allegations against Moore are true. Moore has the right to confront his accusers and present contrary evidence if he chooses to do so. However, since there is no legal jeopardy involved, the veracity of these claims rests solely with the “court of public opinion.”
As many high-profile public figures have learned and continue to learn, the “court of public opinion” can be even more judgmental than the courts of law — with far less proof. Once convicted in that dreaded court, there are few retrials, no right of appeal, and for most, no forgiveness.
[Featured Image by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]