The sad, sick saga of Judge Roy “Bad Touch” Moore (R-Lolicon), Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama and alleged child defiler is the rare case where farce devolves into tragedy and not the other way around. In a just and sane world, Roy Moore would have already been disqualified, but in the era of Bannonite Republicanism, the gravity, credibility, and seriousness of the accusations against Moore aren’t disqualifiers; they’re selling points to a faction of the GOP intent on showing the world just how low they can sink as a party and as humans.
While the testimony of the first four victims is damning, the worst is yet to come, with the testimony of Beverly Nelson Monday adding deeper layers of evidence that Roy Moore’s pattern of predation included his attempts to intimidate his victims based on his role as the District Attorney.
Nelson recounts that Moore told her: “You're just a child and I am the District Attorney of Etowah County, and if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.”
That should be a political death sentence, but then again after the first four victims shared their stories, 29% of Alabamians said they were more likely to vote for Moore because of those allegations.
Driven by the cult of Trump-Bannon outrage politics, Moore’s story of teen predation is rapidly metastasizing into another tumor in the political cancer that is consuming America from the inside out. The throat-burning putrefaction rising off the corpse of the GOP’s moral stature is at its most pungent not just from Moore’s actions, but from the passionate chorus of his defenders.
With the rise of the Moore controversy, I’ve done an uncomfortable amount of reading on this particular corner of human darkness. Whether you want to look it as evil (raises hand), a character flaw, an inherited compulsion or a cultural artifact, there are broad similarities in how those driven to inappropriate personal and sexual relationships with children ply their trade. If your stomach and imagination are strong enough, join me in envisioning the scene in late 1970s Alabama of Roy Moore and it rings every alarm bell in the patterns of behavior and technique of child predators.
His focus on the daughters of single mothers, his desire to isolate those girls from direct parental supervision, his reliance on his status, and then his post-hoc minimization of his behavior are all hallmarks of a man with strong prospects for gold in the “I Have A Puppy In My Van, Little Girl” Olympics. The fact he sought relationships and interactions with enough teen girls to fill out a high school cheerleading team is also a common pattern; this kind of paraphilia is marked by multiple targets and sadly, multiple victims.
The patterns and contemporaneous accounts all paint the picture of Moore, then in his early 30s, creeping literally and metaphorically toward his victims, oleaginously charming, superficially unthreatening, softly whispering promises to their mamas that their little girls would be just fine in his company. After all, he was a lawwwwyer, and a young man on the rise.
You can imagine Roy Moore, serving up Mateus Rose and muttering in his molasses-mouthed Bama accent, “Leigh Corfman, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Leigh Corf-man, the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.” Until now, the Humbert Humbert of Alabama’s carnal desires for the junior-high set would have been seen like those of all paraphiliacs; somewhere on the spectrum between inexplicable and criminal.
The oppositional defiant disorder that is the hallmark of Bannon’s politics and “strategy” was on full display with the Trump media complex this weekend, with Bannon dispatching his Breitbart henchmen to Alabama to smear the women who came forward on the record to tell their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Roy Moore. Social media is filled with “conservatives” who were utterly convinced Hillary Clinton was at the center of a global child sex-slavery and cannibalism ring centered in a D.C. pizza restaurant, who are now cheerfully using the “nut or a slut” attack on Moore’s accusers.
The damage done to Moore’s victims is a dark terrain we can probably never truly understand. Like the unknowable tragedies of far too many women and men who have been abused, assaulted, and victimized by sexual abusers, their lives bear the scars we dismiss for mere political advantage at our moral peril.
The sudden emergence of Twitter Con Law experts screaming that Moore deserves due process don’t understand the distinction between political and legal peril. This isn’t a decision about whether Roy Moore belongs in jail; that’s a job for a court. This is a decision about whether Roy Moore belongs in the United States Senate. It’s a matter of weighing the on-the-record statement of the victims, and of those who knew Moore and had nothing to gain by coming forward.
Another contemporaneous account hints we are just at the start of discovering more about Moore’s teen dating pool, as was seen in this statement by a former colleague:
“As a Deputy DA in Gadsden when Roy Moore was there, it was common knowledge about Roy's propensity for teenage girls. I'm appalled that these women are being skewered for the truth. It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird...We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall..."
Some Republicans have taken the politically expedient and morally vacant “if true” position on Moore, which is a perfect example of why Steve Bannon’s war to destroy them is succeeding. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes got it exactly right when he called Bannon “the strategic genius who’s managed to maneuver the Republican Party into being all in on a man who stands accused of molesting a child.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a few others deserve enormous credit for bucking the Bannon tide and calling on Moore to leave the campaign. (Think about it, Roy. You could spend more time doing the things you love, like cruising playgrounds, and hanging out at Chuck E. Cheese.)
McConnell’s action echoes that of President George H.W. Bush when he called down the resources of the Republican National Committee to stop David Duke’s election to statewide office in Louisiana in 1991. We can hope this motivates those who have been too timid to stand up to the Trump horde, too cowed by Bannon’s thuggery, and too soft to stand like men who were raised to protect the defenseless.
McConnell statement probably won't drive Moore from the race, but it's incumbent upon the rest of the Senate Republican caucus to lay down a marker for the good of the party and the country. Here, guys. It’s simple; “Given the gravity, credibility, and seriousness of these allegations, if Roy Moore is elected to the United State Senate, I will vote under Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution to expel him.”
In 1847, the cartoonist Thomas Nast first used an elephant as the symbol of the Grand Old Party. The Bannon/Trump faction needs their own logo and branding. Given their defense of Roy Moore, may I suggest Pedobear?