Can I be fair to Roy Moore?



The question in the headline above is one I’ve asked myself on several occasions in recent days in the wake of allegations that Roy Moore, who is now a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, had a sexual dalliance with a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old criminal prosecutor in Alabama.

My answer to that question is affirmative.

I don’t like Roy Moore, and I wouldn’t vote for him for any public office. But I don’t know for sure if he ever did what the former 14-year-old girl said he did. Actually, I don’t really need to know for sure that the allegations are true. He would be unfit for public office even if he had led the sexless life of a cloistered monk.

(By the way, I’m taking for granted that you’re familiar with the basic details of the controversy surrounding Moore’s Republican candidacy for the Senate. I won’t repeat them all here.)

The problem with Moore, as I see it, is that he’s a religious fanatic who wants everyone to emulate his own piety. He got himself kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing a higher court’s order to remove a sculpture honoring the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the courthouse. He also has declared his profound disagreement with the principle of church-state separation.

In a sense, a person as rabid as I in my political opposition to almost everything Moore stands for, can almost regret that this sex scandal, if that’s what it is, has arisen. I don’t want his impending defeat at the ballot box, if it comes to that, to be blamed on anything other than his long record of nuttiness.

By much the same token, I don’t want to hear the crazy people in Alabama who vote for Moore argue that their choice was based on the credibility — or lack of it — of the story the former 14-year-old girl has told to the Washington Post. That story is irrelevant to the question of whether he should serve in the U.S. Senate.

But then, it was never in the cards that anyone who isn’t politically retrogressive was going to represent the people of Alabama in our nation’s capitol.

It won’t matter in the final political analysis if Moore ever fooled around with a girl young enough to be his daughter.