Conservatives, It Really Is Time to Walk Away

Roy Moore has not shown an ability to defend himself if the attacks are false and if true they are damning. He runs the risk of hurting the conservative movement and Christians in politics.

I don't blame Roy Moore's voters for sticking with him. And I still think it is notable that the biggest pile and rush to judgment has come from establishment Republicans who have always hated Moore. But I have contended all along that the accusers were credible. Now we have a signed year book that, in and of itself, is nothing, but added to the pile starts to take on weight. Add to both the New Yorker story and the local story about Roy Moore going to the Gadsden Mall and there is a millstone involved.

As an aside, the New Yorker's reporter , Charles Bethea, has written about me in the past a couple of times. They were not fluff pieces and while I might have preferred some things going differently, I cannot say I felt slighted, maligned, or otherwise taken out of context to advance an agenda. He was thoroughly fair and deeply probative to make sure he got his facts right.

The problem here is this one: Roy Moore may be innocent, but his campaign has had since Friday to put on a compelling defense and go on offense against the accusations. They have not. As a result, he has allowed others to define the situation and seen his major national support flee. If you want to stick with him, so be it, but at some point the ship of a campaign takes on too much water to be salvageable.

More that that, we are looking at real damage to conservatives in this who are beclowning themselves with some of the most absurd defenses of Roy Moore imaginable. I have a number of friends who adore the man. They believe him. I do not know him. I have never met him. But he has failed at basic campaign fundamentals in handling this situation, he has made it worse by his own words, and the drip, drip, drip of stories is starting to solidify in the minds of voters. He will not have an electoral college to save him.

I don't blame Alabama voters for feeling the need to stick with Roy Moore. But I do have to start wondering about national conservatives. This is not about what the other side would do, but what conservatives should do. At a basic level, if Roy Moore won't defend himself sufficiently, there is no reason for the rest of us to. At a deeper level, the allegations are disturbing and credible and putting someone in the Senate with that hanging over him is of questionable prudence that would all but eliminate the GOP's ability to be taken seriously on the matter of harassment, assault, and indecent behavior. Moore in public office, with that level of ineptitude in his ability to defend himself right now would just be used by others to harm both Christians and conservatives in politics.

A new Morning Consult/Politico survey shows a continued Moore candidacy and his entrance into the Senate could prove problematic — much as it did with controversial candidates in 2010 and 2012 — for Republicans who are hoping to improve on their 52-48 Senate majority during next year’s midterm elections.

With all due respect, "protecting conservatism" is a weak argument. Reminds of the movie Judgement at Nuremberg where at the of the movie the German judge (played by Burt Lancaster)told the American judge (played by Spencer Tracy) presiding over the trial tells him that he did not know his guilty judgment over an innocent Jew would lead to the Nazi atrocities. Spencer Tracy's reply, "It began when you first condemned an innocent man to death." If Roy Moore is innocent then to glom on to this lynch mob is basically the same idea...to save conservatism?

Erick makes a good point — if elected, the black cloud over him will be a Scarlet A for conservatives, a standing caricature, unlike teen prostitute solicitor (cough: alleged), Bob Melendez, who could throttle a goat on the Capitol steps and be applauded by the media.

@TomBrown I think that it's very possible that a) Judge Moore did sow some very wild oats as a single man in his 30s and did some things he's not proud of; b) he very well may have changed and mellowed with marriage, as many men do; c) he's either too embarrassed or too proud to admit to what happened; d) he's getting advice that he'd commit political suicide to admit to the inproprieties, apologize, and say that he's changed after marriage and now realizes what he did was inappropriate. To me, I think it's bad advice, because I agree with you -- a real man owns up to his mistakes and asks for forgiveness. He may be lampooned by the Left and shunned by the RINOs in DC, but I believe if he'd taken that tack from the beginning, his support in Alabama would not have eroded.

I walk in the local mall everyday for exercise and in five years there is not a single security person who is still employed there - turnover is huge. There is NO way they have found someone from 40 years ago who knows about a policy concerning any individual.

I always thought that Conservatives believed that a person was innocent until proven guilty. However, this does not seem to be the case with Judge Moore. You and many other Conservatives are taking for granted, unsubstantiated accusations which are appearing only 3 weeks before the election. Personally, I smell the stench of McConnell's hands all over this; he and his henchmen would rather lose a Republican seat in the Senate than allow someone the voters preferred over their candidate. Hopefully, the voters in Alabama not so inclined.

I'm disappointed with you Erick. You are usually spot on but you are too quick to abandon Judge Moore. This stinks of a McConnell-type hit job. And your article helps it have success. Please re-consider, and read Steve Deace's Facebook post on the subject. He has some pretty good insight which has some bearing here. Respectfully submitted, Van

Here are some of the ways "Dating" can be categorized: 1) "Seeking pre-marital sex" vs. "commitment to wait till marriage" 2) "Playing the field" vs "steady girlfriend" 3) "32 - 17" vs. "close in age"

[above continued] Now I would suggest that if 1) is "commitment to wait till marriage" and the "32" is caring toward the "17", then I don't see the moral problem with number 3) being "32-17", although I would say that "32-17" would still be generally unadvisable. So I don't think it is fair to outright condemn all "32 - 17" dating relationships, and some point to successful marriages which have resulted from such a relationship. However, even if the worst accusations are exaggerated or false, there is mounting evidence (not refuted by Moore that I can tell) that Moore may have been "seeking pre-marital sex", "playing the field", and "32-17". Thought of this way, this dating pattern is reprehensible, the word "creep" applies, and again, I don't see Moore even refuting it, at least not with any clarity. Alabama voters will have to decide, but I don't blame Erick for his position on this.

[continued] If the worst accusations are false, the other behavior from 40 years ago would not necessarily be disqualifying if he owned up to it and humbly apologized and expressed regret. After all, there is evidence that he has put this stuff behind him a long time ago. But he instead denies without strongly refuting everything, using lawyerly answers and lots of deflection. If his denials were true I wouldn't expect him to be talking about McConnell so much, but instead giving strong, detailed refutations of the accusations. If the worst accusations are true he should not be running at all, in my opinion.

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