Recent revelations not the only problem with Roy Moore - Florida Politics

Recent revelations not the only problem with Roy Moore

Florida voters have no say in the race for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. All we can do is watch in amazement and wonder what is coming next.

Alabama’s sitting Senator, Republican Luther Strange (you can’t make this up), was defeated in the GOP primary by Roy Moore, a former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Despite having the backing of President Donald Trump, Strange’s fatal flaw was being branded part of The Establishment.

Moore was expected to defeat his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. Then came the recent Washington Post story describing sexual encounters with minors nearly four decades ago allegedly involving Moore.

Moore emphatically denies the accusations, but in the era of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others, the presumption of innocence is seemingly no longer applicable.

For example, in a Friday tweet, 2012 GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney said “Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. Moore is unfit for office and should step down.”

“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”

Moore’s dilemma makes it tough for one of Romney’s former key advisers. Tallahassee’s Brett Doster helped the former Massachusetts Governor win the Florida primary and go on to the nomination.

Doster, a strong conservative and good at what he does, is one of Moore’s top message guys. On the day the story broke, he revealed the campaign’s first general election ad featuring “Military, the flag and jobs.”

Doster is a good guy and a strong conservative who is four-square behind Moore. But he and his colleagues have a Herculean task in front of them.

Just for a moment, let’s imagine the creepy stuff had never surfaced. Even without the accusations, Republicans who believe in the rule of law should have plenty of problems with Moore.

I am among those conservatives who try to live by the 10 Commandments and care deeply about law and order and the Constitution. We are the ones who sometimes profoundly disagree with court decisions, but are obliged to go along because that’s how our system of government works. Plenty of liberals fall into that category as well.

In 2003, Moore refused a federal judge’s order to remove a stone monument containing the 10 Commandments from a government building, leading to his removal from the bench. After regaining his place as Chief Justice, he refused to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage, which led to his resignation earlier this year.

An individual’s personal view does not trump a promise made with the left hand on a bible and the right hand in the air. Moore took an oath to “support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Alabama” in that order. He reneged.

These are not 38-year-old allegations. They are present-day facts.

One of Moore’s supporters in the 10 Commandments controversy was the state’s Attorney General, Bill Pryor. But when the judge ruled, Pryor, unlike Moore, was true to his oath.

“As attorney general, I have a duty to obey all orders of courts even when I disagree with those orders,” Pryor said Aug. 14, 2003.

Unless some irrefutable evidence surfaces somehow proving the 38-year-old allegations against Moore, he is likely to try and ride out the storm. Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead.

Trump said that if the charges are true, Moore “will do the right thing and step aside.” If not, there is a month remaining until Election Day.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is talking up a write-in campaign for Strange.

Though a long-shot, that would at least give thoughtful Republicans a place to go. It was Murkowski who lost in a 2010 primary but won the general election in that manner.

The drama playing out is made for Hollywood in more ways than one. If it ever becomes a movie, may I suggest The Life and Times of Judge Roy Moore as the title?

 

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue.

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