The Politics of Crime

For decades, Republicans have criticized Democrat hypocrisy. Bill Clinton was accused of rape and admitted (after committing perjury) to an affair with a young intern over whom he held significant power. Despite this, Democrats, who otherwise argued that all women who claim to be victims of sexual assault should be believed, nevertheless enthusiastically supported a man repeatedly charged with those heinous crimes and instead attacked his accusers.

Ted Kennedy drove his car into a lake and left his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, behind to drown. There were rumors of an affair, but whatever he felt for the young woman was not enough because Kennedy did not even report the incident to the police until the next day – after someone else discovered a dead body in his sunken car. Despite this, he was called a lion of the Senate and elected to several more terms by Democrats who claim to oppose violence against women.

Both men committed horrible crimes but were forgiven by their party because The Cause was more important.

With this history, it is understandable why Weinstein ended his statement admitting to sexual assault by saying he would go after the NRA. With this history, it is understandable why Kevin Spacey ended his statement admitting to molesting a child by announcing he would “live as a gay man.” Both were attempts to tell the Left that they are part of the tribe and liberals should place politics above decency. Both thought supporting liberal policies should get them out of trouble for their crimes.

Fortunately, the Left did far better this year than they have in the past. Weinstein, Spacey, and many others are being drummed out of Hollywood despite previously being members in good standing of the liberal elite.

Unfortunately, just as Democrats are improving, Republicans are backsliding.

Around the same time Kennedy was getting away with manslaughter, Republicans valued traditional morality so greatly they debated whether a divorce was reason enough to not elect a conservative hero as president. Last year, they elected a president who bragged about committing sexual assault.

This year, Alabama Republicans have a more startling choice to make. Roy Moore, who was twice impeached and removed from other offices, is running for the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Recently, four separate women told the Washington Post that Moore dated them when he was in his 30’s and they were children between 14-18. None accuse him of rape (even statutory), but the woman who was 14 at the time does accuse Moore of stripping her to her underwear and groping her. Additional women have since come forward accusing Moore of inappropriate relationships with them as children.

Republicans have two ways of responding to this, and have already begun breaking into camps.

Some, such as Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Mike Lee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and many other high level elected officials have already condemned Moore and called for him to exit the race.

Others, such as Breitbart.com and some low level officials in Alabama have tried to discredit the women who accused Moore, or said it does not matter even if true. Two Breitbart “reporters” went to Alabama to poke holes in the story and ended up essentially confirming it. Oops.

To be fair, almost all of Moore’s remaining defenders are not claiming that pedophilia is acceptable, but instead insist that any reporting critical of a Republican is #FakeNews. They are not defending Moore because they support what he did to those young girls, they defend him because he is on their team and nothing else matters. It is the same reason Democrats defended Bill Clinton when he was accused of repeated sexual assaults, and it is the same reason Democrats defended Ted Kennedy when he left a woman alone to die.

If you are a Democrat, this history means you should not be too smug about the current state of affairs. If you are a Republican, it means you should be outraged your party is turning into everything you condemned for decades.

Republicans remain at an important crossroad and must ask themselves a series of vital questions. Is “winning” all that matters? Do we still demand our politicians be good and decent people? If our chosen representative is a known child molester, what does that say about us?

It is good that, for most Republicans, pedophilia charges is a bridge too far. But the sickness of political tribalism has already spread. Even before he was accused of pedophilia, Moore had publicly opposed many core conservative principles such as freedom of religion and the supremacy of laws over men. That he ever won the Republican primary is a stain on Republican honor.

Republicans have to decide if they merely want the red team to beat the blue team, or if they really do care about the conservative principles they have championed. The country will watch Alabama to find out.

#republican-divide, #tribalism