Forget it, Jake; it’s Alabama

October 10, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The National media, alt-right and even the left hope Judge Roy Moore’s win in the Republican primary signals a seismic movement toward more disruptive candidates in GOP primaries.

Those who hope to replicate Moore’s success in other states don’t seem to understand that Moore is not an insurgent candidate but a fixture of conservative politics in Alabama for decades.

While Moore appeals to the same base of conservatives as President Trump, the two couldn’t be more different.

But that doesn’t stop the media and those hopeful Trumpians from seeing an omen where none exists.

“Final Alabama election results show Trump losing to Steve Bannon with Moore victory,” was a typical tweet on election night. Continuing stories that cast Moore’s win as a proxy battle between the establishment and nationalist-populist wave started by President Trump and Bannon is an overblown narrative without much basis in fact.

With no disrespect, but neither Bannon or Trump should see Moore’s triumph as a referendum on their particular brand of republicanism.

To believe Moore’s victory portends the future of the U.S. Congress is akin to wishing for leprechauns or unicorns to magically appear over the Capitol.

Moore is a good-old-fashioned southern politico, one part populist, one part firebrand with a healthy measure of God, guns and country. Unlike many wannabes, Moore is the real deal, not an imitation. Appointed Etowah County Circuit Judge in 1992 by Republican Gov. Guy Hunt, Moore went on to win the seat in his own right in 1994 with 62 percent of the vote.

He was one of the first Republicans to win a county-wide seat in Alabama since the Reconstruction.

Upon his appointment in 1992, Moore hung his now-famous wooden Ten Commandments plaque in his courtroom. So anyone who thinks Moore is an upstart or a renegade doesn’t know much about the state’s history.

Moore is controversial, given to blistering sermons and polarizing political speech, but that is where any similarity between Trump, Bannon and Moore ends.

Moore is a devout Christian who is a firm constitutionalist. As he has said on numerous occasions, he thinks to make America great again, it must be good.

Why is Moore so widely vilified? Why is he considered out of the mainstream? Moore doesn’t think same-sex marriage is constitutionally sanctioned, and he believes federal courts shouldn’t ban prayer in school and at ball games, these are a few. He says these things with harsh, lacerating words that seem hateful. But while it is easy to portray him as a resident evil, his beliefs hardly put him outside the social-conservative wing of the Republican party.

Moore’s base also supports a president who is on his third marriage, thinks grabbing women by their genitals is a perk of being a celebrity and has a less than comfortable relationship with facts. Social conservatives have rallied behind a man who bullies his enemies and friends, demands loyalty while giving none in return and whose life has been directed by a moral compass generally unacceptable in the Christian faith without repentance.

In Trump, evangelicals believe that they have found a strong man who will protect the faith. In Moore, they actually have one who is unburdened by the moral ambiguities of the current president.

This is said not to defend Moore or demean the president. These are facts. Moore is a strong social conservative whose bombastic verve is unsettling to some.

Moore isn’t an anomaly; he’s just an old-school politico who knows how to win in the heart of Dixie.

Bannon and Trump will find out he’s a disrupter to those he believes betraying his faith and the constitution; something they would be wise to understand.

The media, the left and the right don’t get Moore.

Forget it, Jake; it’s Alabama.

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