Is the GOP establishment behind the Roy Moore hit?
Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is the latest famous guy to be accused of sexual assault. The Washington Post reported that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl, at a time when Moore was 32 years old.
Is this a hit piece to derail his candidacy, or is he truly a bad guy? The story will play out over the next few days, making the answer clearer. What's suspicious is the timing.
With choreography on par with Olympic synchronized swimming or figure skating, members of the GOP establishment are dancing in unison. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would be jealous.
Hours after the Washington Post piece went viral, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell joined the dance, calling for Moore to withdraw from the Alabama Senate race "if these allegations are true." No pause. No circumspection. No waiting until the facts are in before rushing to judgment.
It's reminiscent of President Obama immediately concluding that the Cambridge police acted "stupidly" after the Henry Gates incident or jumping on the "hands up, don't shoot" bandwagon before the facts were known.
McConnell's dance partner, Senator John McCain, was quick to the microphone, not even considering whether the allegations against Roy Moore were true, saying, "The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of."
It is just like when senators also wanted Clarence Thomas to step aside based on disturbing allegations that could not be substantiated.
Senator McCain, judge, jury and executioner. He and McConnell are moving faster on this than they ever have on a piece of legislation. Too bad they couldn't move even half as quickly on tax cuts or Obamacare repeal.
Other senators piled on, echoing McConnell's view that Moore should step down if the allegations are true. NeverTrump National Review's David French jumped in as well, cautioning, "Conservatives, be careful. Don't dismiss the claims."
Such coordination and synchrony. It's almost as if this was planned ahead of time, with all the key players given advanced notice so they would have their statements ready to go within hours of the story breaking. It's been faster than the condemnation of Harvey Weinstein. Or Anthony Weiner.
What could be the motivation? Moore was not the nominee of choice of the GOP establishment. Instead, McConnell and the establishment favored his primary opponent, Senator Luther Strange. Voters felt otherwise, sending the establishment candidate packing.
That's what voters did to Representative Eric Cantor, too, a few years ago – and now, at least through polls, to Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. These are the same voters who elected Donald Trump over establishment darlings Jeb Bush and John Kasich.
What good is Senator McConnell as majority leader if he can't keep his donors and lobbyists happy? What if he allows the voters to gain the upper hand over the NeverTrump crowd, who claim to know better than the voters?
It's bad enough that Trump was elected, and that he remains in office despite the going-nowhere Russian collusion hoax that was meant to cripple his presidency – a hoax John McCain interestingly played a part in facilitating.
McConnell clearly doesn't want Roy Moore in the Senate. Is it a stretch to believe that McConnell, or someone on his behalf, hired an opposition research firm to dig up dirt on Moore? Just as the GOP establishment hired Fusion GPS to look for scandal on then-candidate Donald Trump?
So what if it throws the Alabama Senate seat election into chaos? The GOP establishment would rather lose the seat to a Democrat than see it won by an anti-establishment candidate, even if of their own party. It's the same reason so many of them opposed Trump – and do to this day.
Some, like George H.W. Bush, actually, voted for Hillary Clinton instead. With such hatred toward Trump and what he represents, and his supporters and voters, it makes perfect sense that the Republican establishment would eagerly destroy Roy Moore before he could ever get to the U.S. Senate.
If Moore is guilty as charged, then he should slink off and disappear. But give the man his due, and don't pronounce him guilty based on a Washington Post story. After all, how many of their previous stories turned out to be false? Plenty.
But the speed and choreography of the responses from McConnell, McCain, and other NeverTrumps within hours of the story's release suggest that this was a planned and coordinated attack. Too bad the Senate can't approach legislation with the same alacrity and enthusiasm.