I admit it, Roy Moore scares me. I live in my west-coast bubble and he lives in his Alabama bubble and we both believe we have self-consistent world views and that there is something seriously wrong with the people who tend to overrule us.
“What is he trying to do?” I asked B over breakfast, over the Times, this morning. “What did he think was going to happen?” You have to take seriously that he is trying to overthrow what he considers a tyrannical ungodly federal regime.
Is he aiming for something bigger? I asked myself. He only gets more popular with his core supporters, the more this David and Goliath thing plays out. Could he run for president.
Suddenly the idea of third-party challenge from the right, a George Wallace moment for George Bush, the ghost of Strom Thurmond haunting the Republicans, flashed through my mind. But no, I thought, more likely he plans to run after a George W.’s second term, when the religious right and other true believers are fed up with all the “liberal” compromises they see George as already having made, let alone the runaway spending, steel tariffs, PATRIOT acts, misuse of the military, and other shibboleths of the right.
Then we’ll really see the millennium come on.
Jeffrey Gettleman’s article in the Times today (I’d include a link but it will rot in a few weeks) helped me undertand what’s going on. Moore in fact had a good chance of not being removed, since the nine-person ethics panel had to rule unanimously to oust him, and consists entirely of elected officials facing little chance of benefitting from being seen as “voting against the Ten Commandments.”
“I have absolutely no regrets,” [Moore reportedly] said. “We kept the faith. But the battle is not over. The battle to acknowledge God is about to rage across the country.”
The crowd exploded in cheers and chanted, “Roy Moore for Senate! Roy Moore for President!”
It turns out he can be reelected to his chief justice job next time around. The panel can’t ban him from retaking his position, so he may suffer no longterm harm from losing his job as a David to the federal court’s Goliath.
Gettleman’s description of the courtroom scene as the verdict was read is priceless:
The verdict stunned the hushed courtroom that he once presided over. As soon as it was read, Mr. Moore’s shoulders drooped. His wife winced. His supporters let out a gasp. In the marbled corridors outside, shouting matches broke out between friends of the ousted judge and a handful of atheists.
“Thank you for destroying our country,” one man said to Larry Darby, president of the Atheist Law Center in Montgomery.
“Go to Hell!” another man told Mr. Darby, bumping him.
“I can’t” Mr. Darby said, straightening himself. “Hell doesn’t exist.”