Mark this date on your calendar: Dec. 4, 2017.
It may not end up in history books as a significant moment in American politics, but it will be etched in this conservative’s mind for a long time.
It’s the infamous date that a Republican president proverbially voted a bigot and alleged child molester in and an upstanding, Mormon statesman out.
On Monday, President Trump officially endorsed Judge Roy Moore for Senate in Alabama’s special election, citing political expedience.
“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”
Moore has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault when they were just teenagers and he was a prominent political figure in his 30s. Two police officers have corroborated that he was banned from a shopping mall for preying on young girls. He admits to dating young girls, but denies any wrongdoing.
Shortly after tweeting his support for an alleged child molester, Trump was on his plane en route to Utah to try to keep Mitt Romney out of the Senate. There, he’d heap praise on the sitting Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, serving his seventh term. Hatch was mulling his retirement, with Romney eying his seat.
But Trump likely remembers Romney’s criticism well — he called Trump a con man and a fraud during the election — and said Monday he hopes Hatch will “continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come.” Hatch is 83.
That Trump has decided his own personal, petty politics and party expedience are more important than things like principles, character and integrity — and that other high-profile Republicans and plenty of voters have joined him — makes Monday a very dark cloud on what has already been a stormy year for conservatism.
Maybe the Republican Party — which hasn’t felt very conservative for some time — will move on from this disturbing moment unscathed. It’s more than possible the party’s support of an accused child molester in 2017 doesn’t result in its total demise because, for one, nothing matters anymore, and for another, the Democrats are fairly competitive on the moral front, willing to accept accused sexual predators in their own house and refusing to finally acknowledge the sins of Bill Clinton, his enabler wife Hillary, and his feminist defenders.
But it’s hard to beat the utterly unforgivable sin of either willingly supporting or blindly accepting an accused child predator.
The so-called “urgency” of politics — the need to keep a seat Republican or Democrat for votes on this policy or that — shouldn’t come at the expense of basic human decency. Men are imperfect, but our political leaders should at least aspire to goodness. And voters should care about issues, but also about the character of those who would represent us.
Somewhere along the line, these ideas — that we shouldn’t elect immoral, corrupt dishonest people to public office if we can avoid it — were dismissed as “establishment” demands. That, in a word, is bulls–t, and I’m tired of it. We can want to “drain the swamp” of Washington cronyism and self-interest while still insisting on a modicum of basic integrity — truth-telling, respect for others and a defense of the truly innocent, like children.
You can save your cries of virtue signaling, too. There’s nothing virtuous about wanting to hold our leaders to a somewhat rigorous standard of decency. It just happens to be out of favor.
Temporarily, I hope. We might be stuck in a cultural and moral morass — where your sexual predator is OK but mine is bad, or where some neo-Nazis are fine people — but it doesn’t have to stay this way.
There wasn’t anything to celebrate on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. But maybe by next December, we remember what used to be important, and what should be again.
Contact Cupp at thesecupp.com.
This column first appeared in the New York Daily News.
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