FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Apparently, Child Rapists Deserve the Death Penalty, But a Child Molester Deserves a U.S. Senate Seat

Photo by FolsomNatural | CC BY 2.0

Roy Moore stands poised to win Tuesday’s special election for the United States Senate, thanks largely to enthusiastic support from Trump and his cult following in Alabama.

Normally, a Republican President rallying behind a Republican candidate in a deep red state would not make for a very interesting story. But these are not just any two Republicans. Both have been accused by many credible women of sexually assaulting them, some when they were adults (the Trump accusers), others when they were children/teen-agers (the Moore accusers).

All of this is interesting – and sad – enough. One would have hoped that both men would have gone the way of Herman Cain in 2011, when multiple accusations of sexual harassment forced him to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Cain tried to stay on message, but they just kept asking him about those pesky accusations.

It wasn’t shame or embarrassment that motivated Cain to withdraw. Instead, the common wisdom was that the GOP in 2011, tinged with biblical self-righteousness, just could not bring themselves to support a sexually harassing businessman, successful as he may have been. But given the Trump/Moore axis that has recently developed, a more reasonable hypothesis is that the GOP dropped Cain less because of sexual harassment and more because he wasn’t white. Sexual harassment was merely the pretext that they needed to get rid of him for good.

The right has always pretended that they are morally superior to the left. But Trump and Moore have made, and will continue to make, this canard even more implausible than it already was.

To see just how far they have sunk, consider what four conservatives on the Supreme Court – Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas – said in 2008 about child rape. Far from condoning it or doing their best to rationalize it, they insisted – against the majority – that it warranted capital punishment. It is clear from their passionate dissent in Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407, that their constitutional interpretation in this matter was motivated largely by their moral and religious beliefs. As they said, they had “little doubt that, in the eyes of ordinary Americans, the very worst child rapists—predators who seek out and inflict serious physical and emotional injury on defenseless young children—are the epitome of moral depravity.”

Within the space of only nine years, the right has moved from vigorously supporting the death penalty for “the very worst” child rapists to vigorously supporting a child molester for the United States Senate. There is no reconciling these contrary propositions. Instead, the right either has dramatically lowered their moral standards or, more likely, never really adhered to the moral standards they always professed in the first place. If Trump and Moore have achieved anything, it is to expose the morally bankrupt ends-justify-the-means, win-at-any-cost mentality driving the Republican Party, including the so-called “evangelicals” – people who purport to be following Jesus, not Machiavelli.

And for what ends are any means justified? What exactly are Republican voters winning?

They might respond that what they are winning is the high moral ground because only they are defending the rights of fetuses against abortion. But if this is all they have left, they are in very bad shape. Putting aside the moral ugliness of relentlessly pushing for the state to control women’s uteruses, congressional Republicans have completely undermined this last vestige of supposed moral superiority through (a) their callous, elitist, and anti-populist refusal to renew CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), which has helped to provide medical coverage to millions of children; (b) their promotion of a tax bill (the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”) that “delivers no significant benefits to families with children, including families with children younger than 3, in the lowest two-fifths of the income distribution” (Elaine Maag, “House And Senate Tax Bills Do Little For Most Families With Young Children,” Forbes, Nov. 29, 2017); and (c) their failure to renew DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

It is almost as if Trump-era Republicans have gone out of their way to embrace the absurd position that former Rep. Barney Frank once attributed to them: “[T]he right to life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

If Moore wins on Tuesday, Democrats across the country should campaign throughout 2018 on writer Jess Dweck’s recent modification of Frank’s insight: “For the GOP, childhood begins at conception and ends when a popular Republican molests you.”

More articles by:

Ken Levy is the Holt B. Harrison Professor of Law at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University.

July 09, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 Exposes the Weakness of a Major Theory Used to Justify Capitalism
Ahrar Ahmad
Racism in America: Police Choke-hold is Not the Issue
Timothy M. Gill
Electoral Interventions: a Suspiciously Naïve View of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World
Daniel Falcone
Cold War with China and the Thucydides Trap: a Conversation with Richard Falk
Daniel Beaumont
Shrink-Wrapped: Plastic Pollution and the Greatest Economic System Jesus Ever Devised
Prabir Purkayastha
The World Can Show How Pharma Monopolies Aren’t the Only Way to Fight COVID-19
Gary Leupp
“Pinning Down Putin” Biden, the Democrats and the Next War
Howard Lisnoff
The Long Goodbye to Organized Religion
Cesar Chelala
The Dangers of Persecuting Doctors
Mike Garrity – Erik Molvar
Back on the List: A Big Win for Yellowtone Grizzlies and the Endangered Species Act, a Big Loss for Trump and Its Enemies
Purusottam Thakur
With Rhyme and Reasons: Rap Songs for COVID Migrants
Binoy Kampmark
Spiked Concerns: The Melbourne Coronavirus Lockdown
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela is on a Path to Make Colonialism Obsolete
George Ochenski
Where are Our Political Leaders When We Really Need Them?
Dean Baker
Is it Impossible to Envision a World Without Patent Monopolies?
William A. Cohn
Lead the Way: a Call to Youth
July 08, 2020
Laura Carlsen
Lopez Obrador’s Visit to Trump is a Betrayal of the U.S. and Mexican People
Melvin Goodman
Afghanistan: What is to be Done?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
The End of the American Newspaper
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Merits of Medicare for All Have Been Proven by This Pandemic
David Rosen
It’s Now Ghislaine Maxwell’s Turn
Nicolas J S Davies
Key U.S. Ally Indicted for Organ Trade Murder Scheme
Bob Lord
Welcome to Hectobillionaire Land
Laura Flanders
The Great American Lie
John Kendall Hawkins
Van Gogh’s Literary Influences
Marc Norton
Reopening vs. Lockdown is a False Dichotomy
Joel Schlosberg
“All the Credit He Gave Us:” Time to Drop Hamilton’s Economics
CounterPunch News Service
Tribes Defeat Trump Administration and NRA in 9th Circuit on Sacred Grizzly Bear Appeal
John Feffer
The US is Now the Global Public Health Emergency
Nick Licata
Three Books on the 2020 Presidential Election and Their Relevance to the Black Live Matter Protests
Elliot Sperber
The Breonna Taylor Bridge
July 07, 2020
Richard Eskow
The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill
Daniel Beaumont
Gimme Shelter: the Brief And Strange History of CHOP (AKA CHAZ)
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s War
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Racism May be Blatant, But the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division
Andrew Stewart
Can We Compare the George Floyd Protests to the Vietnam War Protests? Maybe, But the Analogy is Imperfect
Walden Bello
The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War
Nyla Ali Khan
Fallacious Arguments Employed to Justify the Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Autonomy and Its Bifurcation
Don Fitz
A Statue of Hatuey
Dean Baker
Unemployment Benefits Should Depend on the Pandemic
Ramzy Baroud – Romana Rubeo
Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?
Sam Pizzigati
Social Distancing for Mega-Million Fun and Profit
Dave Lindorff
Private: Why the High Dudgeon over Alleged Russian Bounties for Taliban Slaying of US Troops
George Wuerthner
Of Fire and Fish
Binoy Kampmark
Killing Koalas: the Promise of Extinction Down Under
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail