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.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
December 09, 2019
Jefferson Morley
Trump’s Hand-Picked Prosecutor John Durham Cleared the CIA Once, Will He Again?
Kirkpatrick Sale
Political Collapse: The Center Cannot Hold
Ishmael Reed
Bloomberg Condoned Sexual Assault by NYPD 
W. T. Whitney
Hitting at Cuban Doctors and at Human Solidarity
Louisa Willcox
The Grizzly Cost of Coexistence
Thomas Knapp
Meet Virgil Griffith: America’s Newest Political Prisoner
John Feffer
How the New Right Went Global — and How to Stop It
Ralph Nader
Why Not Also Go With “The Kitchen Table” Impeachable Offenses for Removal?
M. K. Bhadrakumar
Sri Lanka Continues Its Delicate Dance With India
Robert Fisk
Meet the Controversial Actor and Businessman Standing Up Against Egypt’s el-Sisi
Dahr Jamail
Savoring What Remains: Dealing With Climate PTSD
George Wuerthner
Bison Slaughter in Yellowstone…Again
Scott Tucker
Premature Democratic Socialists: Reasons for Hope and Change
Julian Rose
Polish Minister of Health Proposes Carcinogenic 5G Emission Levels as National Norm
Dean Baker
Coal and the Regions Left Behind
Robert Koehler
Envisioning a United World
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail