With pending passage the of tax reform, the GOP is feeling emboldened. Now that they’ve given corporations and the wealthy huge tax breaks, they’re brazenly saying they’re going to tackle “entitlement reform” next. That’s code for cutting Social Security and Medicare. Even more disturbing, they’ve now moved from keeping a distance from Alabama Republican Senate nominee and alleged sexual predator Roy Moore to openly embracing him.
Donald Trump threw his support firmly behind Roy Moore and has ordered the Republican National Committee to restore funding for Moore’s campaign. Mitch McConnell backed off earlier criticisms and said he would let Alabama voters decide Moore’s fate. When asked about the president’s endorsement, Utah Republican Senator Orin Hatch said, “I don’t think he had any choice but to do that … that’s the only Republican we can get down there.” Hatch went on to dismiss the allegations because they happened decades ago.
You can certainly bet that the GOP won’t look into the credible allegations that the president sexually harassed and abused women, despite his admission on the Access Hollywood tape. Paul Ryan said as much in an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep. The House Speaker avoided comparisons with Moore and said, “What I see is a president who is fighting for the things that I’m fighting for.”
Not all Republicans agree with the GOP leadership. Former Bush speech writer Michael Gerson tweeted this morning, “There are few moments when a political party can be said to have lost its soul. GOP support for Moore is one of them. It is the complete abandonment of morality in the cause of power. Shockingly cynical, cruel to Moore’s (credible) accusers, an abdication of ethical leadership.”
Still, the elected leadership of the GOP is going to overlook sexual harassment and abuse in order to push its agenda through Congress. While Republicans will try to make a “both sides” argument, Democratic Congressman John Conyers is announcing his resignation. We now have a country where the parties have different standards for sexual harassment and abuse. Republicans are okay with it, Democrats are not.
None of this bodes well for the future of the country. As Mueller’s investigation finds more and more improper behavior, there’s little evidence the GOP is willing to hold to standards or norms that have protected the constitution and government. McConnell has already changed the Senate for the worse in order score political points. Now, he’s willing to protect sex abusers. Why should we expect him to do anything other than protect the president for political gain? It’s the epitome of putting party before country. It’s not even America First nationalism. It’s GOP First tribalism and it’s reached the highest levels of government.