What we learned from Alabama

Uncategorized

We learned several things from yesterday’s Alabama Senate election. Roy Moore’s defeat was not an “upset” and it does not signal “a turn against Trump.” Although Moore was not an ideal candidate on the issues, sexual misconduct claims translated an easy win into a close loss. Had Moore prevailed, it would have been just as incorrect to suggest “a win for Trump” either, as he didn’t endorse Moore in the primary anyway.  But if you step back, there is a bigger issue that we must confront.

I’m not talking about sexual wrongdoings, but let me start by restating the obvious: If Judge Moore did everything he was alleged to have done, he should be held accountable. However, this analysis overlooks several facts:

Most importantly, we do not know what did or did not happen. Claims of behavior 40 years ago are almost impossible to unravel. Democrats and the mainstream media constantly referred to the charges as “credible.” Perhaps, but believable claims are not necessarily true. They referred to the number of allegations as evidence as well, but this, too, is flawed logic. The quantity of allegations does not constitute any evidence because different allegations represent different events. They claimed that this was not a partisan issue; the Democrats dispatched Al Franken, so they must be committed to reform in their own party. But this is not true either. Unlike Moore, Franken admitted wrongdoing, and because the Minnesota governor is a Democrat, his resignation paves the way for another liberal anyway, without a special election.

The most egregious intellectual mistake was made by Senator Shelby. “A lot of smoke, there’s got to be some fire there.” Wrong, Senator. The entire objective of this attack on Judge Moore was to create a lot of smoke. If this is your honest assessment, then we definitely need sharper minds in Washington. If not, then you owe the country an apology. Your opposition to Moore likely tipped the election to Jones.

Here’s what we know. These allegations emerged immediately following the Republican primary, when it was too late for voters to consider an alternative to Moore. Even if some of the allegations were true, the timing is no coincidence. We also know that some of details in the allegations just don’t add up. Does this mean none of the accusers were telling the truth? Not necessarily, but then again, we just don’t know.

Perhaps we will know the facts one day, but I doubt that the networks that pounded Moore for weeks will invest the time and resources necessary to sort out the truth in the coming months. Their goal was accomplished, so it’s time to move on to bigger fish now—President Trump.

I understand why voters could have concerns about Judge Moore. He’s not a gifted speaker and his denials didn’t have a convincing tone. But the same people who have been beating the Russia collusion drum for a year now just destroyed a man’s life and reputation with unsubstantiated 40-year-old allegations, and they don’t know what actually happened any more than the rest of us. What happened to the American value of innocent until proven guilty?

With Moore’s defeat, rest assured that the political lynch mob is here to stay. Just create “a lot of smoke,” and you can turn an election.

P.S. I received a couple of interesting emails asking if I supported Moore. He wasn’t the ideal candidate, but you ultimately choose between individuals on the ballot. I’ll trust Alabama on this one. My point was not about Moore per se, but about the willingness of many to jump on the anti-Moore bandwagon without seriously questioning the allegations. It’s not “anti-women” to insist on strong evidence for 40-year-old accusations. We should give respect and full consideration to women who come forward in situations like this, but without abandoning reasonable standards of evidence and judgment, especially regarding serious accusations like sexual assault. I welcome a reckoning for anyone guilty of workplace harassment or physical assault, but let’s avoid the lynch mob.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. rambler  •  Dec 13, 2017 @12:49 PM

    There was no way to win this one. Just move on.

  2. DJII  •  Dec 13, 2017 @2:39 PM

    I dont think Moore was a strong candidate, but what happened is scary. Will his accusers be held accountable if it turns out that they were lying?

  3. Aliza  •  Dec 14, 2017 @4:44 PM

    Five women, who don’t know each other, accused him of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers. The fact that they tell their story today, after 40 years, does not matter. They could not have come forward 40 years ago. They would have been shamed and been blamed for what have happened to them. But now they can.
    Winds of changes….

  4. Jerry  •  Dec 14, 2017 @5:40 PM

    DJII is right, Aliza is half right. Just because the environment is better now for women to come forward doesn’t mean some won’t use it as a political opportunity. Battle4Liberty is on point. These women might be telling the truth, they might not. It would be interesting to find out for sure either way…

  5. lparsons  •  Dec 15, 2017 @10:53 AM

    Hey Aliza, your father/brother/husband groped me 30 years ago when I was 15. I’m a woman coming forward so I must be telling the truth, right?

  6. Aliza  •  Dec 15, 2017 @11:26 AM

    Hey lparsons,
    I don’t see any reason for a woman to tell such stories if they’ve never happened. Coming forward with that at this stage of their lives, when they have their own families and kids, requires a lot of courage and willingness to pay the emotional price. Why do you assume that they are lying?

  7. lparsons  •  Dec 15, 2017 @12:55 PM

    EASY answer Aliza. MOST women have no reason to lie about stuff like this, but it only takes one or two to destroy a man’s life. What about a bad relationship in the past, or a personal vendetta, or political opposition, or seeking victim status and attention (some people do this!). People lie for lots of reasons! Remember Duke Lacrosse? The story fit the perfect narrative about privilege and racism, but it was a lie.

    Nobody is assuming women who make claims are lying, but you shouldn’t assume they are telling the truth either when SOMEONE’S LIFELONG REPUTATION is on the line! What about fairness!

  8. crater7  •  Dec 15, 2017 @1:20 PM

    Nothing will turn men against this movement faster than the idea that women are presumed honest and men are presumed guilty.

  9. JeremyV  •  Dec 16, 2017 @6:34 PM

    If accusers should be automatically believed, then what about harassment charges against Andrea Ramsey?
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/15/politics/kansas-democrat-andrea-ramsey-congress-race-sexual-harassment/index.html
    Rep. Ramsey must be guilty, right?

  10. aliza  •  Dec 17, 2017 @12:16 PM

    Even though she was not a defendant and the case was dismissed in 2006, she quit the race.Moore did not.

  11. leslie  •  Dec 17, 2017 @6:16 PM

    As an attorney (but not in this area), I found the Andrea Ramsey case interesting. Aliza’s comparison to Moore misses the point. Should you be required to quit a political race because you are accused of something you didn’t do? Besides, Moore was never charged with anything in court and can’t be because of statue of limitations, which means accusers can say anything without fear of cross examination. This is a huge advantage for accusers.

    Who knows if Ramsey is guilty or not. She denied the charges just like Moore did.

  12. Aliza  •  Dec 18, 2017 @11:16 AM

    Leslie, the comparison was meant to show the different approach each of them took. Both deny allegations, whether in court or outside of it and, yes, legally we cannot require them to quit the race. Innocent until proven guilty is right for criminal convictions, but do we want that also in our public lives? Don’t we deserve to have leaders (man and women) with no Pandora’s box in their closet?

  13. JeremyV  •  Dec 18, 2017 @3:17 PM

    Should you not get a job because your company doesn’t want to take a chance that an accuser in your past might be right? Should a vengeful person be able to destroy someone’s public life? The real Pandora’s box is allowing this to happen. There will be a lot of innocent people caught up with the guilty ones.

  14. Turk  •  Dec 18, 2017 @4:48 PM

    What troubles me about this particular scandal are the following:

    1. The media left and folks like Sen Shelby kept talking about multiple female “victims” of Moore’s criminal sexual misconduct. If you take the facts on their face, there really were not multiple victims. There was actually only 1 “victim” (the 14 year old girl). The other females were anywhere from 16-18. If we take the facts as true, the incident with the 14 year old is a problem because she is under the legal age of consent – so that would be a crime. But the other females were either at or above the age of consent (which is 16 in Alabama). So accepting the allegations as true, there is really only one female who was under the age of consent at the time meaning there is really only one “victim” of criminal sexual misconduct. So what was the objective of lumping the stories of the other females in with the 14 year old? I think it was simply to create the false illusion of wider criminal conduct – because they knew that one incident with one 14 year old female from 40 years ago might not inflame the populace, but if you also throw in the stories of four other females who were close in age, and do not highlight the fact that the others were at or above the age of consent, leaving the populace to assume the others were also below the age of consent, then it makes him look and feel like a serial sexual predator of females who were under the age of consent. Him asking 16-18 year old females out on dates might be viewed as unsavory and creepy by some folks, but it is not illegal. The left and their media allies knew that most people would not make that nuanced distinction, and they were right. And yes, some articles did state that the legal age of consent is 16 in Alabama, but they would bury that fact in the story so people would gloss over it and never state that going out on a date with a 16 year old girl is legal (presuming the girls parents did not intercede and stop it).

    2. The 14 year female incident happened 40 years ago. I do not believe that this information was unknown prior to the primary – somebody knew it and held it knowing that they can use it to effect an election that they could not win under normal circumstances. I think the Dems and their media allies held the information until just the right time, when they knew the deadline had passed to replace him on the ballot. If this accusation was so damaging, then let us know while we can still put someone else on the ballot (like during the primary). By waiting until they did, it was just dirty political gamesmanship – and I am disgusted by those kind of tactics just as much as I am by the alleged criminal behavior. Because of the timing of when this story was revealed to the public, the people of Alabama were left with no real choice in this election. The statutory deadline for replacing Moore on the ballot had passed by I think a day or a couple days when the story was first published. As such, the Republicans were unable to put someone on the ballot that had conservative views and was not tainted by scandal. In this case, the people of Alabama had three choices (1) vote for the liberal candidate (and for many that meant voting for a guy who they were diametrically opposed to politically), (2) vote for the unsavory conservative candidate (and be stained with all his baggage), or (3) vote for a third party or write-in candidate (which in essence was a vote for the liberal candidate – it was the Perot effect). That is not the kind of choice that makes our government and our country better.