By CLARENCE V. MCKEE
As one friend told me, “If Senate Republicans had been at Gettysburg, they would have cut and run at the first sound of cannon fire and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia would have defeated the Union army of General George Meade.”
In fact, if Senate Republicans do to tax reform what they did to replace Obamacare, they can most likely say hello to a U.S. House controlled by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, DCalif., in 2018.
But no one should be surprised at their failure to stand together against a united Democratic and media resistance to the Trump agenda. At the first hint of scandal or controversy, Democrats usually rally and unite like a family under siege, while Republicans run over each other trying to be the first to say, “don’t blame me I’m on the right side.”
Just look at how Senate Republicans are running for cover to get as far away as possible from Roy Moore, the anti-GOP establishment candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama.
Moore is under siege from a decades old accusation of sexual misconduct with then teenage girls. As serious as these allegations are, and they are very serious — they are allegations only!
Many will recall the allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment made against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by those on the left in an attempt to deny him confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.
What is amazing, even for Republicans, is how quickly so many have been to throw Moore under the bus — based on allegations alone.
It didn’t take long after the accusations against Moore came to light in The Washington Post — which has endorsed Moore’s Democratic opponent — that the GOP’s already tissue thin wall of courage began to crumble.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee severed financial ties with Moore; Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, pulled their endorsements; Mitt Romney said he should step aside because he was “unfit for office;” and, three other senators — John McCain, R-Ariz., Pat Toomey, RPa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he should step aside. Portman’s rationale is astonishing.
He is quoted as saying, ” . . . if what we read is true and people are on the record, … ” then Moore should step aside.
Does Portman really believe that if an accusation is reported in the media and people are on the record supporting it that we must assume it to be true? How naïve.
I wonder if he would feel the same way if someone was on the record in a press report falsely accusing him of some disgraceful conduct.
Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., now says that he believes the women and that Moore should leave the race.
Nearly a dozen other senators said almost uniformly that Moore should step aside if the allegations were true.
The only Senator whose comments did not reflect the knee-jerk throw Moore under the bus GOP stampede, were those of Sen. John Cornyn,R-Texas, who has endorsed Moore:
” . . . I think the next steps are up to the governor and the people of Alabama. I find it deeply disturbing and troubling. If it’s true, I don’t think his candidacy is sustainable.”
Cornyn seems to be the adult in the room! The rest couldn’t wait to join the if true he must go chorus. The lesson here is that all it takes to take down a Republican candidate is an allegation. Republicans, to placate a GOP-hating media, will do the rest.
Where is the proof and where is the beef? They don’t ask.
Compare the GOP attacks on Moore and the wall-to-wall media coverage of his situation with the coverage and Democratic response to the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.
Not only has the media given scant coverage to the Menendez situation, from his indictment through trial, we have not heard Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and scores of Democratic Senators saying that if he is convicted he should resign from the Senate.
Until “Fox News Sunday” moderator Chris Wallace asked Democratic Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., whether Menendez should step down if convicted, I don’t recall the media asking any Democrat about Menendez.
His answer, “We are going to leave this decision to the jury. People on the jury will have to look at the facts like the people of Alabama will have to look at the facts” (regarding Moore).
Great answer! He should give his Republican colleagues lessons on crisis management.
Republicans probably would have thrown a Republican on trial under the bus.
Democrats stick together. Recall how they united behind Bill Clinton after charges of sexual misconduct and his Oval Office escapades. Republicans would have urged a Republican president to resign.
It’s too bad Senate Republicans weren’t as enthusiastic in messaging to pass healthcare legislation as they have been in attacking Moore. Moore is an easy target. It doesn’t take much courage to say he should resign “if” the allegations are true.
Let’s see how brave these senators will be when it comes time to pass meaningful tax reform.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns.