Creepy Evangelicals Open Thread: “Why Not Mike Pence?”

Sure, Mike’s a moron, and a very public enabler for one of the grossest public figures of our time, but Ross “Chunky BoBo” Doubthat has a dream!

In the 2016 election, once Marco Rubio was defeated and Ted Cruz dispatched, religious conservatives faced a binary choice: Vote Trump or get Hillary. One does not have to agree with the ultimate decision that most of them made to understand the logic that motivated a decision for Trump.

But the politics of the coming year, once the Mueller investigation ceases to be a black box and delivers whatever it’s going to deliver (you’ll get no predictions from me!), might offer a very different choice. If Trump were impeached and removed from the White House, the presidency would devolve to precisely the kind of man whom much of pre-Trump religious conservatism insisted that it wanted in the Oval Office: an evangelical Christian family man with a bluenose’s temperament and a boring Reaganite checklist of beliefs.

Which means that if, in what is no longer an absurd hypothetical, the president were to face real legal-political jeopardy over the Stormy Daniels business, the evangelical leaders currently fretting about Trump’s political position would face a case where doing the consistent thing — namely, returning to their Bill Clinton-era position that character counts in presidents and using illegal means to conceal gross infidelities are impeachable offenses — would actually deliver something closer to what they claimed to want, not so very long ago: not a liberal in the White House, but President Mike Pence…

A Republican Party that ran in 2020 with a boring Midwestern guy (albeit, yes, one sure to be trailed by protesters in Handmaid outfits) as the steward of prosperity would not necessarily be worse off than a party lashed to its current leader; if Gerald Ford could almost win in Nixon’s shadow, why not Pence in Trump’s? And a religious conservatism that sacrificed a lot of cultural credibility in defending Trump might regain a little by abandoning him, vindicating itself against what seem now like reasonable charges of “character for thee but not for me” hypocrisy…

I know the Repub, er “Evangelical” plan was to use Mike Pence as a catspaw cutout if/when Donny Dollhands got carted off by law enforcement, but the stench around His Vermillion Vulgarity is so intense it might even set Pence beyond the Pale. Ever-sensitive political weathervane Charlie ‘Chickenshit’ Baker, Republican governor of deep-blue Massachusetts, just made a rather public point of *not* showing up to greet Pence last night. Per the local right-wing tabloid, the Boston Herald:

The Herald reported yesterday that Baker was snubbing the vice president, who was in Boston last night to meet with local Republicans at a fundraiser for Trump Victory, a joint venture of the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign. ­Baker told reporters yesterday that he “reached out” to Pence’s office to inform the vice president’s aides that he would not be attending and that they understood his reasons.

The fundraiser at the Langham Hotel, which was expected to raise about $500,000, was closed to the press.

When first asked Monday about Pence’s visit, Baker said he had not been aware of the event ahead of time and had already committed to an appearance in southeastern Massachusetts…

Baker’s actual wording, as reported before the event:

Baker told reporters that he’s missing the Pence event “because my calendar has other stuff on it” and insisted he wasn’t trying to send a message to the Trump administration…

Yes, as a matter of fact, Baker is running for re-election this fall (don’t look at me, Massholes have a weird affectation concerning ‘moderate’ Repub governors, mostly since the office isn’t much more powerful in Massachusetts than it is in Texas). But if even Chickenshit Charlie can’t show Mike Dense a little public love, I don’t think Ross and his fellow sweaty ‘religious’ fellows are gonna have much luck pushing their Republic of Gilead dreams.



Open Thread: What Kayla Moore “Knew”

It is not, so I’ve read, uncommon for men with socially-unsanctioned sexual urges, once they approach forty, to “settle down” with a wife… who may, or may not, be aware of her spouse’s proclivities. Of course the hormones are less urgent as one ages, but just as importantly, an older man has much more to lose if his undercover activities are exposed; his credentials, his career, his network of social contacts become more valuable than the young man’s fantasy of escaping to a fresh start and a new identity. Frequently such men — such couples — become dependent, even to a cult-like degree, upon a rigid religious or ethical text that will “protect” them from the vile temptations of our sinful world. Roy Moore seems to have been a “social Christian” before his marriage; his determination to drag the rest of us into his interpretation of “Bible-based law” came with his… maturity.

Did Kayla Kisor know about her prospective husband’s dubious habits, back in 1985? She was in the same class as the woman who Roy called out of trig class to ask on a date. And she was sufficiently aware of possible embarrassment that she claimed they met at Bible study — when in reality, Roy would say that he first noticed her when she was 17 and performing at a junior college dance recital.

But what she knows now, for certain sure, is that she’s put 32 years into a fruitful working relationship, and suddenly it’s all coming undone, because Godless liberals:

“He has never one time lifted a finger to me. He is the most gentle, most kind man that I have ever known in my life. He’s godly. He’s loving — and everybody in this community knows it,” Kayla Moore, 56, said, looking around at the people gathered that night. “These are our church members, these are our family, these are our friends, these are people that know him just like I do.”

Over the past week, as several women have come forward to publicly accuse Roy Moore, 70, of pursuing them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, Kayla Moore has become her husband’s most visible and aggressive defender. In addition to her defense on Monday night, she has used Facebook to question the credibility of her husband’s accusers, threaten lawsuits and spread information that sometimes turns out to be false…

Friends describe Kayla Moore as a deeply religious wife, mother and grandmother who has devoted her life to her family and gushes lovingly about her four children and five grandchildren. She served on the board of her husband’s Foundation for Moral Law, which he founded to promote Christian values, and then took over the nonprofit as president in January 2013, when Roy Moore was elected to a second term on the state Supreme Court.

For years, Moore has helped coordinate her husband’s political campaigns. In his race for the Senate this year, the two have traveled nearly everywhere together — with him often at the wheel as she navigates…

The FML also paid Kayla Moore a total of $195,000 over three years through 2015″, on top of Roy’s “salary of $180,000 a year for part-time work.” (And of course when she’s right by his side, it’s that much easier to be sure ol’ Roy doesn’t let his eyes or his hands wander.)
Read more



Open Thread: Suite “Home” Alabama

That “unsure” 11% seems important. CNN:

Democrat Doug Jones — once thought to be a longshot in the Deep South — has tied Republican nominee and former judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s US Senate race, a new poll shows…

Moore and Jones will face off in a special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat December 12.

The poll confirms Republicans’ fears that Moore — who campaigns on a theocratic, anti-LGBT message and has twice been ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice, once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument and once for refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage — would be a uniquely vulnerable candidate in a state President Donald Trump won last year by 28 percentage points…

Jones, a former prosecutor who convicted two former Klansmen in the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, has sought to portray Moore as someone who would embarrass Alabama on the national stage…

Moore has a history of under performing compared to national Republican leaders in Alabama. In the 2012 race for state Supreme Court chief justice, he won by just 2 points over little-known circuit court judge Bob Vance in a year Mitt Romney won the state by 22 points…

Roy Moore’s Senate run is turning into the roadshow version of Trump’s campaign, and that was a farcical imitation of a real campaign…


Read more



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Thoughts & Prayers?


.

The news stays this bad, people are gonna revive the old superstition about the health of a nation depending on the health of its king. Given the season, Trump’s handlers should probably be suspicious of any invitations for him to visit an oak grove, Bohemian or not…


***********

Apart from doing what we can to help those most in need, what’s on the agenda for the day?
.



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: The Repub “Base” Remains A Threat

Even to other Republicans / conservatives, because theirs is a clan of cannibals serving a zombie ideology:

In remarks at a Republican National Committee event at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington on Tuesday morning, Nick Ayers also warned that Republicans are “on track to get shellacked” in next year’s midterm elections if GOP lawmakers don’t pass Trump’s legislative priorities.

But Ayers reserved his harshest criticism for congressional leaders and members who have not offered full-throated support for the president….

One attendee later asked how the donors could “rally the congressional delegation that does support the president and vice president, and rally them and push them to change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House.”

“I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this,” Ayers responded. “But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, No. 1. And No. 2, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”

He continued, “Because, look, if we’re going to be in the minority again, we might as well have a minority who are with us as opposed to the minority who helped us become a minority.”

The crowd laughed and burst into applause.

The remarks are some of the most extensive to emerge from Ayers, who joined the White House over the summer after initially opting to remain on the outside. A longtime adviser to Pence and a top aide on the 2016 campaign, he’s widely respected in Republican circles as a sharp-elbowed and strategic operative…

And in the Washington Post, news of another would-be cannibal king “Roy Moore’s disruption of Washington has already begun, and more is on the way”:

Moore didn’t meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or stop by the White House to make nice with the forces­ that tried to defeat him. Instead, he huddled with Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist and one of Moore’s most outspoken advocates, and spent time in the office of a House Republican from Alabama.

The latest skirmish in the escalating war for the soul of the GOP was more than awkward: It was a window into what might be coming for Republicans next year, when hard-right conservatives emboldened by Moore’s runoff victory last week against Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) are likely to target still more establishment incumbents.

It also has immediate and potentially dire implications for the GOP’s slim working majority in the Senate. Although Moore still faces a general election on Dec. 12, he is widely seen as the front-runner in that race, given Alabama’s heavy conservative tilt.

The growing hostilities threaten the effort by Senate GOP leaders to foster enough unity in their ranks to pass a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax laws — which they are wagering is the only thing left that can reverse the political damage the party has sustained this year. Moore is seen as a wild card who could complicate, if not derail, that task.
Read more



Sunday Night Horrowshow Open Thread: As American As A Burning Cross

MSNBC finds a way to phrase the GOP problem… delicately:

There are five counties in the state of Alabama where more than 30 percent of the 25-and-over population has a college degree, according to the U.S. Census. Strange won three of those counties and did so fairly convincingly, by about 8 points, 54.1 percent – 45.9 percent.

But the rest of state went against the sitting senator and the margins for him got worse as the percentage of those with a college education dropped.

There are two counties where the college education rates were between 25 percent and 30 percent. Moore won those counties by about 6 points, 53.2 percent – 46.8 percent. The rest of the counties have fewer than 25 percent of the population with a degree. Moore won them by more than 18 points, 59.2 percent – 40.8 percent.

Those education numbers have a special significance when you look at the Republican Senate seats that are up in 2018. In eight of them, all but Utah, the college-educated population numbers are below 30 percent, which is roughly the national average.

The Alabama results suggest the Republican voters in those states may be ready for a more populist, anti-establishment candidate — one that would challenge the incumbent and pull him or her toward the more populist end of the GOP.

To be clear, these college education figures aren’t solely about education, they are about people living in different economic and cultural worlds…

In other words: “We’re not gonna spell it out, but there’s a genuine fear among the people who make a living off the GOP that it’s turning into the house brand for ignorant rubes who’ve never had to meet anyone they weren’t related to.”

(And, of course, they’re heavily armed.)
.



Late Night Open Thread: Ross Doubthat Longs for a Little Tidy White-Bread Sharia Law

“President Pence”, he murmurs to himself, and would slip a hand down his pants if he didn’t believe that sort of thing leads to blindness and hairy palms…


.

He’s not calling for an Inquisition, for pete’s sake! He just wants all the gore and dirty talk firmly removed from the public arena!

(Ref: God had His men leading the charge for righteousness.”)

If Erick Erickson is the HOA director of the GOP’s gated community, Ross Douthat is the pastor of the neighborhood’s “nondenominational” megachurch.

And if I thought they were capable of it, I’d say the suits doing the hiring at the NYTimes should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging him.