By Dr. Boyd Cathey
Yesterday in Alabama the Republican Party lit the fuse that will blow it up and possibly destroy it. That auto-destruction has been in the making for some time; one could even argue that ever since the presidency of Ronald Reagan there’s been a just-below-the-surface death wish within the GOP. But the extremely narrow defeat of US Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, the reddest of “red” states, by a leftwing, pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage Democrat, Doug Moore, revealed that festering chasm, that unhealable division, that raging civil war, as never before.
Of course, there will be those who argue—and rightly, with some facts and reason—that the Moore candidacy and the issues swirling around him personally contributed mightily to the defeat. The all-of-a-sudden appearance of over a half-dozen women, claiming some form of sexual harassment, despite it having taken place—supposedly—forty years ago, took its toll in support for the judge. And the massive injection of hundreds of thousands of Hollywood pro-Jones dollars, and a frenetic get-out-the-black vote campaign, certainly helped do him in.
But, in the end, it boiled down to a vigorous and constant bombardment by fellow Republicans and by the elites. And it revealed the bitter and viciously unrelenting struggle between the “Establishment party”, the party of Washington DC and of Congress, of the big time lobbyists and major donors—and those millions of grass roots voters who for the past thirty years have more or less blindly followed them, and, at each election, have entered the voting booth to pull the GOP lever. In Alabama those elites, through a variety of factors, were able one more time to avoid electoral disaster.
“You have no other place to go—you have no other choice,” the refrain has always been. “It’s us, or those damnable socialists in the Democratic Party!” And, so, millions in the grass roots have, docilely and continually, obeyed. And on rare occasions, a decent Republican has found his way into Congress, but their numbers were far and few between. Mostly, even the better candidates who arrived along the Potomac found themselves surrounded by the glittering temptations of money and power, or, if they resisted, veritable exile and being shunted off to some obscure role or responsibility. Who, indeed, could resist such enticements? After all, Senator Jesse Helms died nearly ten years ago…and there are few who could come close to his stamina and principles, or, for that matter, his ability to “play Washington and not be played by it.”
The so-called lessons about yesterday were already prepared and written weeks ago by the GOP establishment types. Here is their script: (1) Moore’s loss would be blamed on himself because he was a flawed candidate (with totally unsubstantiated charges against him taking a toll), and (2) if those lowly “rednecky” voters in Alabama had only supported the more “moderate”—and establishment—candidate, Luther Strange, all of this could have been avoided.
The national GOP, thirty Republican US senators, and a goodly portion of the so-called “conservative” media never let us forget that. From the pompously officious neoconservatives Marc Thiessen and Steve Hayes and other neoconservatives on Fox, to “conservative movement” journals like The Weekly Standard and National Review, the prepared refrain was the same: “If you had listened to us, if you had avoided the attempt to leave the ‘reservation,’ things would have worked out.”
“Mind your manners, you yokels, and let us make the decisions and run the country!”
Those Republicans—from the voluble US senators and House members to the various consultants and pundits, and those “conservative movement” honchos—all those creatures of the Establishment “swamp,” feared a Moore victory and preferred, in effect, a Doug Jones triumph to having their power and authority challenged and compromised. True, they have had to deal with that great usurper, Donald J. Trump, and they are still grappling with how to approach him, at times begrudgingly going along, at times acting like the offended school marm, condescendingly telling him what to do and how to do it, warning him about his tweets, telling him to be “more presidential.” And attempting to sabotage his agenda if it did not suit them or if he did not listen to them. This latter strategy is the preferred one employed by Congress, where the president’s agenda is as popular as the measles.
They have their minions even scattered strategically within the administration, including possibly that most brain-dead of brain-dead has-been-but-wannabe power players, Nikki Haley.
Their refusal to support Moore, their withholding of support (including financial), their encouragement of efforts to undermine his campaign at every turn—the constant drum beat, the constant harping on “believe the women,” while certainly not the only factors, were still major ingredients in Tuesday’s loss.
But even worse were their public expressions of disdain and seething hatred, their upfront condemnations based on unverified, obviously political and trumped-up accusations, their consistently negative approach…they had to protect their rabbit hole on the Deep State preserve. It was that simple…and Roy Moore threatened that.
But what they have done, in effect, is not just manage to defeat Judge Roy Moore; after all, he is just one man, one controversial political figure in one Southern state. They have illustrated once again that, to quote John Milton’s Paradise Lost, they would “rather reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven.” And so that increasingly public war—for that is what it is—between the “Deplorables” and those I would call the “Despicables”—now will rage even hotter and become even more severe.
Steve Bannon’s efforts are only a foretaste and a harbinger for what is to come.
~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.