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Thursday, November 09, 2017

Haven't had enough scandal yet? Here's Moore

In the preceding post, I said that Roy Moore was definitely going to win the Alabama race. Perhaps I spoke too soon. The WP says that in 1979, when Moore was an Assistant DA, he made advances on a 14 year-old girl named Leigh Corfman, whom he met when she was waiting outside a courtroom.
Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.
Realistically speaking, the Post is not going to concoct a story like this out of thin air, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a rube. There are libel laws. If the WP knowingly published a phony story in order to harm Moore's electoral chances, the result would be a massive lawsuit -- one which could destroy the Post.

On the other hand, I can easily visualize a situation in which Republican ratfuckers try to con a WP writer (or in this case, three Post writers) into accepting a false tale.

That doesn't seem to be what's happening in this instance, because the writers have named their source. It isn't difficult to find online evidence that a 53 year-old woman named Leigh Corfman once lived in Gadsden, Alabama, just as the story states. (I imagine that she's receiving a great deal of harassment right now; her bravery is admirable.)

Moore has responded to the charges by denying them and sending out a fundraising flier. Surprised? I'm not. And I won't be surprised if he ekes out a win. Earlier today, I read that Trump supporters sincerely believe that Trump attracted an inaugural crowd larger than Obama's -- and that they maintain this belief even when looking at the photos.

Naturally, the Breitbarters are implying (but not explictly stating) that the WP -- which they insist on calling "Bezo's Washington Post" -- is peddling fake news. Speaking with MSNBC's Ali Velshi, Breitbart’s Joel Pollak offered a defense that would he hilarious if the situation weren't so repellent...
POLLAK: Well, you said yourself at the start of the segment he's being accused of relationships with teenagers. To me that's not accurate. In fact, it's following in a narrative that the Post tried to set up--

VELSHI: But, it is. It is teenagers. It's a 14-year old, a 16-year old, and I think two 18-year olds. They're teenagers.

POLLAK: The 16-year old and the 18-year old have no business in that story, because those are women of legal age of consent at the time.


My point is that the Post has successfully put a narrative out, at least on MSNBC and in other places, that there's this pattern of teenagers. There's really, as far as know, the facts could come out differently but as far as we know, there's only one relationship that's been alleged that's problematic.
Only one? Moore presents himself as the Ultimate Christian Warrior. That's his image. That's his shtick. He feels perfectly free to pass judgment on the way other men and women choose to have sex. Now as it happens, I am far less judgmental than Moore about sexual matters: Whatever two adults do in privacy is none of my business, even if they choose to do something freaky and extreme. And yet, libertine and scoundrel that I am, even I feel squicked out by the idea of a 32 year-old "Christian" man trying to have sex (outside of marriage) with a 16 year-old girl.

Is such a match-up legal in Alabama? Apparently so. But it's still fair to use Moore's history with those young women as a basis for judging whether or not he should sit in the United States Senate.

At any rate, Leigh was 14 at the time. Pollak can dance and dance, but he cannot dance that fact away.

Let me repeat: Moore has called the WP's story false. If it is, in fact, true, then Moore is guilty of bearing false witness -- an amusing irony, since it involves a man who wants the Ten Commandments displayed in public.

Even though Moore denies the story, his defenders seem to accept its basic truthfulness. They just don't think that it amounts to a disqualifying charge. If no actual intercourse occurred (they argue), then Corfman has no basis for complaint. Of course, Republicans sneered when Bill Clinton said that fellatio was not sex.

Never let it be said that Republicans don't have standards. They love standards so much that they keep their supply doubled.

If Moore loses the race, will his loss count as a mark against Trumpism? No. Trump did not endorse Moore in the primary. We cannot draw any larger conclusions from the results of this race.

Toronto Star writer Daniel Dale has offered a truly unnerving series of tweets:
Alabama Covington County GOP Chairman William Blocker tells me Democrats convinced these women to tell a fake story to damage Moore. I told him the 14-year-old became a Trump voter. "That's the typical background or profile of somebody they would be using for that," he said. "If they said she was a Hillary supporter, then she'd be more dismissed by the local voters here in the state of Alabama. You'd have to paint her as a Trump supporter to be of any credibility," Covington County GOP Chairman William Blocker says.
Many of our fellow Americans live in a world in which all Dems are considered so evil, so scheming, so demonic, so inherently conspiratorial, that nothing they say should ever be considered credible. That's the level of brainwashing in places like Alabama.

What's more, many Alabamans think that Moore should be elected even if he did grope a 14 year-old.
"Yeah!" Covington County GOP Chairman William Blocker tells me he'd consider voting Moore even if hard proof of sexual abuse emerged. "There is NO option to support to support Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee. When you do that, you are supporting the entire Democrat party."
Tally from my calls to Alabama GOP county chairs: 4 vehemently pro-Moore, 3 no comment/"haven't read the story yet," 15 I couldn't reach, 0 criticism of Moore.
One of Dale's readers has tweeted: "My eyes are bleeding from reading this thread." That reader's eyes will probably gush like the elevators in The Shining when Moore wins. I'm betting he will.

Why am I betting that way? Look at what Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler has to say:
Asked whether or not the report would upend Moore’s campaign, Ziegler predicted that Alabama voters would be angrier at the Washington Post for “desperately trying to get something negative” than Moore for his dalliances with teenage girls decades ago.

“He’s clean as a hound’s tooth,” Ziegler claimed, before relying on Scripture to defend Moore.

“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Ziegler said choosing his words carefully before invoking Christ. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here,” Ziegler concluded. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”
So. You think St. Joseph got to second base on the way to Bethlehem? You think he guided the Blessed Virgin's hand toward his crotch? If he had, his actions wouldn't have been "immoral," according to Ziegler.

And people wonder why I'm so cynical.
My bet is with yours.
Anyone who doesn't think Moore is still a strong favorite probably also thinks Dems would sweep every election if they only offered "true" progressives. I was with you yesterday in that Jones had no shot (but I still thought Dems should compete because a close race in Alabama would strike fear into Republicans and energize Dems). But now? He's got an outside chance. This is a perfect storm for a Democrat to win in Alabama which is more insane than Trump winning the WH. And I know I'm getting too far ahead, but if Dems win this race they can probably take the Senate in 2018.
I am a bit leery of Corfman's allegations. But the real interesting part of the WP article is that Moore claims that after he lost the election for circuit judge, he went to Texas to study kickboxing and then spent a year in an Australian cattle ranch. Does that make sense to anybody? A lawyer loses an election and then decides to study kickboxing and cattle ranching? From Alabama to Texas and Australia? Something is just really strange here.
joseph, I am of course willing to hear out Moore's side of the story. But his defenders seem to be stipulating that the WP article is basically true, which is hard to square with Moore's flat denial.

Now that you mention it, it seems odd that anyone would feel a need to move OUT of Texas to learn cattle ranching.
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