By John Krull
INDIANAPOLIS – The trolls grew silent.
When I first wrote about Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidate – and accused child molester – Roy Moore’s assaults on both women and decency, I heard from a lot of self-proclaimed conservatives asking “what-abouts.”
John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.com
What about Bill Clinton?
What about former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York?
Finally, what about U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota?
So, to make things clear, I wrote another column with a simple message.
Punish them all. Any man – Republican, Democrat or unaffiliated — who has a record of assaulting women or children has no place in public office.
That’s when the trolls went quiet.
It turns out protecting women and children from sexual predators isn’t their top priority.
Tax cuts for the rich are.
President Trump made that clear.
The president himself has been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women. Perhaps that’s why Trump remained silent for days regarding the well-documented allegations Moore harassed and assaulted teenage girls, at least one as young as 14, when he was a man in his 30s. At the same time, the president castigated Franken for far less significant sexual offenses.
But then Trump couldn’t contain himself any longer.
He said Moore denied the charges, which apparently was good enough for this president. And he said it wasn’t going to help to have another liberal Democrat in the Senate.
This was a reference to Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent. Jones is a Democrat, but he is an Alabama Democrat. Alabama Democrats occupy a spot on the ideological spectrum just to the right of Genghis Khan.
That doesn’t matter to Trump, who is having trouble getting even Republicans to vote with him. He needs a victory on the tax package now before Congress to have something – anything – to show for his first year in office.
Clumsy as Trump’s argument was, it was less offensive than one advanced by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican.
Ivey, who inherited her office when her predecessor resigned as the result of a scandal, said she believes the women accusing Moore.
But she’s going to vote for him anyway.
Because, she said, Alabama’s voters really, really need the tax cuts in the Republicans’ plan.
Let that sink in.
The Alabama governor – only the second woman to occupy that office in the state’s history – said a tax cut for the wealthy is more important than making sure women and girls aren’t treated like party favors at a frat house blowout.
But Ivey isn’t just sticking it to Alabama’s mothers, daughters and sisters. She’s putting the hurt on most other Alabama residents, too.
Every non-partisan analysis of the Trump-Republican tax cut plan shows it increases taxes for anyone making less than $75,000 per year – or roughly 165 percent of either the median or the average household incomes for the people of Alabama. Those who benefit the most under the plan have seven, eight, nine and even 10-figure annual incomes.
That means between 75 and 80 percent of the folks in Alabama will see their taxes go up so millionaires and billionaires can live in even grander style.
As a bonus, Alabamians will be able to boast they sent an accused child molester to the nation’s capital.
Perhaps all this shouldn’t be surprising.
Earlier in her political career, Ivey presided over the disintegration of Alabama’s Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program – PACT – which hammered thousands of Alabama families, most of them middle-class or below, who had put money into the fund.
And Trump is Trump.
Whenever his personal financial ventures come into conflict with either the nation’s interests or even those of his lower middle-class political base, it isn’t Trump’s interests that have to give way.
Understanding this clarifies what the fight is about.
For the GOP, it isn’t about protecting children or women.
It isn’t about traditional values.
It’s about cash.
It’s about making sure that, to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, the rich get richer and the poor get children.
Children whom, in Roy Moore’s America, we can’t even protect.
John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.