Commentary: Senate love for sale

By John Krull 

INDIANAPOLIS – The Republican National Committee’s decision once again to start funding Alabama U.S. Senate candidate and accused child molester Roy Moore calls to mind an old story attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

John Krull, publisher,

The Irish playwright found himself locked in a dinner-table discussion with a woman who asserted there were certain standards decent – read that, upper-class – people never would abandon.

Shaw disagreed.

After some byplay, to prove his point, he asked if she would go to bed with him for a million pounds.

“I suppose,” the woman said.

Shaw then asked her if she would sleep with him for a pound.

“Of course not,” the woman sputtered. “What do you take me for? A common prostitute?”

“Madam,” Shaw replied, “we already have established what you are. Now we are merely haggling over price.”

When the news first broke that Moore had been accused of harassing or assaulting teenage girls when he was a district attorney in his 30s, Republicans in Congress at first vacillated. They said that, if the stories were true – the qualifier was important at the time – Moore should drop out of the race.

Then, when one of the women relayed that, when she was not yet 18, Moore took her parking and tried to shove her face into his crotch and other witnesses confirmed Moore had been banned from an Alabama mall for trolling teens, the sleeping consciences of the GOP stalwarts briefly awakened.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, roused himself to say that Moore should drop out, period, because a man of his character had no place in the Senate. Others vowed to expel Moore if he were elected.

Enough time has passed, though, for the GOP leadership’s moral compasses to slip back to slumber.

McConnell now says the decision of whether an accused child molester should serve in the Senate should reside with the people of Alabama.

This raises a question: How many other criminal acts is McConnell willing to tolerate, even endorse, if it buys his party one more vote?

The RNC followed suit.

Less than three weeks earlier, temporarily disgusted by the idea of supporting a candidate who likely preyed on children, the RNC pulled funding from Moore’s campaign.

Now, though, the RNC has had time to get comfortable with the idea of child molestation and has pledged to pump $1 million in Moore’s campaign in the week before Alabama voters go to the polls.

The reason Republicans assert for their growing acceptance of having someone as gamey as Moore in their ranks is that he would be a reliable vote for rewriting the tax code so that wealth in this nation flows ever upward.

They argued that the fact that Democrats voted against the GOP’s hasty and half-baked tax reform package – which cuts taxes on the wealthiest Americans while raising them for anyone making less than $75,000 per year, likely will jack up health insurance premiums for the poor, the sick and the old and add $1 trillion to the deficit – “proved” they need Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate.

Yup, they didn’t even make a pretense of it.

They outright said they were willing to sell their virtue for cash.

Republicans also argued, as they always do, that Moore will help them stand up for the party’s core principles.

The GOP, the party’s leaders said, stands for family values.

Traditional values.

They said this with a straight face.

All Republicans who line up with Roy Moore can save their breath trying to convince the rest of us that they’re committed to old-fashioned virtues.

If they’re willing to accept a man such as Moore as one of them merely so they can pass tax bills, they’ve already established what they are.

Anything more is mere haggling over price.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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