The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Less is Moore

Rich Galen

Thursday November 16, 2017

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  • The Roy Moore story - however much or little of it might be true - is like one of those videos of an explosion where the studio host warns you that it is graphic footage that might make some viewers uncomfortable.

  • I'm not going to recount all of the charges and denials - if you're reading MULLINGS, you're probably up-to-date, but I do want to discuss certain aspects of the whole thing.

  • First there was that robo-call earlier in the week that was so badly done my first inclination was that it was a hoax. The call was allegedly from a reporter from the Washington Post named "Bernie Bernstein" who was asking if anyone at that household had any dirt on Roy Moore.

  • The caller could have been named "Chris Christianson" but he wasn't. You don't have to be a professor of sociology to understand what "Bernie Bernstein" represents in Alabama.

  • Second, they tried to have ole' Bernie speak with a New York accent. I may have mentioned a few million times that I'm from New York and I know when someone NOT from New York is trying to imitate someone who is.

  • It is not impossible that someone from Montgomery, or Birmingham Alabama did not realize that the Washington Post is not a New York newspaper. That's why it's called the Washington Post. The New York Post is quite a different publication.

  • Second, we in Our Nation's Capital, are studying poll after poll after poll.

  • We know this: Special elections are notoriously hard to poll because the turnout tends to be so much smaller than regularly scheduled elections. The fulcrum is way over to one side, so a tiny change on the short side make a huge difference on the long side.

  • In this election, Republicans who believe the charges against Moore are more likely to sit the election out then they are to vote for the Democrat, Doug Jones.

  • In my calculations, a vote for me gets two points. A vote for my opponent earns him or her two points. But, someone who was going to vote for you and stays home is like one point for me.

  • That's what Moore is facing.

  • A poll released earlier this week from the National Republican Senatorial Committee - the political arm of the U.S. Senate GOP - showed Jones leading Moore by 12 percentage points.

  • Is that accurate? Who knows. But if we learned anything from the elections of 2016 it is don't bet the house on pre-election, statewide polling.

  • Speaking of Republican entities in Washington, DC (home of the Washington Post), the GOP leadership on both sides of the Capitol have come out against Moore. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said "I believe the women" and that Moore "should step aside."

  • Article I, Section 5, clause 1 says:
    "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members."

  • Although it doesn't happen very often, the House or the Senate can expel a Member, even after having been duly elected and certified, as stated in the next clause:
    "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member."

  • Even if Roy Moore wins his election on December 12, he would be wise to wait a month or two before buying a home in the Capital area.

  • One of the popular choices for how to fix this would have Attorney General Jeff Sessions resign from the Cabinet and run as a write-in candidate for oh, the seat he vacated when he became Attorney General.

  • This would serve Donald Trump's purposes, the theory goes, because a replacement AG would not have recused himself from anything have to do with the Russia investigation and would be free to fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

  • As a colleague of mine said when I presented this: "Why would Sessions want to go back to Triple-A?"

  • While the White House has been largely silent on the Roy Moore issue - to be fair, the President has been overseas for nearly two weeks - the fact that the Republican National Committee, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the White House, withdrew funding and recalled its field staff from Alabama is a pretty strong indicator of what the Administration thinks about all this.

  • If Washington is a swamp, the Roy Moore affair is not making it any less muddy.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Subscription Drive page for those who might have missed the opportunity, plus links to the Bernie Bernstein robo-call, the NRSC poll, and to a Supreme Court case dealing with expulsion of Members.

    The Mullfoto is of my cat. Because I can.

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