Category: Politics

J. Pepper Bryars: Roy Moore would lose by 20-points if his Democratic opponent were pro-life (or at least not so pro-abortion)

[caption id="attachment_49761" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (MSNBC/YouTube)[/caption]     Doug Jones would likely swamp Roy Moore in next month’s special election if the Democrat didn’t hold such extreme pro-abortion views. Consider this: -- Nearly 60 percent of adults in Alabama believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. They found that only 37 percent felt the opposite. -- Alabama now has more than 3.3 million registered voters, according to our secretary of state’s office. Why this matters: Do the math. By adopting such an extreme view on abortion rights (the “legal in all or most cases” belief), Jones traded a potential block of 1.9-million pro-life votes for a measly 1.2-million pro-choice votes. Democrats are leaving 700,000 voters on the table – voters who are very pro-life. How pro-life? Here are just a couple of emails that I’ve received from Yellowhammer readers on the issue: -- “I will NEVER vote for anyone who supports abortion on demand,” wrote Garry Lovette of Muscle Shoals. -- “I can’t find myself voting for Doug Jones with his deplorable view on abortion,” added Dr. Andrew Hodges of Scottsboro. And here’s my two-cents just to make Yellowhammer’s editorial position crystal clear: I will never, even under pain of death, vote for someone who thinks abortion-on-demand should remain legal. Never. Sure, some extreme pro-choice voters would likely abandon any pro-life Democrat nominee, but the difference is wide enough – 700,000 voters – that such a candidate could easily gain much…

J. Pepper Bryars: For the love of God, governor, stop this election

[caption id="attachment_51167" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)[/caption]     Alabama’s democratic process is under attack by rogue elements within the Republican political establishment who, I suspect, planted the story with the Washington Post to influence how our state’s voters decided this special election. Their shortsighted tactical objective: to disrupt the candidacy of Roy Moore, a politician whose substance and style they detest. On this front, they’re winning. Recent polls show a clear move away from the judge. Their foolhardy strategic result: electoral sabotage. Alabama is about to elect a liberal Democrat to the U.S. Senate, placing important reforms and control of the U.S. Supreme Court in peril. On this front, their success depends upon the actions of the only individual who could stop them: Governor Kay Ivey. Sadly, it doesn’t appear she’ll do anything ... at least for now. “I’m going to cast my ballot on December the 12th, and I do believe the nominee of the party is the one I’ll vote for,” Ivey said earlier this week. “So that’s what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore.” Our governor added that she has “no reason to disbelieve” the accusers, who include one woman who says the judge sexually molested her when she was 14 years old. (A child. Dammit, people. She was a child. Quit making reprehensible excuses for this.) Our governor saying she has no reason to disbelieve the women is tantamount to saying she doesn’t believe Moore. It’s either one or the other.…

J. Pepper Bryars: Time to hand out progress reports grading how Alabama’s institutions are handling the Roy Moore issue (Part 2 of 2)

    Since it’s been nearly two weeks since Alabama’s special Senate election was rocked by allegations that Roy Moore sexually abused a 14-year old girl, I issued a set of progress reports yesterday on how some of Alabama’s most influential institutions were handling the crisis. Interim grades were given to Moore’s campaign (C+), his surrogates (D) and the Republican establishments in Washington (F) and in Alabama (I). Here is today’s slate: Who: Washington Post What: D Why: They’re not telling us everything they know. -- Many suspect that the original source who linked the accusers to the Washington Post was a political operative, either from the Republican or Democratic establishments. -- That doesn’t change the legitimacy of the allegations – either they’re true or false, regardless of how the reporter came upon them – but who passed along the story does speak to motivations. (Personally, I think this originated as a hit job on our election more than an attack against Moore.) -- If this is the case, and it becomes known, it would be clear journalistic malpractice. Who: Local Talk Radio What: B+ Why: They know the candidate and the voters, and their coverage has been largely excellent. -- Unlike their national counterparts, many of the Alabama’s talk radio hosts have dealt with Moore before and know the issue very well. -- Their fingers are on the pulse of conservatives in Alabama, and they’re doing a relatively decent job considering the candidate won’t speak with them, our leaders…

J. Pepper Bryars: Time to hand out progress reports grading Alabama’s institutions on the Roy Moore issue (Part 1 of 2)

    It’s been 11 days since Alabama’s special Senate election was rocked by allegations that Roy Moore sexually abused a 14-year old girl when he was in his early 30s. Wagons were circled, denials were issued, and other accusers have come forward since then. So how well are some of Alabama’s most influential institutions handling this controversy? Final grades cannot be issued because this disaster is far from over, but since we’re one-third of the way between when the allegations first surfaced and the December 12th election, let’s hand out some progress reports. Who: Moore’s campaign. What: C+ Why: They’re doing pretty well considering the circumstances. -- There’s a strong argument that the campaign should receive an F because of the way it’s mishandling the candidate and his surrogates. -- But we should remember what they’re up against: The candidate isn’t known for delivering well-polished speeches or handling the media very well. -- Moore makes it worse with every interview (his interview with Sean Hannity is when he lost my support because he couldn’t categorically deny dating high school girls when he was in his 30s. Surely a man would remember such a thing). -- And the people who are speaking on his behalf, known in political circles as surrogates, are complete disasters. Who: Moore’s surrogates. What: D (with an “Unsatisfactory” note for behavior). Why: For making awful moral equivalencies. -- Our state auditor defended the allegations by invoking the Holy Family, saying that Joseph was much older than…

J. Pepper Bryars: Some of Roy Moore’s supporters should act like real men and leave these ladies alone

[caption id="attachment_50823" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Beverly Young Nelson (YouTube)[/caption]   Whore. Liar. White trash. Those are only some of the kinder names that men – well, men in the loosest of meanings – have been calling Roy Moore’s accusers online. I cannot print most of the harassing language they’re using to describe these eight middle-aged ladies from Alabama. It’s contemptible, and guys, this ugliness must stop. Show your sons and daughters how real men speak about ladies, even those they find offensive. Sure, accusers should always be appropriately scrutinized just as their accusations should always be taken seriously. But there’s a difference between weighing the facts and hurling obscenities at a 53-year old woman. At best, these small-town ladies are telling the truth. At worst, they’re simple people being exploited by powerful political interests. Either way, they deserve compassion or at least the courtesy of not having to endure such name-calling from grown men. Instead, we have guys rationalizing the behavior of a grown man molesting a child (yes, 14 is still a child, so is 16 ... must we actually debate this?), blaming the accusers because they made poor choices later in life (who hasn’t?), and calling grown women – mothers, grandmothers even – awful, despicable names (would you allow someone to say these things about your grandmother?). Tell me, what’s manly about this behavior? “This is exactly why women wait 40 years,” said Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News host who was sexually harassed by the guy who ran…

J. Pepper Bryars: 10 questions the Washington Post should answer about its Roy Moore story

The editors and reporters at the Washington Post are normally the ones who ask the questions. But the people of Alabama have a few questions themselves, and after the Washington Post dynamited our Senate election last week it owes us some answers. Their article reported its revelations were unearthed while their journalists were in Etowah County covering another story focusing on Moore’s supporters. Two of those reporters heard, from someone, that the judge had dated teenagers when he was in his early 30s. So they did what good reporters do: They found and interviewed the accusers, verified the facts best they could, and then published a story. Fair enough. But this is a serious allegation that may have derailed an important election in Alabama, and our voters are owed more than the few hundred words or so about their investigation that the Washington Post chose to disclose. Among the many questions the newspaper should answer, are these: Who told the Washington Post’s reporters about these rumors, and when? What is their connection to the story, the accusers, or to the judge? What steps were taken to determine their connection to the story and their motivation for passing it to the Washington Post? Why didn’t the Washington Post initially disclose the name of the person who alerted them to the story? Who introduced the Washington Post reporters to those who made the allegations, and how and when were they introduced? Did the Washington Post learn about any other similar allegations made…

Where is the Roy Moore issue going? 4 things Alabamians should watch for

[caption id="attachment_49917" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (FOXNews/YouTube)[/caption]   Many Alabamians have already judged the judge or condemned the media, and their position seems guided by how people have felt about Roy Moore since we first learned about the “Ten Commandments Judge” more than 20-years ago. You loved him ... or you hated him. So now you either believe him ... or not. The degree of that love or hate, however, may be tempered by the hatred that conservatives share for the liberal media, namely the Washington Post, and/or the fear of what electing a Democrat to the Senate could mean for the Supreme Court. Right now, insiders believe that nothing is going to change. Moore will remain on the ballot and nobody will do anything about it (even if they could). If that changes, here are some leading indicators Alabamians should watch for: More Moore accusers: The article painted the judge as someone who spent years trolling through malls picking up teenaged girls. If this was indeed the case, surely Moore would have hit-on, picked-up or dated more than the four women mentioned in the article. The dam could break and more women could share their stories, as we’ve seen in similar cases. Trial balloons floating across the Alabama sky: Lots of ideas are being circulated by insiders, from hopeless write-in candidacies to potential legal challenges. The public’s reception of those ideas will either embolden their authors or send them back to the drawing board. Elected Republicans in Alabama criticizing Moore: Most…

Hell or High Water: Roy Moore won’t withdraw so Republicans across Alabama are seeking options

[caption id="attachment_49871" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (ABC News/YouTube)[/caption]   If we know one thing about Judge Roy Moore it’s this: he’s not going to willingly step aside and allow the political establishment to place someone else’s name on the ballot. https://twitter.com/MooreSenate/status/928771064406167552   If he goes, it’ll be the same way Moore was removed from the bench – by force of law. That’s why Republican insiders across Alabama were up late into the night Thursday trading emails, texts and telephone calls asking each other the same question: How can the party legally replace Roy Moore on the ballot? Here are some of the options, however remote, that we learned about overnight: -- It’s too late: A spokesman for the Alabama secretary of state said “it was too late” to replace any name appearing on the December 12 ballot. Here’s the law: “Any amendment filed after the 76th day before a primary or a general election shall be accepted by the judge of probate or the Secretary of State but shall not be cause for reprinting of the ballots,” according to the statute. “The name of a candidate who is the subject of the amendment and who is disqualified by a political party or who has withdrawn as a candidate shall remain on the ballot, not be replaced by the name of another candidate, and the appropriate canvassing board shall not certify any votes for the candidate.” -- It’s not too late: Some say that the state Republican executive committee has the power to…

Alabama’s Democrat nominee for the U.S. Senate would be a certain “No” vote for pro-life Supreme Court justices

[caption id="attachment_49761" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (MSNBC/YouTube)[/caption]   Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate next month is about one thing: the Supreme Court. Regardless of either candidate’s campaign promises, the arcane rules of senate seniority mean that the winner will be a powerless backbencher for at least the next couple of years, maybe more, unable to change much and capable of very little. The one vote that matters: The senate is nearly split down the middle, so whoever wins – Democrat Doug Jones or Republican Roy Moore – will likely cast one of the two or three deciding votes on who’ll replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg or crucial swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy. We know how Moore will vote. He’s 100-percent prolife. But what about Jones? The Democrat Party’s nominee recently said he’s “not in favor of anything that is going to infringe on a woman’s right and her freedom to choose” to abort her unborn child, even when the baby can feel pain after 20-weeks, even when the baby could survive outside of the womb weeks later. https://youtu.be/6N319bNkuWo?t=5m46s That shocking statement leaves very little room for interpretation or divination: He is “not in favor of anything” that would slow or stop abortion in this country, and that would include reversing Roe v. Wade. Jones would be a certain “no” vote against a pro-life nominee to the high court, and would likely cast even more “no” votes on the dozens of lower court pro-life nominees that could come before the chamber during…

Three Lessons Republicans Must Learn From That Messy Alabama Primary

Some say Judge Roy Moore’s victory over Senator Luther Strange last Tuesday was a loss for the president: “Alabama defeat leaves Trump weakened, isolated amid mounting challenges,” read a headline in the Washington Post. Others say it was a defeat for the Senate majority leader: “Judge Roy Moore wins Alabama Senate primary, dealing a huge blow to Mitch McConnell,” declared the liberal news site Vox. And a few even say it was all about the chairman of Breitbart News: “Steve Bannon just defeated Trump,” wrote liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. But this wasn’t about Trump or McConnell or Bannon, and it wasn’t even really about Moore or Strange. It was about Alabama. More precisely, it was about how Republicans in Alabama choose candidates to stand against Democrats in the general election, and then against liberalism once in office. But if we allow a proxy war between Trump and McConnell and Bannon and whoever else to distract us, then we’ll fail to learn some valuable lessons that tumbled out of this messy but instructive race. It’d be foolish to repeat these mistakes in another Republican primary, but it could be catastrophic to do so during a general election. So let’s remind ourselves of three big ones: Lesson 1: Never disrespect the voters. Like many Republicans in Alabama, I had a somewhat open mind at the beginning of the primary. And there was plenty to like. If you like former Senator Jeff Sessions, then you’d probably love Congressman Mo Brooks. He’d carry…