The Associated Press called it “an upset likely to rock the GOP establishment.”
Let’s hope so!
Alabama’s audacious GOP nomination Tuesday of uber-conservative Roy Moore to succeed Attorney General Jeff Sessions as U.S. senator certainly was a resounding rebuke of anything emitting a whiff of “establishment.” Voters even rejected Donald Trump’s choice of current interim Sen. Luther Strange – despite Alabama’s unbowed devotion to the president.
In many ways, Moore’s win was an act of defiance equaled only by Trump’s own victory. Voters bucked the experts, the establishment and conventional wisdom in voting for Moore – twice elected Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, and twice forced out for refusing to comply with court orders to remove a Ten Commandments monument and to allow gay marriage.
Too much is made of special election results, and it’s dicey to make too much of this one. Moore’s win is likely less a harbinger of things to come than a reflection of times that were. Alabama is a state that is clinging to old-fashioned religious values, no matter which direction blow the prevailing winds.
Still, even though Strange promised not to be an “establishment” Republican, he was supported by roundly scorned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Moore will never be establishment.
Neither can it help that the establishment is failing America utterly. They’ve run up $20 trillion in debt and counting; run our health-care system into the ground (and can’t seem to change course); and run business and industry out of the country with taxation and regulation.
Republicans only this week failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, which they pretended to do under Obama repeatedly, knowing full well he’d veto it. Now, given a Republican president aching to sign a repeal, they can’t muster the fortitude.
On to tax reform? Right. Does anyone have confidence they can do that competently?
Well, they’d better – if they want to remain in power beyond 2018.
Will their failure on health care, or Roy Moore’s in-your-face election, wake up establishment Republicans to the precarious position they’ve put themselves and the country?
Again, we hope so – but we won’t be holding our breath. Unlimited incumbency, without the expiration date that term limits would provide, has created a comfortable, condescending, detached and distant ruling class that is both imperious and impervious.
Whatever else was at work in Tuesday’s election, voters unquestioningly sent a message to Washington that they don’t want more of the same.
They want Moore.