That didn’t take long.
It was clear the GOP establishment would view the candidacy of Judge Roy Moore for Senate in Alabama’s special election – and the integrity he brings with him – as a consummate threat to their duplicitous operation. It only took them one day from Moore’s announcement to declare war on anyone who works for him.
On Thursday, Politico’s Daniel Strauss reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is treating Luther Strange, the temporary replacement for now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appointed by the now disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley, as an incumbent. As such, it will blackball any vendors who do consulting work for his challengers in the upcoming special primary slated for August.
From Strauss and Politico Pro: “In recent days, the GOP Senate committee has warned at least two firms, Jamestown Associates and Strategic Perception Inc., against taking on clients who are running or considering running against Strange, according to half a dozen Republican operatives and officials in Washington and Alabama.”
The NRSC made it its official policy during the 2014 primaries to cut off all business with any vendor who works for any candidate challenging an incumbent Republican senator in the primary. The problem here is that Luther Strange is not an elected incumbent and has no right to be treated as such. Why should the fact that he was appointed to fill a vacancy by a (soon-to-be-impeached) governor be used to his advantage?
If anything, this episode reveals how Strange is the embodiment of the problem and hooked into the political swamp.
Put it this way: Had the former governor appointed Roy Moore to temporarily fill the vacancy until the special election, do you think for one minute the party establishment and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would have treated the judge as an incumbent?
Obviously, we know that, at this point, Moore would have raised hell in the Senate over the betrayals taking place on a daily basis. Luther Strange, on the other hand, has been in the witness protection program as major health care, immigration, and budget battles unfold. He is merely a quiet yes-man for McConnell and K Street.
In many ways, the appointment of Strange by a disgraced governor, and the broader problems with Republicans even in red states, demonstrate everything that is wrong with this party. They don’t share our values, not just in terms of policy views, but also in terms of integrity, character, and family values. Judge Roy Moore, in that respect, is the panacea to everything that ails Alabama and national Republicans. Talk about bold colors, not pale pastels.
The governor, Robert Bentley, was forced to resign under threat of impeachment for using state funds in a sex scandal. The state speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, was sentenced to jail for corruption. While the Alabama state House impeachment committee was knee deep in investigating Bentley, Luther Strange asked them to suspend the investigation. He was appointed to fill the Senate vacancy under circumstances that reek beyond belief; Bentley broke with precedent and delayed the special election in order to give Strange more incumbency.
Sadly, Republican corruption in red states is every bit as rancid as Democrat corruption in blue state monopolies. Roy Moore doesn’t just bring authentic conservatism with his candidacy, but a much-needed dose of integrity.
Shortly after being appointed to the Senate, national Republican leaders pressured acting Governor Kay Ivey to break with precedent and not hold a special election this year to fill the seat. They clearly wanted to give the damaged Luther Strange as much incumbency momentum as possible. To her credit, Ivey rebuffed their request and scheduled the primary for Aug. 15, noting that the people have the right to decide.
Now it’s time for We the People to take back the party and actually drain the swamp in deed, not just in campaign rhetoric. If conservative patriots truly recognize the severity of our constitutional and political crisis, they will soon recognize that Alabama’s Senate race is the Elijah-on-Mount-Carmel moment.
Editor’s note: The author has endorsed Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.