The depths to which the Republican Party has fallen was summed up on the Fox News Channel earlier this week.
“If Al Franken is in the Senate, if John Conyers and others are staying, then why not have Roy Moore?” former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee said on the network.
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Huckabee’s moral cowardice became starker when Democratic Congressman John Conyers announced his retirement later that day and Democratic Sen. Franken announced his resignation on Thursday. It took a while, but Democrats finally put enough pressure on Franken and Conyers to make it clear the party is taking seriously this national moment to strike a blow against sexual assault, harassment and gender discrimination.
For a party that protected and supported Bill Clinton far longer than it should have – given the credible accusations that became public during the former president’s second term in office – it is a welcome turnaround. That makes the drift by the GOP away from standards of basic decency and principles that much more disturbing.
“Never in my lifetime have we had a @POTUS willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith like @realDonaldTrump,” the Rev. Franklin Graham tweeted recently about a man who bragged about casually sexually assaulting women, was accused of assault by multiple women, and for years was proud of his image as an undisciplined man who routinely used women when he wasn’t married, and when he was.
After female Democratic senators began a coordinated public effort this week to force Franken’s resignation, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Franken could no longer “effectively serve the people of Minnesota.” Just a few days earlier, McConnell had softened his once hardline stance against Moore and now takes the morally weak “it should be left up to Alabama voters” cop out. That’s a strong signal the GOP would welcome Moore into the Senate Republican caucus if he wins next week’s special election.
It gets worse for Republicans. Not long after Huckabee – an evangelical, Southern Baptist minister – was making excuses on Fox News about Moore, a video of a high-profile music producer and actor named Dame Dash was circulating on Twitter. In it, Dash, who had once starred in a music video for the song “Big Pimpin” pouring champagne on a scantily-clad actress, apologized for his past mistreatment of women.
“When I was young and in hip-hop, I [knew] that with disrespecting women, you got a positive response from it,” Dash told TMZ.com. “I look at things like ‘Big Pimpin’ and I’m embarrassed by it. I wouldn’t want my daughter to go through that, and if I ever saw my son Boogie doing that we would have some serious issues.”
That’s how far the party of family values has fallen. It is populated with supposed men of God making excuses for awful behavior while Democrats are beginning to stand for what’s right. Dash, a man who got rich lowering our standards of decency, is embarrassed by what he was. The GOP should be ashamed of what it has become.