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Republican Political Elites Today


A man who could very well be the next United States Senator from the great state of Alabama:

Jeff Stein

Some right-wing conservatives think Sharia law is a danger to America — do you?
Roy Moore

There are communities under Sharia law right now in our country. Up in Illinois. Christian communities; I don’t know if they may be Muslim communities.

But Sharia law is a little different from American law. It is founded on religious concepts.
Jeff Stein

Which American communities are under Sharia law? When did they fall under Sharia law?
Roy Moore

Well, there’s Sharia law, as I understand it, in Illinois, Indiana — up there. I don’t know.
Jeff Stein

That seems like an amazing claim for a Senate candidate to make.
Roy Moore

Well, let me just put it this way — if they are, they are; if they’re not, they’re not.

That doesn’t matter. Oklahoma tried passing a law restricting Sharia law, and it failed. Do you know about that?


Jeff Stein

I’d like to learn more about the communities in America you think are under Sharia law.
Roy Moore

I was informed that there were. But if they’re not, it doesn’t matter. Sharia law incorporates Muslim law into the law. That’s not what we do. We do not punish people according to the Christian precepts of our faith — so there’s a difference.

I’ll just say: I don’t know if there are. I understand that there are some.

Well, let me just put it this way — if Roy Moore has sex with goats, he does; if not, he doesn’t. I understand that he does.

Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, is impressive — he was able prosecute two of the Birmingham church bombers. If Moore wins the runoff, he is overwhelmingly likely to beat him anyway, because the neoconfederacy. (Although, admittedly, Jones would surely win if he would only offer full communism on a well-designed website.)

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  • LosGatosCA

    Forget it Scott, it’s Alabama.

  • bassopotamus

    I quibble with Alabama being a great state

    • gwen

      A couple years ago I made the mistake of trying to visit my Aunt in Huntsville (she’s a great lady, bear with me) by driving the “shortcut” from I-20 through Anniston, Gadsden, Albertville, etc on US 431.

      So many stupid red lights, and so many speed traps.

      I know other states have red lights and speed traps, but this whole trip seemed needlessly horrible.

      FWIW this was the same month that Taylor Swift’s “1989” came out so at least I had new music to listen to.

      • DAS

        Meanwhile here in NYC, even with Vision Zero, the city refuses to change the speed limit on the street where I live to 25 MPH. And, while the police claim they are enforcing the speed limit we do have, I rarely see cops policing our street but we do have a lot of speeders.

        • Joe Paulson

          There is some exception to the general rule?

    • EliHawk

      Alabama exists so Georgia has something to make fun of. Mississippi exists to Alabama has something to make fun of. Mississippi just takes it.

      This is something I was taught growing up in Georgia, Mike Mills agreed with me, Q.E.D. it’s fact.

  • aab84

    In retrospect, Roy Moore’s reelection to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2011, after the Ten Commandments flap, was something of a canary in the coal mine for where the Republican Party was heading. It’s fitting that he’s going to be elected to the Senate over the vociferous objection of Mitch McConnell and Trump’s at least lukewarm endorsement of his opponent.

    As Rep. Thomas Massie said, Republican primary voters are just looking for “the craziest son of a bitch in the race.”

    • howard

      Yes, I was going to say, it’s not just GOP elites talk this way, the median Alabama
      GOP voter thinks this way.

      • Moore certainly does exemplify the thought process of most Republican voters (at least, all of the Republican voters that I personally know fit this).
        Pick something you wish to be true (there is Sharia Law controlling entire towns in Indiana; there are no-go zones throughout Europe; Obama was not a citizen).
        Claim to have heard supporting facts from some unspecified source (“all the best people say . . .”).
        When challenged, aver that maybe it’s not true; but you’ve heard this and thus is most certainly is true, although maybe not.
        Because after all, reality is now just a matter of opinion.

        • Domino

          Feel like the follow up Question to “sharia law in Indiana towns” should be:

          “So you think Mike Pence allowed Sharia law into the state of Indiana while he was Governor?”

          • Gwai Lo, MD

            So much upvote for this one.

  • West_of_the_Cascades

    It’s not going to hurt him – in Alabama it’s OK for a Republican to be caught fucking a live goat. Dead goats (or dead chickens), on the other hand, are crossing a line.

    • gwen

      Somebody get this guy a dead goat.

      • a halal one, if possible.

    • JMP

      In 2014, Sen. Thad Cochran of nearby Mississippi actually said in a reelection speech,“It was fun, it was an adventure to be out there in the country and to see what goes on,” he said of his boyhood visits to Hattiesburg. “Picking up pecans, from that to all kinds of indecent things with animals.”

      And he was the more reasonable and moderate Republican in that primary contest.

    • Sentient AI From The Future

      Paging Mickey Kaus…

  • gwen

    I have heard people claim that about Dearborn because of the number of Arabs living around there.

    I’m not sure Roy Moore knows the difference between the states up in “darkest Yankeeland.”

    Not that it matters — they’re all stupid conspiracy theories anyway. But when a guy can’t even parrot filth correctly, I think that says something.

    • hellslittlestangel

      Has anyone told Moore that up north the women have it sideways? I’ll bet that would really freak him out.

      • AMK

        What about the goats?

    • George Carty

      Aren’t a majority of Arab-Americans Christians (mostly Lebanese Maronites)?

  • stepped pyramids

    Moore vs. Jones will be the index fossil for southern politics in the 21st century — a moderate, sober Democrat easily defeated by a half-witted, foaming-at-the-mouth theofascist.

    • gwen

      upvoted for palentological semantics.

  • gwen
  • BigHank53

    We do not punish people according to the Christian precepts of our faith

    Now, the original Commandments flap that Moore was involved in, back in the nineties, long before the monument crap, was this: he kept a large copy of the Commandments hanging up in his courtroom, and would often refer to it, even occasionally asking defendants to read it aloud during the sentencing.

    So: not only a theocratic fool, but a liar. And a stupid liar at that.

    Sometime in ’96 he was invited to address the National Press Club. I caught that speech on some radio broadcast, and heard Moore relate the following anecdote: Jefferson famously wrote that letter stating the first amendment created “a wall of separation” between the state and churches. Moore observed that very next day Jefferson traveled to listen to a Baptist minister deliver a sermon, and somehow construed this as a rebuttal to Jefferson’s letter. (I was more of the opinion that Jefferson didn’t feel like waiting around for a new Bruce Willis movie, but what the hell do I know about the entertainment options in 1802?)

    However stupid you think Moore is, you’re overestimating him. His chances are excellent.

    • mds

      Yeah, never mind that “Feel free to attend whatever religious services you want, as long as the government isn’t involved” is perfectly consistent with Jefferson’s actions. He wrote the “wall of separation” letter to the Danbury Baptists to reassure them, because they were frequent targets of official discrimination. Hell, at least until 2000, even the Southern Baptist Convention explicitly retained “Church and state should be separate” in their organizing tenets. The Bible-editing Deist letter author subsequently attending a Baptist sermon would presumably just underscore the point which completely escapes Moore.

      I mean, what’s next, Roy, determining that Washington’s reassurances to the Hebrews of Touro Synagogue means we are an officially Jewish nation? Because at this point I could almost get behind that one. Especially since you’d have to add 603 more commandments to your stupid fucking graven image, you gibbering theocratic dumbshit.

      • No bacon, no lobster, no chicken wings with blue cheese.

        Okay, I see you’re not really suggesting that. But did you know there actually are places in the US where shellfish is not regularly served? You know what that means, don’t you?

        • Sentient AI From The Future

          Chicken wings with blue cheese… That reminds me, I have to run to the store to pick up some more chicken milk.

    • Moore is big on the Ten Commandments. Except for the one about bearing false witness. So, he’s actually big on the Nine Commandments. Well, and then there’s that whole graven image one. So make that the Eight Commandments. And he’s been campaigning seven days a week, so he’s really big on the Seven Commandments.

    • Hypersphericalcow

      > We do not punish people according to the Christian precepts of our faith

      It must be a complete coincidence that four Supreme Court justices voted to keep homosexuality criminalized.

      • Veleda_k

        And completely coincidental that the supreme court decisions keeping it illegal specifically mention Christianity.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    This concludes another episode of Poo Sandwich News Trading Club. Tune in tomorrow, and never check snopes!

  • JMP

    Why not? The Islamophobic far right has already convinced themselves that there are Muslim-majority neighborhoods all over Europe that have become “no-go-zones” where the police refuse to enter and Sharia law rules, even though absolutely nothing like that has happened and it’s completely insane, so why not just claim the same thing is going on in America, especially dealing with Republican primary voters in a state like Alabama who will believe anything Fox News and far-right politicians tell them, no matter how ridiculous?

    • malraux

      No, see, in a few communities, religious leaders acceptable to both sides can act as a mediator in small disputes. That’s totally the same as sharia law.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Bet din. North London has a bunch.

      • Zagarna_84

        Eh, I’m not going to concede that predispute arbitration agreements provide a decisionmaker “acceptable to both sides.” Often one side or the other is essentially strongarmed into those agreements.

        Ironically, of course, the near-deified status of arbitration agreements under the Supreme Court’s current tendentious interpretation of federal law means that these state anti-sharia laws would be completely preempted and unenforceable if they were ever applied to limit sharia-based arbitrations.

        As far as I know, that’s never happened, because there are like ten of those arbitrations a year nationwide. The whole issue is a complete nothingburger.

      • CP

        I doubt if their thinking even goes that far.

        They’ve heard the bog-standard fact that in Europe, like everywhere else in the developed world, that are poor and crime-ridden enough that the cops only go there when they’re in force. They’ve also seen pictures of neighborhoods with lots of immigrants and halal stores. Their fantasizing and a heavy dose of Fox News and Breitbart bullshit did the rest.

  • hellslittlestangel

    We couldn’t secede by war, but here’s an idea: what if we become so insufferably fucking stupid that they ASK us to leave? It worked for that George Costanza feller.

    • bender

      California’s down with that.

    • gwen

      Repeal and Replace Obamacare with a Box of Cheap Envelopes for All!

  • agorabum

    Doug Jones, by prosecuting church bombers, is obviously just practicing that very same ‘identity politics’ that the good people of Alabama just want to transcend.

    PS I am not a crank

    • MikeG

      The bombing was harsh, but the prosecution of the bombers was also harsh, so both sides do it.

  • AMK

    Well if he really makes an ass of himself in the Senate, Trump can always just appoint him to the Supreme Court.

  • Owlbear1

    So at this point Stein needs to put out an ad claiming Moore treats Sharia Law like a joke.

    Or maybe a cut of him saying, “I’d like to learn more…about Sharia Law.”

    • Gwai Lo, MD

      Someone needs to sign him up for the Sharia Law newsletter.

  • Manju

    What’s the big deal?

    It’s not like he just praised torch-carrying Klansmen for protesting very quietly and innocently by gently whispering “Jews will not replace us” while saluting Hitler.

    • Manju

      Maybe everyone here already knows this, but if not…if you go back to the video/transcript where Trump talks about “the night before” you will see that he singles out for praise the protesters at Friday’s tiki torch ceremony.

      Then go look at the Tiki Torch Ceremony. Imo, this is a bigger smoking gun than the “both sides do it” line.

      • Manju

        Woo. i didn’t know that a whole picture would become embedded in the thread.

      • FlipYrWhig

        It has occurred to me that Trump’s reactions to the Friday protesters probably have a lot do with the way they were largely _clean-cut_. He thinks that indicates that they are good people, “nice young men,” etc. I’d almost bet that someone said to him “a lot of those guys look like Don Jr., Eric, and Jared,” and that he took it as a compliment.

    • George Carty

      Did the Klan ever praise European fascists back in their 1920s heyday?

  • sibusisodan

    > If you were a complete atheist, or a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or whatever, you have freedom in this country to worship God and you can’t be forced otherwise.

    Well, that’s reassuring. I’m sure atheists will be overjoyed to hear about their freedom.

    • Hogan

      But you better say “Merry Christmas.” You just better.

      • D_J_H

        I look forward to some holier-than-thou Puritans opening up a new front in the war on Christmas.

        • I look forward to the holy war when the theocrats win and realize they all piss one another off.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            I wish they’d just skip right to their own internecine holy war and include the rest of us out

            • Unfortunately, to judge from the history of Europe, they’ll project their differences onto Muslims and Jews and anyone else who’s handy, then when they run out of energy they’ll start an Inquisition where they just call their internal enemies Muslims and Jews and suggest that people can get saved by proving in the most obvious way that they share the prescribed hate. So if history teaches us anything, it’s that it’ll take a while for us to get to that point.

              Edit: I don’t, personally, look forward to the time when there’s a 4chan group dedicated to the proposition that the Reformation was a Jewish trick and all Christians really get along but the Jews keep being argumentative about things that don’t matter, and ruining Christian lives.

              • farin

                If 4chan still lived up to their heritage they would insist that the council of Nicaea was the start of the conspiracy.

              • Matty

                I don’t, personally, look forward to the time when there’s a 4chan group dedicated to the proposition that the Reformation was a Jewish trick and all Christians really get along but the Jews keep being argumentative about things that don’t matter, and ruining Christian lives.

                Isn’t that Dreher’s game?

    • rea

      All atheists have the complete freedom to worship god?

  • efgoldman

    Judge Moore is likely going to be elected, and spend the next six years embarrassing those parts of Alabama that are capable of embarrassment worse than Evil Leprechaun Sessions ever did – a very high bar, indeed.
    I predict that his terms ends because of some kind of corruption – personal, financial. whatever.

    • Bizarro Mike

      A wetsuit, two dildos, and four goats.

      • Hypersphericalcow

        I believe it was two wetsuits, and one dildo. Not sure about how many goats were involved.

        • farin

          Roy Moore, as a true man of god, holds himself to a higher standard.

        • Bizarro Mike

          Accuracy is important here. I regret the error.

    • Joe Paulson

      “I remember back in the day … the 1990s … when we actually had a Democratic senator.”

      • FlipYrWhig

        The Democratic Party started to lose the votes of segregationists and other racists for some reason, probably economic anxiety.

  • Perkniticky

    Surely the fact that gay marriage is legal throughout America is proof positive that Sharia is not law. Maybe someone should tell Roy Moore that – I’m sure he would be most relieved to hear it.

    • mattmcirvin

      Gay sharia is the worst kind of sharia!

      • billcoop4

        Sharia Lawe would be a good drag name.

        • FlipYrWhig

          As would Sharia Compliant.

      • Thirtyish

        I dunno….colorful hijabs and mandatory Sunday brunch sound kind of fun, tbh.

  • gyrfalcon

    I will hold out hope that the larger tide of public opinion affects Alabama as well and brings Doug Jones into office; but I suspect I may have to settle for a Senate in which Yertle has to cajole Moore alongside Paul the younger, Cruz and the other flavors of crazy-conservative just to hit fifty votes plus Pence.

    In happier news, as of yesterday night, Baltimore no longer has any TIDOS monuments. I’m sure the tiki-torch-brandishing neo-Nazis are feeling a warm glow of satisfied persecution; if only they realize they could get the same sensation without, y’know, killing anyone.

    • Sentient AI From The Future

      They took down the stonewall Jackson statue over by the Hopkins campus? If so, hoo fucking ray

    • randykhan

      The Baltimore thing seems to be a happy example of the law of unintended consequences. If I were a mayor of a city with any of those monuments, particularly outside the deep South, I’d be thinking pretty hard about whether the monument might attract the kind of crowd that was in Charlottesville this weekend.

      • Hogan

        Thing is, it’s not the monument that attracts that crowd–it’s removing the monument.

        But I don’t expect the Nazis to try that shit in Baltimore. They’d be outgunned, and I don’t mean the police.

        • farin

          It’s planning to remove the monuments. Quietly disappearing them makes the demonstrations points because there’s nothing to ‘save’.

        • Gwai Lo, MD

          All you have to do is whistle “Farmer in the Dell” and they’ll disperse.

      • twbb

        If I was a non-Southern mayor with sufficient control of the police force would try to get that crowd to come to my City to save those monuments, then have them brutally suppressed and put pictures of the brutal suppression as part of our tourist advertising campaign.

    • Joe Paulson

      Having monuments when you weren’t even part of the Confederacy — though there was some strong pro-treason sentiments — is a bit much.

  • If Plato owned slaves, he did; if not, he didn’t. According to Tucker Carlson he did, so what’s the fuss all about?

    • rea

      Plato at least portrays himself as a friend of Phaedo, a sex slave who Socrates helped free.

      • “I can’t be a Nazi! I have friends who are sex slaves!”

  • sibusisodan

    This is a power thing, I assume? Moore would be fine with a lot of the behavioural dictates embedded in Muslim jurisprudence. It’s just he wouldn’t be in charge of enforcing them.

    • farin

      The dictates are different, because they don’t have Jesus in their heart, or something. You know, like “There is only one god, the god of Abraham” is a core tenet of Christianity until you translate it to Arabic, when it becomes a call for genocide.

  • humanoidpanda

    I am rooting for Moor to win the runoff, not because Jones can beat him – he probably can’t , though coming within single digits would be nice – but because Moore on the national scene is like Akin on steroids.

    • Zagarna_84

      There’s nothing wrong with heightening the contradictions when the alternative is “just as many contradictions, but quieter.”

      • Unfortunately we keep getting surprised and it turns out there is. Not that there are necessarily no bad effects of doing the opposite.

        It seems counterproductive to do it in a way that raises more future obstacles, unless the goal is to build something we can hide behind.

        • Cheap Wino

          Santorum is a laughing stock at this point. I think the same would happen with Moor, should he win.

          • humanoidpanda

            Yeah, my point is that Strange will vote same way as Moore, but will not force GOP-ers confront the question of whether gays are poisoning our wells with sharia juice.

          • I’m somewhat worried also about the effects on the government, too, though, besides politics. Putting bad personnel and organizational norms in place, encouraging people to leave if they won’t put up with those norms and those other people. It adds up and we don’t have another government waiting if this one fails.

            And also with effects on rhetoric/”discourse”. More shit for our side to shovel just to get back to the same place, it gives us a lot of opportunities to speak out, but not to much helpful effect.

            • humanoidpanda

              Yeah, sorry that doesn’t make any sense: blithering idiots elected to Congress is not the same as governmental collapse.

              • I was replying to “there’s nothing wrong with heighten the contradictions.” This implies we should prefer the worse candidate, because next time round people will have their eyes open. Do you think we can vote extreme nutjob incompetents into Congress, and the only consequence is people will make the person a laughingstock and vote for a progressive next time?

                (Whether Santorum and Moore are especially similar is another question .)

    • Scott Mc

      I dunno. Isn’t that the gamble we asked for with Pres Dump? Does Moore on the TV saying stupid shit all the time just normalize stupid shit?

      • mds

        About Muslims and Sharia? Possibly. But Strange would support any and all government action stripping Muslims of their rights, so the overall impact would probably be similar. On the other hand, I think Moore’s deranged mouth-frothing about sodomy is genuinely getting past its sell-by date.

        • humanoidpanda

          This. The general impression that Trump was somehow pro-gay and didn’t care about abortion helped him win..

    • Aaron Morrow

      Not everyone is as incompetent at getting things done as Cruz; I’m wary that Moore might actually have an intelligence that would be dangerous on the national stage.

      + 1 for that spelling

      • mds

        I’m wary that Moore might actually have an intelligence

        Nah. The man literally commissioned a graven image to treat with reverence as a sign of how much he loves the Ten Commandments. David Barton has the same shtick with much more intelligence, superficial plausibility, and a modicum of restraint. Moore won’t be able to stop shrieking about the filthy subhuman homosexuals, especially when that’s a large part of the routine that keeps getting him elected to things.

        • humanoidpanda

          Yeah. Cruz with all his personality flaws was one of the youngest people to argue a supreme court case. Moore got himself thrown from the Alabama Supreme Court, twice.

      • Hondo

        Well, I didn’t get an impression of intelligence from that interview transcript. He didn’t make any sense. It was all convoluted bullshit. There is, however, a strong indication that he is a fucking lunatic and has no idea how to hide the fact. I wouldn’t worry about him being too effective in the Senate.
        My twitter feed is no statistical indication, but I wonder if it’s possible that the country has reached peak wingnut. It seems that a lot of people around the country have had enough of them as shown by the visceral reaction to the Nazis and Trumps statements yesterday. This may be some momentum that we can use if it can be carried forward to 2018. Democrats all over the US should be all over this, constantly connecting Trump, his base, and the entire republican party, to the violent Nazis in Charlottesville.
        If wingnut political influence is decreasing, guys like Moore will have limited effectiveness. Judging from this interview, he’s just not very good, and will only have the support of the most ignorant, misinformed portion of the republican party. And it may be that many eyes were opened this past weekend as to how nuts they are.

      • mnuba

        I’m wary that Moore might actually have an intelligence that would be dangerous on the national stage.

        That depends, are you counting “aggressive stupidity” as “an intelligence that would be dangerous on the national stage?”

    • Drew

      I’d much prefer that we elect the least right wing foaming at the mouth Republicans possible. I feel like we’ve gotten burned on these too clever by half type of things where we will eventually cause the fever to break in the GOP. Yes Akin was a success story, but then I thought Trump would be Akin on steroids. And in general I just don’t like the idea.

  • ASV

    I mean, if you think about it, Jones is actually worse than Moore.

    • humanoidpanda

      He might be a bit circumspect about abortion, so really no liberal should ever support him.

      • Origami Isopod

        Thank you for letting everyone know you regard my bodily autonomy as a bargaining chip. Much appreciated.

        • dhudson2728

          Sure, we’d all like to see a pro-choice candidate win, but since the actual election is between a conservative democrat and two republicans who probably think The Handmaid’s Tale is an instruction manual, I think the lesser evil really is preferable here.

          • Origami Isopod

            If I lived in Alabama I would probably hold my nose and vote for Jones. HP’s snark is uncalled for, however, given that Heath Mello was painted as “a bit circumspect about abortion” when he’s actually a forced-birther asshole. Just in general I can do without male liberals acting as though wanting control over my own body is a purity-pony issue.

            • dhudson2728

              Fair enough. And you’re absolutely right that male liberals have a tendency to dismiss women’s issues–which is short sighted, because if the Right manages to control women’s bodies, it won’t be long before they start dictating what men can do as well. We’re all in this together.

              But the Republicans have gone beyond ordinary villainy to cartoonish super-villainy, and I think it’s important to recognize that some issues that, in the past, would have been dealbreakers, really are overshadowed by the sheer evil of the Republicans.

  • Hypersphericalcow

    if Roy Moore has sex with goats, he does; if not, he doesn’t. I understand that he does.

    Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would irresponsible not to.

  • drdick52

    And this comes from a man who wants to impose Christian sharia on America and tried to impose it on Alabama until the Feds slapped him down.

    • Joe Paulson

      His own state supreme court held he crossed the line.

  • AlanInSF

    World’s greatest deliberative body.

  • sanjait

    This man, with such a fidelity to facts and mastery of logic, was actually Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court.

    I know that is a well known fact, but it is still a marvel.

    • Hogan


      • Drew

        I know that there are plenty of states with elected trial and even intermediate appellate judges, and retention elections for state supreme courts. But fuck me, electing state Supreme Court judges outright is just such an atrocious idea I can’t even.

  • wengler

    I mean Alabama needed to find a way to elect someone worse than Jeff Sessions, and I daresay they are up to the challenge.

  • Alabama, you got
    the weight on your shoulders
    That’s breaking your back.
    Your Cadillac
    has got a wheel in the ditch
    And a wheel on the track

    Oh Alabama.
    Can I see you
    and shake your hand.
    Make friends down in Alabama.
    I’m from a new land
    I come to you
    and see all this ruin
    What are you doing Alabama?
    You got the rest of the union
    to help you along
    What’s going wrong?

  • LosGatosCA

    Ted Cruz could finally have a friend in the Senate.

    Except Moore isn’t even from a lesser Ivy, so that’s a problem.

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