Who says blogging is dead? Why, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) still has one, and in it today he joins fellow "constitutional conservative" Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in giving full-throated endorsement to Alabama firebrand Roy Moore for U.S. Senate:
[Alabamans] can choose a liberal Democrat, who will stand with Chuck Schumer to raise taxes, weaken our military, open our border, and undermine our constitutional rights. Or, they can choose to elect Judge Roy Moore, a conservative who will proudly defend Alabama values. […]
Judge Moore has a lifelong passion for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and he has the courage of his convictions.
To which Ken White had the appropriately acidic reply:
Moore has a passion for the Constitution in the sense that Roman Polanski has a passion for children's issues
— Popehat (@Popehat) October 24, 2017
Unfortunately for Cruz (and despite his blog post's "For Liberty" salutation), the courage of Moore's convictions frequently clash with both the plain language and contemporary interpretation of the Constitution. Such as that time, oh, LAST WEEK when Moore suggested that kneeling during the National Anthem is "against the law" (it's not, and if such a law were passed, it would surely be declared unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds).
Or there was that famous time in 2003 when, after repeatedly defying court orders to remove a 5,000-pound granite sculpture of the Ten Commandments (which courts had ruled was in violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause), Moore was removed as Alabama Chief Justice by the state's Court of the Judiciary (COJ). Or the sequel, on April 20 of this year, when the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the COJ's 2016 removal of Moore from the bench (he had won election to chief justice again in 2012), for brazenly disregarding the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage, prohibition of which the high court determined was in violation of the 14th Amendment.
Moore announced his candidacy for the Senate one week later.
There is nothing about being in the United States Senate that requires members to endorse candidates from their own party. Indeed, 11 GOP senators, including Mike Lee, either did not endorse or withdrew their initial endorsements of Donald Trump. But now Lee, who among all the Tea Party generation has put the "constitutional" in constitutional conservative, is reportedly co-headlining an upcoming D.C. fundraiser for Moore with his old pal Rand Paul.
Does this all portend, as the wags at The Liberty Conservative would have it, the dawning of something called "Roy Moore libertarianism"? Oh hell no, it doesn't. The main takeaway here is that there is only so much that a libertarian worldview can accomplish within the structure of the decidedly non-libertarian Republican Party, particularly when it holds power. Those who are able to jump through enough GOP hoops to win elections are likely to be a good deal more socially conservative—and therefore less allergic to the overreaches of social conservatism—than your average small-l libertarian.
And if you want to avoid being in the cross-hairs of Donald Trump—ask Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) how much fun that is—then some symbolic concessions might just be an acceptable price for remaining in play enough to influence health policy and introduce rights-restoring reform. I'd much rather have Rand Paul and Mike Lee (and Jeff Flake) be in the Senate than not, hopefully with enough clout to get good things done and stop bad things from happening. But with the desiccated condition of the modern GOP, the price for such access will likely continue to mount.
UPDATE: And now, oh my garden, Jeff Flake has announced he is no longer running for re-election in 2018, saying "The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I'm not willing to take, and that I can't in good conscience take." Stay tuned for more on Flake in this space.
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