Republican Senate candidate and former judge Roy Moore of Alabama has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct, much of it with women much younger than he was at the time. The allegations are numerous and serious. While I have no special insight into their legitimacy, one detail in this Breitbart account certainly rings true:
Another woman says when she was 17 and Moore was 34, they openly dated each other in the spring of 1981. This woman also is not cited making any claims of inappropriate sexual conduct. In fact, she characterized Moore as being romantic, reading poetry to her, and playing the guitar. The woman is cited saying that physical contact only involved kissing and did not progress any further.
The man certainly has a fondness for poetry, as a learned when I was a cub reporter at The Weekly Standard magazine in 2004. I was assigned to find out whether the rumors that Roy Moore might run for president on the Constitution Party ticket were true. After some finagling, I managed to get ahold of the man himself. He wrapped up our rather wide-ranging conversation about politics and morals with this gem:
Perhaps, though, if the Bush campaign wanted to hedge against the possibility of even a remote third-party threat, the president might consider tapping Judge Moore as poet laureate. Because it turns out that Moore–the conservative hard-liner given to quoting George Washington, Blackstone, and far more obscure constitutional commentary at length, from memory–has been writing poetry for years.
At the end of our chat, Moore honored me with a short recitation of one of his original works. He has turned his poetic gifts to such themes as the Declaration of Independence and "the spiritual battle raging" in "our great nation." But, as he humbly points out, "we all start off with love poems."
With only the slightest prompting, he launches into a poem that he wrote for his wife, Kayla, shortly after he was appointed to the bench. "The Verdict" consists of rhyming couplets tying together judicial imagery and romance. "Condemned to a life of marital bliss / Our fate was sealed by a very first kiss . . ."
But perhaps the rest of the poem, like Moore's campaign for the Oval Office in 2004, is best left to the imagination.
Those who are coming to Moore's defense are doing so in terms the candidate probably appreciates: He's most famous for his refusal to remove the 10 Commandments from his courtroom.
"There is nothing to see here," Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler told the Washington Examiner. The events "happened almost 40 years ago." And anyway "Roy Moore fell in love with one of the younger women." Moore is 14 years older than Kayla, his wife of 35 years. "Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus," said Ziegler. "There's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual."