Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Roy Moore's Run for Theocrat-In-Chief of Alabama

Roy Moore has made it official. He is running for the GOP nomination for governor of Alabama. He may also be launching what could become a storied career as one of the most prominent, if cagily, theocratic politicians in America.

His platform as outlined on his campaign web site, might be best described as theocratic populist. Mr. Moore, as is now well-known, abused the office of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, by secretly commissioning a 2 1/2 ton granite religious monument featuring the Ten Commandments -- and installing it in the state court house.

Moore was looking for a showdown in federal court. He got it, and he lost. And when Federal District Judge Myron Thompson ordered him to remove the religious display, Moore refused. Ultimately Mr. Moore was removed from office; his monument was removed from the courthouse; and he is still kicking and screaming about it.

Moore says public officials have the right to "acknowledge God." Well, all Americans have that right. But Moore, (as Judge Thompson made clear and the appellate courts confirmed), had no right to use the state courthouse to display a religious monument. Moore insists to this day that he has the right to do as he pleases and has made the right of public officials to "acknowledge God as the moral foundation of law, liberty and government," a cornerstone of his platform.

If all this were not disturbing enough, Moore's anti-immigrant, anti-union, anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-democracy and anti-separation of church and state politics are worthy of national concern. He wants to eviscerate the power of the state legislature by requiring it to meet much less frequently; term-limit legislators; and strengthen the veto power of the governor.

Finally, Moore's politics may be best viewed in terms of his apparent national ambitions. Scholars are already comparing his style to that of the late George Wallace who as governor of Alabama in the 1960s demagogued high-profile segregationist stands into a run for president -- winning four states of the old confederacy as the candidate of the American Independent Party in 1968.

But for now, Moore still needs to get past incumbent Gov. Bob Riley in the June 2006 GOP primary. Will the Ten Commandments Judge act start to wear a little thin? It could. Last year, John Rowland was forced to resign in disgrace as governor of Connecticut in the face of probable impeachment on corruption charges. Roy Moore is no more entitled to call himself "judge" than John Rowland is entitled to call himself "governor." Yet the unrepentant Mr. Moore's campaign slogan is "Judge Roy Moore for Governor of Alabama."

Indeed, Mr. Moore's major accomplishment as an elected public official was to get thrown out of office for defying the order of a federal judge. His campaign bio, which features a long list of awards from Christian Right groups, may be the single most vainglorious resume in recent American political history. But if anyone can pull off this demagogic stunt of a campaign, it's Roy Moore -- who has a national Christian Right fundraising base, and is the best-known pol in Alabama.

Candidate Moore pledges to return Alabama to the people. But what he is really saying is 'turn Alabama over to me.'


Blogger Jake McCafferty said...

If you are interested in history, then check into the primaries George Wallace won in 1972. There were four. Two of them, Maryland and Michigan, were never part of the Confederacy.

As for the judge title, that's been questioned by several people. I suspect there will be a weasel explanation. Technically, he was removed from being chief "justice." He left his judgeship in good standing.

By the way, I posted a long (and perhaps too rambling) post on why Roy Moore is no George Wallace -- if you're interested.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Frederick Clarkson said...

Thanks for the comment, Jake. I am aware of GW's history in the primaries of '72. He had fair amount of support in Massachusetts, among other places as well. But there is only so much one can cram into a short piece. I suppose Moore and his supporters can try to weasel the judge thing ... well, let them go ahead and explain and explain and explain why the man is not a disgrace to the judiciary. I love it when the sanctimonious have to weasel.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Bruce Wilson said...

I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that I was thumbing through my thesaurus and noticed, under "sanctimoniousness" , the synonym "weasilish" .

It must have been a dream, but if "sanctimony" and "weasilish" could be objectively quantified and measured, I've no doubt that studies would reveal a clear correlaton between the two traits.

Or, to modify Samuel Johnson's quip...

Religion is the last refuge of scoundrels.

9:03 AM  
Blogger none said...

Just randomly searching political sites. Looks good. Have a good day.

11:47 AM  

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