Tuesday, November 14, 2017


It has long been my conviction that Democrats are the more adept pols, the most tireless pols, the most political pols. I have said that their political libido is that of a nymphomaniac. By that I mean to compliment them, at least to compliment their political skills. The political libido of the Republicans is by comparison the political libido of a Victorian lady, complete with white gloves and parasol.

We saw the Republicans’ coyness about playing politics just last week when they began backing away from supporting Roy Moore, the leading candidate for the Senate seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions became attorney general. Though Mr. Moore has never been charged with sexual misconduct in over 40 years of public life suddenly, four-and-a-half weeks before the election that is scheduled for Dec. 12, a 53-year-old woman steps out of oblivion to accuse him of having had some sort of sexual encounter with her 38 years ago when she was 14 and he was in his early 30s. By comparison, William Jefferson Clinton was 49 years old and Monica Lewinsky was a nubile 22. Mr. Moore denies it and he denies the charges of five other recovering female amnesiacs, some with mysterious Democratic ties.

What is Mr. Moore to do as his fellow Republicans in Washington start melting away? Do you recall a famous Democrat of long ago in the late stages of an election threatening to charge his opponent with having had sex with a barnyard animal? The famous Democrat’s aides were appalled and objected strenuously, but the candidate only shrugged and observed, “Can you see my opponent campaigning throughout the state saying he did not have sex with barnyard animals?”

As I say, Democrats play the great game of politics much better than Republicans. You can count in the hundreds the Democrats who have weathered sexual allegations and won their subsequent election. You can begin with Sen. Ted Kennedy. I say Mr. Moore should continue his campaign. The Senate is too important for the Republicans to lose. If the Republicans roosting up in Washington do not realize this, I am sure the Republicans in Alabama realize it.

While they are comfortably counseling Mr. Moore and his allies from afar, I hope they will not forget that now their most important duty is to pass a tax reform bill. They assure us that they will do it by year’s end. The House has one bill that is ensuring economic growth and middle-class tax relief. The Senate has another that achieves the same goal, though each bill is different. They promise to reconcile the bills by year’s end. It is very important that they do.

Larry Kudlow, a supply-side economist, spoke last week at the Senate Republican breakfast and reported optimistically on his experience. “What I observed,” he said, “was a total commitment among the GOP senators to get a tax bill by year-end.” “This will not be another health care breakdown,” Mr. Kudlow observed. There will be a cut in the business tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, which will create jobs and middle-class wealth. Yet he wrote with some urgency because if there are no tax cuts and a concomitant economic growth, the scenario is bleak. “If Republicans don’t get it,” he noted, “they’ll lose control of Congress” in 2018, and with that comes increased gridlock, no possible health care reform, and even the specter of impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

The Republicans have been bellowing for years that they would repeal and replace Obamacare. They are unlikely to do it. They have promised other changes in the way the government works, but at this point all that seems unlikely, too. They simply have to reconcile and pass tax reform or they will have nothing to show for their domination of government of late. Coming up empty-handed in 2018 will not be Donald Trump’s doing. It will be the Republicans’ fault, and relinquishing a seat in the Alabama senatorial delegation is not going to make tax reform any easier.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.

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