Disgraced Former Judge Roy Moore Returns to Fan the Flames of Homophobia
A few weeks ago, Roy Moore the disgraced ex-chief Judge of he Alabama Supreme Court floated the idea that he may run for the Republican nomination for president. Now he has, according to The Iowa Republican (a Republican web site that still calls him "Judge"), formed an exploratory committee and is touring Iowa to drum up support. The short video below is a snippet from a rally last month sponsored by the Iowa Focus on the Family state affiliate last month. In it, Moore denounces marriage equality in ways that suggest this could get very nasty.
"No society is prepared to deal with the problems arising out of same-sex marriages: child abuse, adoption, divorce, foster care, alimony, and the list goes on and on."
Moore flirted with running for the nomination of the overtly theocratic Constitution Party in 2004. But he didn't take the plunge. Nationally known as the "Ten Commandments Judge," Moore had installed a 5,280-pound granite sculpture of an open book inscribed with the commandments shortly after he was elected (as a Republican) as Chief Judge of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, and then defied a federal court order to remove it -- which resulted in his being removed from the bench by a panel of retired judges. He went on to become a celebrity headliner for events across a wide swath of the Religious Right including appearances at state Constitution Party events.
It could be that Moore's time is well past and he is more of a perennial candidate in the mold of Alan Keyes than a serious contender. On the other hand, the large GOP field is currently led by Donald Trump.
Moore has one strong ally in Danny Carroll who is the current lobbyist, and former chairman of The Family Leader, which is the Iowa political affiliate of Focus on the Family. (FOF has a national network of 36 state political affiliates.) The network wasestablished in the late 1980s, although the connection of state groups to FOF is not always prominently featured. Carroll, who supported Mike Huckabee in his successful Iowa caucus victory in 2008 (co-chairing his campaign there) is accompanying Moore in a 25 stop, week long tour.
Judging from his exploratory committee issues page, he appears to be positioning himself as a Pat Buchanan populist, promising to restore jobs in the manufacturing sector and "revoke unfair trade agreements," oppose illegal immigration and encourage states to do as Arizona has done; oppose multilateral treaties (such as the Kyoto Protocols and the Law of the Sea Treaty); opposition to "socialized medicine," as well as emphasize smaller government, pulling back in foreign affairs (except for increased spending on advanced weapons systems) and considering radical tax ideas such as the "flat tax."
But as always, he can be expected to highlight his distinctly theocratic approaches to the Constitution as well as familiar Religious Right themes, such as:
"A strong family based on marriage between one man and one woman is and shall remain our only guide and model. I oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, civil unions, and all other threats to the family. Funding for Planned Parenthood or any form of abortion using federal funds should be stopped."
Indeed, based on his public appearances so far, it appears that he intends to make opposition to homosexuality a centerpiece of his campaign. This would include the idea that "Homosexuality should be against military policy, as was the law prior to Bill Clinton."
It is difficult at this writing, to assess how serious he is or how much support he can generate beyond the most hard core of the Christian Right. Bigger name and better funded candidates whose ambitions are more transparent form exploratory committees as a first step. But Moore is a different kind of candidate, and he probably means it when he says exploratory. Indeed, on his site he says he is "testing the waters." It will be interesting to see his test results.