Two important columns after the Moore story both — neither of them assuming Moore’s guilt or innocence, but merely analyzing political questions worth considering;

It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault — and Ivey’s, and…. 

If ever there is legitimacy to playing a “blame game,” it exists right now with regard to the mess Alabama Republicans face in a special U.S. Senate election that should not be occurring in the first place.

In order of approximate chronology rather than of seriousness, here are all the places the blame lies – with the obvious caveat that by far the largest part of the blame lies with Roy Moore, if the allegations against him are even close to being true.

1) Luther Strange. I am reliably informed that numerous people, wise and experienced, advised Strange not to allow his name even to be considered for appointment to the Senate under the unique circumstances then existing. If he wanted to be the senator, he should have run under his own power, not as the selection of the very governor Strange was supposed to be investigating on criminal charges. The appearance of a conflict of interest was too obvious and too appalling.

2) Robert Bentley. Of course the governor should not have done any of the things that compromised himself in the first place – but, having done so, he should never, ever have considered Strange for the appointment. See above.

3) Mitch McConnell and his minions/Political Action Committees (henceforth: MMMPACs)….. [Again, the full story is here.]

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Terry Lathan for Senate?

So…. Who comes next?

Without prejudging the fall-out from the sex-related allegations against Senate candidate Roy Moore, it still is obvious that a chance exists he may withdraw from the race. While state law seems clear that it’s too late to replace Moore on the ballot, some highly informed sources say precedent exists to do just that. Of course, there also is the possibility of a write-in campaign — although if the person being urged to mount a write-in effort is current Senate fill-in Luther Strange, that is one of the worst ideas in the history of ideas. Voters rejected Strange overwhelmingly already, and he is a long way from rehabilitating his image.

All sorts of possibilities suggest themselves for a short-notice GOP replacement. Most of them are current officeholders. I think that’s a bad idea, under the circumstances. If a current officeholder were somehow to win, that would in turn open up his or her seat and start yet another mad rush to fill that one. Alabamans should be sick of elections, though, especially expensive special elections in a time of tight state budgets.

Plus, almost every current officeholder comes with detractors or even outright enemies within the party. To mount a replacement effort or a complicated write-in effort, a party must do so with a unifying candidate, not a controversial one, if it is to have any chance of victory.

So here’s my suggestion as the best possible choice in this politically dire situation: Republican state chair Terry Lathan…. [The rest of the column is at this link.]

 

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