Last night was the closing bell for the special election in Alabama and now the voters are heading out to cast their votes. At this point, even some of the most experienced poll watchers in the country have no idea how this is going to end, with a more twenty point spread between some of the latest surveys. (I’ve been cautioning anyone who thinks they have it figured out, because the most optimistic turnout projections currently call for a less than 25% showing.)
In this heated environment, the two campaigns made their final pitches last night. For his part, Roy Moore did about as well as he could, given the circumstances. But some of the people speaking on his behalf left a few clunkers on the table. Chief among those was none other than Moore’s wife, Kayla. While I have no doubt she loves her husband and wants to see him do well, her defense of Roy against accusations of antisemitism and racism… left a bit to be desired. For example, here’s one thing you never say when trying to prove that you don’t have it out for the Jews. (CNN)
Roy Moore’s wife, Kayla, argued that her husband is no bigot at a Monday night campaign rally, saying that “one of our attorneys is a Jew.”
“Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews. And I tell you all this because I’ve seen it and I just want to set the record straight while they’re here,” she said. “One of our attorneys is a Jew. We have very close friends that are Jewish, and rabbis, and we also fellowship with them.”
Let’s go to the video, since a simple transcription doesn’t really do it justice.
Just as a tip for all of you younger folks out there considering running for office, the all too often heard defense of, “but some of my best friends are…” rarely carries any weight unless your pictorial paper trail actually includes you regularly hanging out with your many friends and business associates who happen to be members of whichever demographic group you’re trying to appease. But saying that you employ somebody from that particular group is even weaker. (“Hate Hispanics? I’ll have you know that my maid is Puerto Rican!:”) And in this case, Kayla Moore pretty much hits the tone-deaf trifecta by declaring that one of their lawyers is Jewish because that’s got to be in the top three Jewish stereotypes along with banker and Secret Ruler of Hollywood.
Less noted was one of the people who introduced Moore at the rally. Bill Sailing is a friend of Moore and a fellow Vietnam veteran who served with him. Telling some charming stories about your wild and crazy younger days can often serve to make a candidate seem a lot more grounded and approachable, so an old Army buddy isn’t a bad choice. But somebody might have mentioned to Bill that a story about hitting the town with Moore and accidentally wandering into a brothel with (allegedly) child prostitutes working there probably wasn’t the ideal anecdote under the circumstances.
Is any of this going to matter when the smoke clears this evening? Probably not. This has been one of the nastiest, most grueling special election contests in recent memory and the national spotlight has likely long since blinded many of the voters in Alabama. I also find it difficult to believe that there were that many voters out there who still hadn’t made up their minds to the point where a couple of tone-deaf comments last night would change anything. The die has pretty much been cast and now we’ll finally get our answer.
Were you expecting a prediction on the outcome? Forget it. For all I know some farmer from the southern end of the state will win on a write-in surge at this point. Neither of these candidates has rewritten the book on how to run a Senate campaign, but one of them will almost certainly limp over the finish line this evening. Break out the popcorn and get ready to wait along with the rest of us.