Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy Moore, speaks to the congregation of Kimberly Church of God, June 28, 2015, in Kimberley, Ala.
Photo by Butch Dill/AP

Alabama’s Roy Moore flunks an easy test on current events

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, currently a leading Republican U.S. Senate candidate, has quite a bit to say about matters pertaining to religion. In a recent interview, for example, Moore suggested the United States is arguably “the focus of evil in the modern world,” because Americans “promote a lot of bad things.”

Asked for an example, he said, “Same-sex marriage.”

As the Washington Post reported, however, Moore is less sure what to say when it comes to discussing current events.

The Republican leading in the runoff race in Alabama’s Senate primary appears to have no idea what the biggest political issues of the moment even are.

In a July 11 interview with the Dale Jackson Show on local radio channel WVNN, and uncovered Friday by Washington Examiner columnist Philip Wegmann, Judge Roy Moore appears completely stumped on what the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is — you know, the one that’s been a rallying cry on the right for liberal overreach for years, and the one President Trump has said he’ll decide about over the weekend, and the one some Republicans in Congress are paradoxically encouraging him to keep.

Moore was asked during a radio interview about the president’s intention to end DACA protections, and he was clearly confused by the question. “Pardon?” he asked. “The Dreamer program?”

The host clarified and responded, “You’re not aware of what Dreamers are?” Moore replied, “No.” When the host, WVNN’s Dale Jackson, noted that this is “a big issue in the immigration debate,” the Alabama Republican said the host should bring him up to speed on the issue.

Jackson obliged, though Moore still seemed confused, saying he was glad Congress has “already taken that up.” He added that, if he’s elected to the Senate, he would “look at that program. I surely would. I think it needs to be looked at.”

It’s a Republican primary in one of the nation’s reddest states, so it’s hard to say with any confidence if this represents a disqualifying moment, but it’s easy to make the case that it should be. After all, part of Roy Moore’s platform, such as it is, includes pushing a far-right line on immigration.

I’m not suggesting the former justice needs to know every obscure policy detail about the issue, but how is it possible the candidate – who’s been on the campaign trail since April – has literally no idea what “DACA” and “Dreamers” are when he’s made immigration one of his signature issues?

It’s an unfortunate example of post-policy thinking: Moore has spent months telling Alabama Republicans he’d take a far-right line on immigration, but it apparently never occurred to him to take a few minutes to figure out what taking a far-right line on immigration entails.