I remember the rhetorical trick taking hold in the Bush/Cheney era as part of the Republican defense of the war in Iraq. As the country descended into chaos, the Bush administration tried to focus on the positives, effectively arguing, “What about the areas in Iraq that aren’t on fire?”
A few years later, during Herman Cain’s presidential campaign, the Republican was confronted with allegations of sexual harassment. Cain responded at the time by effectively asking, “What about the women I knew who haven’t accused me of misconduct?”
Earlier this year, CNN’s Jake Tapper reminded Kellyanne Conway that Donald Trump says quite a few things that are demonstrably untrue. Instead of defending those claims, Conway responded by insisting there are “many things” that the president says “that are true.”
This morning, Janet Porter, a spokesperson for Roy Moore’s (R) Senate campaign in Alabama, added the latest installment to the list. Porter appeared on CNN and was asked about the women who’ve accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Porter responded:
“We need to make it clear that there’s a group of non-accusers, that have not accused the judge of any sexual misconduct or anything illegal.”
Or put another way, “What about the women in Alabama whom Moore didn’t target when they were teenagers?”
If the point is that we can find thousands of Alabama women who, when they were teenagers in the 1980s, went unmolested by Roy Moore, then sure, Jane Porter is raising a perfectly accurate point.
But the fact that the Moore campaign feels it’s necessary to make this argument on national television is breathtaking.