It's worth taking a moment from time to time to appreciate the fact that Roy Moore's troubles didn't start last week. MSNBC's Chris Hayes noted the other day that the Alabama Republican "was astoundingly unfit to be a US Senator before these allegations."
Moore scandal adds to Alabama political woesNov. 10, 201710:41
In context, "these allegations" refers the evidence that Moore dated teenagers when he was in his 30s, including an alleged encounter uncovered by the Washington Post between Moore and a 14-year-old girl when the Alabaman was 32.
But given the circumstances, the other qualities that made Moore "astoundingly unfit" to be a senator -- his lawlessness, his ignorance, his radicalism, his bigotry -- have been overshadowed by the allegations of sexual misconduct with teen-aged girls.
In an apparent attempt to get the controversy behind him, Moore talked to Fox News' Sean Hannity -- a proponent of his Republican candidacy -- on Friday, though it did little to put out the fire. On the contrary, over the course of the interview, Moore, while denying some details, seemed to make matters worse by saying he didn't "generally" pursue teenagers when he was in his 30s.
It also didn't help when Moore, by way of a defense, added, "I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother."
Complicating matters further, there's new evidence for the public to consider.
A former prosecutor who once worked alongside embattled Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore in the early 1980s told CNN it was "common knowledge" at the time that Moore dated high school girls."It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird," former deputy district attorney Teresa Jones told CNN in comments aired Saturday. "We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall ... but you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that."
At this point, some of Moore's Republican brethren have seen enough.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which exists to help GOP Senate candidates, ended its fundraising agreement with the Moore campaign on Friday, though as best as I can tell, the NRSC hasn't pulled its official endorsement of the radical Alabaman.
Soon after, two Republican senators -- Montana's Steve Daines and Utah's Mike Lee -- officially withdrew their Moore endorsements. A third, Louisiana's Bill Cassidy, followed suit over the weekend.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) added, "I think it would be best if Roy would just step aside." The Pennsylvania Republican suggested his party explore the possibility of supporting a write-in campaign.
They join a variety of other GOP senators -- including Tennessee's Bob Corker and Arizona's Jeff Flake -- who had already said they were withholding support for their party's nominee in Alabama. (Corker tweeted over the weekend, "Look, I'm sorry, but even before these reports surfaced, Roy Moore's nomination was a bridge too far.")
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (R) issued similar statements, calling on Moore to "step aside" from his Senate race.
Will any of this push Moore to quit? By all appearances, that's extremely unlikely. The more salient question is how far Republicans at every level are prepared to go to help elect a lawless, accused child molester to the Senate.
The election is still scheduled for Dec. 12, which is four weeks from tomorrow.