Sunday, September 28, 2003

Don’t worry about Roy
I’m not sure how good the Ten Commandments have been to Roy Moore as an anchor and guide in his life, but they sure have been good for him as a career move. Just think, half-dozen years ago he was a fairly forgettable local judge. As local big-shots go, a judgeship can be pretty nice to have. The position carries with it a lot of respect and gravitas. But there was no reason to expect his star to be destined to shine in any firmament larger than the county level.

Then he got into a pissing match over the Ten Commandments. His defiance made him a state celebrity and by playing all of the populist cards of “us and them,” and “outsiders telling us what to do”, he managed to become Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (which is as strong an argument against an elected judiciary as any I could come up with).

We all know the next act. He snuck a bigger and more public Ten Commandments monument into the state courthouse under cover of darkness and prepared to take his defiance act to the next level. He became a national player in the never-ending struggle over church and state separation. I don’t know if he had designs on riding this to a higher political office or if he just enjoyed the fight and his resulting celebrity. The result, of course, was that he lost every fight, cost the State of Alabama hundreds of thousands of dollars, and was suspended from his job.

So why do I say this has been good for his career? Simple, Moore’s career hasn’t been law for years. His real career is that of a spokesman for the religious right. This summer’s circus in Montgomery and his attendant martyrdom at the hands of liberals, the media, the elites, secular humanists, and so on (I’m sure Jews, Masons, kitten-eating aliens, and rootless cosmopolitans appear on some lists) have made him a movement superstar. Already, the paid speaking engagements are pouring in.

Though I would rather he faded into a well-deserved obscurity, this is not going to be the case. For years to come, Roy Moore will be a standard feature wherever and whenever theocrats gather. I hope he has a good agent; he’ll need one.

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