Afternoon Links: Bad Preachers, Fake Signatures, and the Death of the GOP

Let’s talk about bad preachers. Because some are sticking by Roy Moore, and hoo boy, does one in particular have some very unpreacherlike things to say.

Here’s Frank Raddish, pastor at the Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries:

“The overseer of this Democrat plantation is John McCain,” Raddish said. “These other Republicans are the political field hands picking cotton on the Democrat plantation. They do not want a very principled, convicted man to be up there in the U.S. Senate.”

Convicted? Odd choice of words, pastor Frank! Not yet! John McCain as a plantation overseer? Dios mio.

To their credit, some pastors have asked to be removed from a letter circulated by Moore’s wife that might be recycled from Moore’s primary campaign. Others claim that Moore’s campaign added their names without their consent. (Weird!) Others, no response. But they shouldn’t be on such a letter. It’s bad form.

It’s fine if religions preach what sins are and aren’t, and it’s fine that they preach about their nexus with politics. (Like being Catholic and voting for pro-abortion candidates, for example.) That’s the line, at least as the IRS sees it. Dance over that, and you could lose your tax exempt status.

Unfortunately, some on the right want to remove that prohibition on electioneering for churches. It’s a nakedly cynical ploy to turn houses of worship into non-profit electioneering apparatuses. It’d be a huge mistake to do this. Except one fringe benefit might seeing who the fringiest preachers really are, and casting them out. Like the lepers they are.

Where your desktop background came from is a real place. Let’s take our head out of the storm clouds of Roy Moore for a minute and think back to happier times, like back when you had Windows XP.

Can you picture the luscious green field and the happy clouds? Of course you can. Turns out, that photo is a real place in California! Atlas Obscura has the story:

In 2000, Microsoft called to see if they could use his picture for its new operating system. [National Geographic photographer Charles] O’Rear sold all the rights for an undisclosed sum—but a sum large enough that no one was willing to insure the negatives to be shipped. O’Rear flew to Seattle and delivered them in person. Since the release of Windows XP in 2001, the image has graced the screens of over a billion computers all over the world.

Pretty big pay day for a photo you took on a whim while driving to see your girlfriend.

Is this the end of the GOP? Charlie Sykes seems to think so. I agree with nearly every point he makes, but is this really the end? Back to that in a minute.

Here’s Rep. Thomas Massie, the guy who replaced my last boss in the House, Geoff Davis (KY-4), talking to the Examiner, and Charlie’s point is don’t confuse crazy with ideology. Sometimes, the ideology is the crazy:

Do not confuse this with any sort of coherent ideology. Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican for Kentucky, tried to diagnose the mindset of the Tea Party voters when he told the Washington Examiner, “I thought they were voting for libertarian Republicans.” Massie continued, “But after some soul-searching, I realized when they voted for Rand and Ron [Paul] and me in these primaries, they weren’t voting for libertarian ideas. They were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class.”

Sykes argues this is about “combating crackpottery”—which is something the GOP has long had to suffer through. Lots of conspiracy theorists and loons (behold, Breitbart’s sad current state, the rise of the alt-right, InfoWars, etc.) still abound. More Sykes:

Trump rode that wave, imagining that he could control it. In his boundless self-regard, he thought that the electorate’s giant middle finger was intended as a salute to his awesome powers of personal leadership. No wonder he is so angry with his defeat that he is actually deleting tweets that had supported Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange.

Don’t mess with crazy, the old saying goes. With Trump and Moore, the GOP did, and members will pay with their seats. Hopefully, new people will rise to replace them. It just may take a few cycles. Not like the GOP has any experience being in the wilderness for a while, or anything.

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