John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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12 Random Thoughts on Roy Moore

Posted on December 13, 2017


  • Roy Moore was perhaps the worst candidate in history, and yet it took a titanic effort by establishment Republicans, President Obama, Richard Shelby and just about anybody who is anybody in the Democratic Party, to beat him.  And Doug Jones, who had a pretty good resume, only won by one point.


That huge exhale you heard last night was a collective sigh of relief from the swamp. #FeeheryTheory #RoyMoore Click To Tweet

  • That huge exhale you heard last night was a collective sigh of relief from the swamp. Moore would have complicated things terribly for Republicans (kick him out now or wait for the conclusion of an ethics investigation that might not ever end).  For Democrats, losing to Moore would have stopped whatever momentum they had from Virginia in its tracks.

  • President Trump really had no choice but to voice his support for Moore and to unleash the RNC to help him. Moore won the GOP primary fair and square and he is a darling of the base.  Not supporting him would have divided the party and would have been an insult to those Alabamans who supported him the primary.

  • Trump gets the best of both worlds. He keeps his base in the tent and he doesn’t have to deal with Moore’s rantings about gay people for the next four years.

  • It is unclear how much the sex stuff hurt Moore in the election. He had shot himself in the foot on so many different fronts that he might have lost anyway.

  • The loss of the seat is somewhat meaningless when it comes to governing. Sure, it gives Susan Collins more of a voice at the table, but she had plenty of pull anyway.  And there is a rolling collection of discontented members (Flake, Corker, McCain, Collins, Murkowski on the left; Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio on the right), that adding Roy Moore to the list one way or another doesn’t matter that much.

  • Sam Rayburn used to say that he would rather have a one-vote majority than a hundred-vote majority. Of course, he was a House guy so that doesn’t necessarily apply to the Senate.  But the fact is that unless you get to 60, it doesn’t matter that much if you have a one or two vote majority unless you are going to do everything by reconciliation.  And you can’t do everything by reconciliation.

  • I don’t think Roy Moore would have tarred the GOP with his presence if he had won any more than Gerry Studds tarred the entire Democratic Party after it was revealed he was having actual sex with male pages in the late 1980’s. I think the sexual harassment thing is going to hurt both parties.

  • Republicans obviously have a problem with suburban voters, especially suburban women. They need to either come up with some legislative strategies to appeal to the so-called soccer moms (economic security and personal security are two good ideas) or figure out ways to make up the votes somewhere else in the coalition.  There is always a gender gap between the parties.  If Republicans are going lose big among women, they better figure out how to win even bigger with men.

  • Not sure if welfare reform will help with suburban women or men, especially amid the opioid epidemic.  Infrastructure will.

  • Looking back at the primary process that gave us Roy Moore, maybe destroying Mo Brooks wasn’t the best way to position the GOP for victory. Brooks would have won the general election.

  • That being said, one thing is clear. It is not smart to mess with Mitch McConnell if you are a Republican running in a primary.  I know that Steve Bannon thinks it is smart politics, but I’m still not that convinced that Republican voters are motivated by anger at the guy who got Neil Gorsuch confirmed.