But he only went halfway in the honorable cause of trying to stop Roy Moore.
At first blush, one is inclined to pen a latter-day profile in courage at this news:
Shelby bucks his party and president to oppose Moore for Senate
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In his sternest rebuke yet, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said repeatedly Sunday his state can “do better” than electing fellow Republican Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate, making clear that a write-in candidate was far preferable to a man accused of sexual misconduct….
“The state of Alabama deserves better,” he said….
That’s fine as far as it goes, and can be described as real leadership — assuming anyone follows.
But the gesture is revealed as a halfway one when we look more closely at what he said:
“I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I didn’t vote for Roy Moore. But I wrote in a distinguished Republican name. And I think a lot of people could do that,” Shelby told CNN’s “State of the Union.”…
Here’s a clue for anyone who doesn’t get my point: Writing in “a distinguished Republican name” shows Shelby isn’t entirely serious about stopping Moore. I don’t care how distinguished the name is. If it was Abraham Lincoln, he still wouldn’t have a prayer of beating Moore. Being dead and all. (And this being Alabama.)
Sure, the senator has seen to it that Moore doesn’t get his vote. But that only does exactly as much good as if the senator had simply not voted.
Someone has to beat Moore in order to prevent him from going to Washington. And there’s only one person on the planet in a position to do that: Democrat Doug Jones.
That Shelby cannot bring himself to vote for a Democrat even to stop his party from being shamed by Moore shows that he’s not quite the high-minded, above-the-fray statesman the headlines would suggest.
We’ve been here before, of course, and on a much larger scale. The nation is now reaping the bitter harvest of such thinking last year, when the woods were full of Republicans who knew it would be insane to elect Trump, and held back from doing so — but considered voting for Hillary Clinton to be so completely, absolutely unthinkable that they could not entertain the notion for a moment.
So they threw their votes away, rather than give them to the only person on the planet in a position to stop Trump.
This partisan mindlessness must stop if we are to save this republic. It just has to…