In a column for The Washington Post, conservative columnist George Will warned Friday that “grotesque” is becoming the new normal for the Republican Party, ripping advertisements on behalf of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) that attack Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who is also seeking the Alabama Senate seat.
“Southern Gothic is a literary genre and, occasionally, a political style that, like the genre, blends strangeness and irony. Consider the current primary campaign to pick the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. It illuminates, however, not a regional peculiarity but a national perversity, that of the Republican Party,” Will said.
“On Aug. 15, Alabama’s bewildered and conflicted Republicans will begin picking a Senate nominee. (If no one achieves 50 percent, there will be a Sept. 26 runoff between the top two.) Of the nine candidates, only three matter — Luther Strange, Roy Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks.”
The Hill added:
Strange was appointed in February to serve the remainder of former Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R) term after Sessions was named President Trump’s attorney general. The ads attacking Brooks were financed by a political action committee (PAC) aligned with Senate GOP leadership.
In advertisements, the PAC has attacked Brooks for comments he made while serving as chairman for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) presidential campaign in the state, such as his statements criticizing Trump’s “serial adultery.”
Another ad, according to Will, “suggest[s] that Brooks supports the Islamic State,” as it criticizes Brooks’ stance against military intervention in Libya and Syria and his “support for Congress replacing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force with an updated one.”
Will also criticizes Strange for ignoring his other main opponent: twice-removed, former Chief Justice Roy Moore.
“Twice Moore has been removed as chief justice of the state Supreme Court. In 2003, removal was for defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding religious displays in government buildings. Reelected, he was suspended last year for defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex marriages,” Will wrote.
“Yet Brooks is the focus of ferocious attacks on behalf of Strange, who ignores Moore.”
Senate GOP leaders like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are “shredding the remnants of its dignity” by financing such ads, Will argued.
“Is this Northern Gothic?” Will asked. “No, it is Republican Gothic, the grotesque becoming normal in a national party whose dishonest and, one hopes, futile assault on Brooks is shredding the remnants of its dignity.”