Alabama Republicans’ decision to support a deeply flawed candidate has lathered the state’s upcoming U.S. Senate election with an array of distractions, some disturbing, others laughable. They risk obscuring the importance of selecting who our state will send to Capitol Hill.
Case in point: Jimmy Kimmel.
He’s an ABC late-night talk show host who has feasted on the political saga and sordid tales of Republican Roy Moore, who faces Democrat Doug Jones on Dec. 12. Say this much for Alabama’s twice-removed Supreme Court chief justice: He’s good for talk-show ratings.
Wednesday night, Moore held a campaign rally at a small church in Theodore. One of the comedians who often appears on Kimmel’s show attended the rally dressed as a Moore supporter and hammed it up with others outside the church. Police eventually escorted Kimmel’s comedian out of the church when he stood up and started to make a scene.
The footage showed up — as you’d expect — on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
Then came the Kimmel-Moore spat on Twitter.
Thursday afternoon, Moore tweeted at Kimmel: “@Jimmykimmel If you want to mock our Christian values, come down here to Alabama and do it man to man,” Moore wrote.
Kimmel responded: “Sounds great Roy - let me know when you get some Christian values and I’ll be there!”
It kept going for a while, tweet after tweet, which made for convenient laughs for Kimmel’s show and more embarrassment for Alabamians, Democrat or Republican, who wish our politics didn’t bring us such coast-to-coast shame.
Lost amid the tweets, comedic skits and national pundits wondering if Alabamians have lost our minds is the election, Moore vs. Jones. Some of the distractions — multiple women’s credible accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore — have become campaign issues because of what they may say about the Republican nominee. They can’t, and shouldn’t, be overlooked.
Twitter spats and comedic skits and the other shenanigans that have threatened to take over this election are only noise. In the era of Donald Trump, that passes for mainstream political discourse. But we implore Alabamians to ignore it and instead consider what our state needs from whoever joins Richard Shelby in the Senate. Alabama’s interests won’t be managed through Twitter or late-night TV.