MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace Lost Her Mind (But I Understand Why She Did)

Nicole Wallace hates Judge Roy Moore.  She can never just come out and say it from her on air platform at MSNBC but I know she does.  And I can completely understand why.  I hate his ass too but I can say it from this platform without consequence. Our reasons are different but there’s a lot of overlap. I refuse to even pretend not to hate this guy because he goes beyond representing everything that I think is wrong with our country politically and culturally.  I see him as actually representing evil- the kind of far right-wing loony-tune that wishes the Confederacy won the Civil War.

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Nicole hates him because he represents the rancid decay of the political party that she once loved and served at the highest levels.  Roy Moore validates the very worst perceptions that many Americans and people around the world have about the Republican Party.  Racist, sexist, homophobic, ethnocentric and retrograde, Moore is the kind of guy who makes GOP insiders like Nicole feel like they have to explain away and apologize for- and they REALLY hate that.  If the normal GOP voter was captured in a time-capsule from 2000, the GOP voter of today would like the undead survivors of a zombie apocalypse.

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And I am perfectly cool with all of that and have found myself developing a fondness for Nicole Wallace as she began to expand her footprint on my beloved MSNBC network.  She is our “rational conservative” and has even been given her own daily show.  But when she was sitting in on Morning Joe on Friday for Joe and Mika, she got a little excited when she led the Battle Royal style attack on Roy Moore over the news that he liked to get little teenage girls up to his house in the woods and get their clothes off when he was in his 30’s.  It’s a sensational story and upsetting on many levels but Nicole got rolling and unloaded this one:

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No woman EVER lies about being harassed or assaulted!  When a woman says she has been harassed or assaulted, she is to be believed!  Why would any woman lie about such a thing and have their lives torn apart by making the accusation?” (sic)

Let me be clear:  I know where she is coming from.  One of the very worst characteristics of our nihilistic and misogynistic culture is the old school reflex to say that a woman is lying when she reports being sexually victimized by a man who is well-known and well liked.  But Nicole went several steps too far by making this kind of an absolute statement on this issue.

The reality is that people lie sometimes and the reasons why people lie vary widely.  Sometimes they lie for attention.  Sometimes they lie for revenge.  Sometimes they lie for opportunity.  Sometimes they lie to make excuses for failing.  And sometimes people just lie because they are crazy.  With that being said, it is obvious that Leigh Corfman is NOT lying.

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The fact that she is telling the truth is established beyond any reasonable doubt because Roy Moore is a trained attorney and has a team of trained attorneys working for him.  His entire team of legal professionals surely helped to craft his formal statement in response to the story and the truth is revealed in what he DIDN’T say.  He DIDN’T say he did not know or never met Ms. Corfman.  He DIDN’T say they never had a relationship.  He DIDN’T deny the specific allegations that she made.  He just attacked the liberal media conspiracy and offered the defense that “if I did do it, why didn’t y’all catch me before now?”  Up yours, Roy.  Only an absolute fool would be convinced by any of those lame ass defenses so in the court of public opinion, beyond any doubt- reasonable or not- your ass is guilty.  You tried to put the stones to a 14-year-old girl and it’s just a shame you can’t be prosecuted for it.  At least we now know why Roy has to always carry his trusty pistol- just in case some little girl’s father ran up on his perverted ass on the street one day.

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But Nicole is still wrong.  There is only one fail-safe rule when it comes to judging someone’s account of sexual harassment or assault: DO NOT RUSH TO JUDGMENT- either to condemn or to defend.  That is how we screw up in our public discourse in these hyper-partisan times:  we are so anxious to support a narrative that upholds our biases that we can’t speak in practical terms.  Being an honest broker sometimes means saying you don’t know but confessing your leanings and acknowledging how those leanings may impact your judgment. Trying to convince people that you have no leanings and that you really do believe that you can make chicken salad out of chicken shit makes you look like a fool and undermines your credibility.

Human beings have our biases but the more evolved we are the greater the command we have over them.  It would be perfectly appropriate for a Republican Senator to say that he wished there was a way that Roy Moore could disprove the allegations or at least dispel the doubts they raise about his character.  Knowing full well that his pathway to doing either is slim and none and slim left the building the instant his campaign issued that ridiculous statement.  Saying “IF these allegations are true he should step aside or withdraw” is a platitude that is almost as impractical and marginal as Nicole’s “every woman is to be believed” without ANY assessment of the situation beyond just hearing the accusations.  Making such an absolute statement is like putting a mouse in a snake’s cage and acting like you don’t know it’s about to die.  But you didn’t kill it- you just dropped it in the cage.

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Only Roy Moore and Ms. Corfman know for a fact what happened.  I happen to find her account credible in its entirety because of the details that she provided and her explanation for why she has spoken up so many years later.  Her willingness to expose herself to the searing attacks and withering criticism she is getting in her hometown as a result is a fact that I find persuasive as well.  But Nicole needs to chill out.  I hate to hit her with some unfortunate perspective from the vault of history but I gotta do what I gotta do.  It was not too long ago in this country where thousands of black men over several decades were arrested, jailed, tortured and executed- sometimes by the law and sometimes by an angry vigilante lynch mob- based on the false testimony of a woman claiming he raped her.

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It is a sensitive subject but it is one that we cannot forget.  So I agree with Nicole that the reflex to defend a man against charges of sexual misconduct by assailing a woman’s character is wrong.  But I disagree that it is any better to replace it with the reflex to condemn a man.  It just so happens that in this case, this man is guilty as hell.

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