Jeff Flake is out, and Roy Moore is in. Heaven help us.
WASHINGTON -- Out: Jeff Flake.
In: Roy Moore.
This week brought a clarifying moment in the sad denouement of the once-proud GOP into an organ of grievance and intolerance. Flake, a Republican from Arizona, said he was retiring from the Senate. This honorable man and faithful conservative followed another good man, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in concluding that there is no place for their service in Trump's America.
Yet even as Flake bowed out Tuesday, Senate Republicans were tightening the party's inevitable embrace of the new: Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore, who after his GOP primary win is very likely to be the next senator from Alabama. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., a longtime leader in his party's race to the bottom, issued a statement Tuesday endorsing Moore. Two other senators reportedly will hold a fundraiser for Moore, and GOP leadership, with its silence, is tacitly accepting that Moore is its man.
The torch was passed. This is no longer the GOP of Flake, who carried the flame for Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. It's not even Donald Trump's; he was just using it. The GOP is now the party of Roy Moore.
In the spirit of those "in and out" features my newspaper colleagues do at year's end, lets look at what's "out" in the GOP -- the sentiments voiced by Flake in his moving speech Tuesday -- and what's "in" -- some of the memorable words of Moore.
Out: "I rise today with no small measure of regret, regret because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse."
In: "Homosexual behavior is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one's ability to describe it. ... [T]he homosexual conduct of a parent -- conduct involving a sexual relationship between two persons of the same gender -- creates a strong presumption of unfitness that alone is sufficient justification for denying that parent custody."
Out: "When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it, goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society."
In: Moore: "Do you know that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast, is prohibited in every state?"