Washington • Stephen Moore, one of President Trump’s many exotic picks to staff the federal government, declared this week that his opponents are “pulling a Kavanaugh against me.”
Moore, Trump's pick for the Federal Reserve Board, is so convinced he is being treated like Brett Kavanaugh, whose Supreme Court confirmation was marred by sexual-misconduct allegations, that he reportedly hired a PR firm that helped Kavanaugh.
Any day now, Moore will appear before the Senate Banking Committee, sniff prominently, turn pages furiously and testify thunderously: “I LIKE QUANTITATIVE EASING!”
But there is a key difference. In Moore’s case, the enemy is … Moore — specifically, what he wrote 15 to 20 years ago for conservative outlets such as National Review.
Now CNN, The New York Times and others are reprinting Moore's greatest hits, including his joke about how he potty-trained his son by "pasting a photo of Hillary Clinton with a bullseye target on the bottom of the potty." And his hilarious tale about showing his children pictures of the "mangled and bloody" corpses of Saddam Hussein's sons with the message "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO KIDS THAT GROW UP TO BE DEMOCRATS!" And the riotous bit about him "hitting on" a "gorgeous 20-something blond," then telling his concerned son "how nice it would be if you had a much younger mommy."
He's in town all week, folks!
In other writings, Moore defended misbehavior on college campuses: "If [women] were so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys, why is it that on Friday nights they showed up in droves in tight skirts to the keg parties?" He reserved particular derision for his wife. After she voted Democratic, he wrote: "Women are sooo malleable! No wonder there's a gender gap."
Moore is now divorced from her — and was held in contempt of court in 2013 for failing to pay more than $300,000 in child support. There's a tax lien against his home because he owes the Internal Revenue Service $75,000.
In other words, Moore should fit in perfectly with his fellow Trump appointees.
I’m fascinated by the je ne sais quoi that mutually attracts Trump and an endless parade of oddballs. Just before Moore’s writings resurfaced, another Trump pick for the Fed, Herman Cain, withdrew from consideration after the revival of sexual harassment allegations dogging the pizza magnate and “9-9-9 Plan” originator.
Trump's 2016 campaign chief is doing time in federal prison for international criminality. Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, of Stormy Daniels and taxi-medallion fame, is headed to prison, too. Numerous aides have come to grief — Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Tom Price, Ronny Jackson — after discovering they couldn't get away with stuff the boss does.
For important jobs, Trump has seen fit to tap the unfit — a cabana boy, a party planner, a bartender, a muffler-shop guy, a judicial nominee who didn't know the law. (Trump's previous attorney general had recently pitched hot tubs.) Even the qualified tend to depart in disgrace: John Kelly, Gary Cohn, Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson, Kirstjen Nielsen. Now comes Attorney General William Barr, already trashing his reputation with his dishonest unveiling of the Mueller report.
I have some sympathy for Moore and what The New York Times called his "attempts at humor." My entire career might be so labeled. But now he's sacrificing his integrity like many others, serving a president whose immigration policies he once called "extreme nativist," "crazy" and "dangerous."
Among Moore's writings were parodies of year-end letters to friends in which he referred to himself in the third person. One shudders to imagine this year's version:
Steve had a rough year. First came news that he didn’t pay child support or his taxes. And for some reason, people didn’t think his jokes about mangled corpses and urinating on Hillary Clinton were funny. Wet blankets! Anyway, the really bad news came when the Senate had to confirm Steve, and — of all the rotten luck — 24 senators, including seven Republicans, turned out to be women. Ewww!
The senators didn't like Steve's claim that female tennis pros "want equal pay for inferior work" or him calling it an "obscenity" for women to referee men's games. ("Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?" Steve asked.) They didn't join his cry for "no more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer vendors, no women anything" — unless they "look like Bonnie Bernstein," a sportscaster who, Steve wrote, should wear halter tops.
Now Steve is enjoying the private sector. He didn’t get the Fed job, but the publicity earned him a consolation prize: a vacation from women.
Dana Milbank is a Washington Post op-ed columnist. He sketches the foolish, the fallacious and the felonious in politics.