Big League Politics is making the case that establishment Republicans are behind the Washington Post’s allegations that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore had multiple romantic relationships with teenage girls in the 1970s, when Moore was single and in his early 30s.
Patrick Howley, the editor-in-chief of Big League Politics, is claiming that Tim Miller, who served as communications director for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential bid, “pitched” the Moore allegations to Post reporter Beth Reinhard. He offers as proof a text in which Miller not only questions Moore’s fitness for office, but also brags that “Beth” is “good to work with.” While Miller does not specify exactly how she is “good to work with,” Beth Reinhard is one of the principal Post reporters who wrote the articles alleging improper behavior by Moore.
Miller denies the accusations. He told Breitbart News, “I had no involvement in pitching the Washington Post story or any others where women spoke out about Judge Moore.” He added that “there is no truth to it.”
Miller and Reinhard got to know each other during the unsuccessful Bush campaign, which began in 2015. Miller’s role as the campaign’s communications director led to his development of a professional relationship with Reinhard, as she was the embedded reporter in the Bush campaign for the Wall Street Journal at the time.
Howley, however, made his case against Miller. “These text messages reveal a few things: the Republican Establishment’s relationship with the Post’s anti-Moore coverage, the cunning of writer Charles Johnson [of the conservative GotNews.com, who captured screenshots of text messages beween himself and Miller] in trapping Miller, and former Bush staffer Miller’s cluelessness about how to conduct himself in the world of political subterfuge.” Howley argued that although Miller had denied any involvement in the Post story, “the text messages below leave no doubt as to his involvement.”
Even after Trump had won enough delegates to capture the Republican Party nomination, Miller still fought to deny him the party’s nod, and was regarded as a “Never Trumper.” Salon.com, a left-wing site, has even designated Miller as one of its 25 favorite conservatives.
Miller is also a strong opponent of Moore’s efforts to be elected senator from Alabama, even going as far as donating money to Moore’s liberal Democrat opponent, Doug Jones, and announcing it on Twitter. Miller even bragged to the Associated Press, “Given all the re-tweets, I probably raised more money for Doug Jones than I ever raised for Jeb.”
Miller is now a partner with Matt Rhoades, the manager of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, in Definers Public Affairs. In addition, Miller was a founder of America Rising, a “super PAC” regarded as a Republican establishment group.
Moore has been claiming “collusion” between the GOP establishment, the Democrats, and the media in the allegations against him, allegations that Moore he has denied. Moore has centered these charges against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who openly favored Moore’s primary opponent, Luther Strange. After the Post articles, McConnell even suggested that he “believed the women,” and recommended that Moore drop out of the race. Since then, McConnell has appeared to soften his tone, suggesting that the decision is really up to the voters of Alabama.
Last month, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News charged that the Post articles were a “Republican operative hit on Judge Moore,” arguing that McConnell was actually working with the D.C-based newspaper. “The key thing here is the opposition party is working with establishment Republicans,” he declared.
Bannon contends that establishment Republicans, including McConnell, “would rather be in the minority and control the Republican apparatus.”
This is similar to the thesis advanced by radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, who has compared Republicans who do not fight for conservative principles to the Washington Generals, who used to provide the token opposition to the Harlem Globetrotters exhibition basketball team. The Generals knew they were supposed to lose, Limbaugh explained, but at least they got to be part of the game.
No doubt Bannon, Limbaugh, and Moore are mostly correct in their analysis of the Republican establishment in general, and with McConnell in particular. McConnell defenders, however, do give him high marks for his role in refusing to confirm President Barack Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. Holding the Republicans together for several months, despite intense media agitation to confirm Garland, did allow President Trump to nominate a much better choice, Neal Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court.
But it is also quite clear that McConnell and other establishment Republicans do not relish the thought of an independent-minded Roy Moore occupying a seat in the U.S. Senate, regardless of whether they had any direct role in the Post hit pieces.