Just when you are convinced hypocrisy is John Merrill's most unattractive quality, along comes evidence that his hubris is off the charts.
Merrill, a Republican U.S. Senate hopeful for 2020, made national news last week when he declared America is experiencing moral rot because of a "preoccupation with homosexual activities" and "wife-swap TV shows." Merrill went on to claim the loss of TV shows from yesteryear -- such as "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza" -- has caused the country's broken moral compass to spiral off a cliff.
Merrill's latest salvo involves coverage of the U.S. National Women's soccer team, which won the World Cup with the assistance of several key members who are gay. In essence, Merrill seems to be claiming that Americans, in 2019, can't handle knowing that Megan Rapinoe is openly gay.
Where does hypocrisy enter the picture? Well, Merrill made these comments at a GOP gathering in Fort Payne (home to the famed country band Alabama) in the state's northeast corner (DeKalb County). Merrill went into familiar self-righteous, Bible-thumping, right-wing mode even though he admitted in 2015 to an "extramarital sexual encounter" with a Tuscaloosa woman named Millie Brinyark, who stated in a divorce-case deposition (under oath) that she provided Merrill, currently Alabama's secretary of state, with oral sex -- among other services.
As you can see, Merrill is a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of character -- the kind Alabama has a special talent for producing. But, by golly, he's an arrogant prick, too -- and that leads us to hubris.
Yellowhammer News, in its coverage of Merrill's comments at Fort Payne, reported that he is needed in the U.S. Senate to help "save the republic." We're not joking -- and that comment is ironic because Merrill's own party controls the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Supreme Court, state appellate courts, most federal courts in the Deep South, and pretty much every branch of Alabama government.
In other words, Merrill is part of the team that is leading us straight to hell, but Merrill (and Merrill alone) can save us. A guy has to be pretty full of himself to make a statement like that. But that's what John Merrill said -- when he took a moment from his self-appointed TV-reviewing duties. From the Yellowhammer News report:
Merrill pledged that he and his wife Cindy were willing to face the scrutiny of what is likely to be a very competitive statewide campaign.
“One of my friends asked me, he said, ‘John, are you prepared to go through what you’re going to have to go through if you run for the United States Senate,’” Merrill said. “He asked me this on the Sunday before the Tuesday. He said, ‘Are you prepared for the attacks that you’ll face and that Cindy will face? Are you prepared to stand up and fight against that? Is it worth it to you to go through what you’re going to have to go through and pay the price to make it happen? Is it worth it?’”
“’And I said, ‘Ron, let me ask you a question,’” he continued. “He said, ‘OK.’ I said, ‘Is the republic worth it? Is the republic worth it? It is worth it to me. And I know it is worth it to y’all and that’s why there is a room full today because y’all understand it. We have got to stand and push back, and continue to fight and support the president and to make these changes that we have to make in order to protect and defend our country as we have known it to be or it will cease to be that way.”
I've got to hand it to Merrill in one regard. He does not seem to be a big fan of Donald Trump. In fact, he insinuates that Mr. Cheeto Face is putting our republic at risk. I agree with Merrill on that one, so it will be interesting to see if he runs a full-blown anti-Trump campaign -- and if it plays well in bloody red Alabama.
Heck, even "AOC and The Squad" surely agree that Trump is flushing our democracy down the toilet. But they should sleep easier tonight -- as should all of us -- knowing that John Merrill stands ready to save the republic.
(Note: If you are looking for intellectual consistency, you won't find it with John Merrill. While he seems to be admitting, at first glance the republic is going down the tubes on Trump's watch, he also told his audience in Fort Payne that "We have got to stand and push back, and continue to fight and support the president . . . So, Merrill declares, Trump is part of the solution, not the problem. Whew, glad we got that worked out.)