Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

John Oliver drives a Roy Moore-sized stake through the heart of GOP cowardice on Last Week Tonight

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (Screenshot: HBO)

On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver made mention of Monday’s rumored indictments in Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s quietly ticking investigation into that whole Trump-Russia thing. (“Please let it be Jared, please let it be Jared,” prayed Oliver in passing, anticipating, no doubt, some juicy footage of the son-in-law of a sitting president openly weeping and looking around for his unearned privilege to save him.) And, yeah, no doubt whatever happens on Monday is going to figure pretty heavily in next week’s Last Week Tonight, no matter who takes the first perp walk. But Oliver spent some time in his opening examining those Republicans who—while unlikely to be rung up by Mueller any time soon—have undoubtedly enabled a racist, irrational, hair-trigger dum-dum and his cronies to run roughshod over American governmental norms. To prove his point that, in order to secure those billionaire-boosting tax cuts that give big GOP donors their only Viagra-less boners, the Republican Party establishment is willing to abandon any semblance of “compassionate conservatism,” “constitutional conservatism,” or plain “not being hypocritical ghouls willing to sell out literally everyone not in a position to help them stay in power,” Oliver needed only to point to the candidacy of one Roy Moore.

Running for racist gremlin Jeff Sessions’ old Alabama senate seat, Moore is, as Oliver puts it, “a lot.” What with his penchant for dressing up as a cowboy, complete with actual, loaded gun at his campaign rallies, his references to different races by their stereotypical skin colors, and that time Moore suggested that 9/11 was God’s punishment against the rest of America for not being the bigoted old gasbag he is. Oh, and his stump speech poetry railing against “dumpster babies,” and when he said that Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, should not be sworn in because of his religion. Or, hey, how about his grimy public tendency to equate homosexuality with fucking donkeys. (Something he’s clearly given a good deal of thought to.) Or the fact that, as a justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore was removed from office—twice—for putting his own cornpone, unconstitutional prejudices above the laws he was supposed to uphold. As Oliver notes, while Moore hasn’t actually kicked a panda in the nuts or “called Tom Hanks the N-word,” would you really be surprised if he did?

(Screenshot: HBO)

Thankfully, as Oliver stated, the Republican establishment has been quick to denounce Moore’s obviously atavistic, hateful nonsense in a patriotic demonstration that, no matter how low Donald Trump tries to bring this nation’s rhetoric and public policy, there are some depths to which the GOP will not sink in pursuit of power. “I’m obviously kidding,” said Oliver, not breaking his stride as he went on to explain that not only has the RNC endorsed Moore in his December 12 contest against not-reprehensible Democratic challenger Doug Jones, but several high-profile Republican senators like Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT) have actively campaigned on his behalf.


As for others in the GOP, Oliver showed how a suspicious outbreak of proclaimed ignorance is how Republican senators like John Cornyn (R-TX), Dean Heller (R-NV), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tim Scott (R-SC) are attempting to dodge the sticky issue of supporting a known bigot and noted jackass. Oliver’s rundown of the candidates’ statements all claiming not to know anything about this crucial senate race involving a member of their own party is a molar-grinding illustration of partisan spinelessness (and truly amateurish lying, frankly).

As Oliver concludes, Moore’s overtly white supremacist, homophobic candidacy puts to bed any claim the current Republican Party has to being above allying itself with literally anyone or anything that will help them pad their bank accounts. Quoting the mealy-mouthed Cornyn’s claim that he doesn’t have to support every shitty thing Roy Moore believes in order to snag one more vote in favor of making billionaires unnecessary billions, Oliver posits that, should a sentient swarm of diseased bees gain a Republican nomination, the official Republican response will be staunchly pro-“Senator All-Those-Bees,” as long as he (they?) vote for the cash.

Since Last Week Tonight has yet to upload the Roy Moore-centric portion of Sunday’s episode by press time, here’s last night’s segment on flood insurance which, while not a racist, gun-wavin’ racist ding-dong, is pretty screwed up as well. Also: To donate to Alabama Democratic senate candidate Doug Jones (who is not, also at press time, known to be a hive of racist bees), here’s the place.


Share This Story

About the author

Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.