SAY WHAT? - The shiny, sordid, calamitous political spectacle and immorality tale that is Herschel Walker's Senate campaign is still unspooling after the predictable revelation the hard-core "pro-life" philanderer with (at least) three covert kids paid for a girlfriend's abortion, and likely more than one. Despite his campaign's dubious boast that Walker's messy, violent, fabrication-filled past reflects his "commitment to excellence," his effort to unseat the decorous and competent incumbent Raphael Warnock to flip Georgia - and possibly, scarily the Senate - back to red has been a train wreck of lies, gaffes, dodges and unintelligible word saladabout China's bad air stealing our good air because, no, obviously, as a psycopathic loser he is not fit to serve tea, never mind in Congress, but since when has that stopped Republicans? On Monday, The Daily Beast's meticulously documented bombshell charged that Walker - a rabid fan of forced birth who's repeatedly said he's never abetted an abortion and who's dismissed exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of a mother as “excuses” - paid for a 2009 abortion for a woman he got pregnant. Walker, unmarried at the time, told the woman it wasn't "the right time for him to have a child"; he failed to tell her he'd already fathered a child that year with someone else. The woman told Daily Beast that after months of hearing Walker compare abortion to murder, "I just can't with the hypocrisy anymore."
"This is a flat-out lie," Walker, or more probably a more articulate aide, shot back. "I deny this in the strongest possible terms." He called the story "slander," "defamatory," "disgusting gutter politics," and another "repugnant hatchet job" by “a Democrat activist disguised as a reporter.” He also vowed to sue Daily Beast the next day; oddly, he hasn't yet, maybe because they had independently corroborated the woman's story, and they have receipts! The story includedthe woman's $575 receipt from the abortion clinic and the bank deposit image of a signed $700 personal check from Walker; she attributed the discrepancy to having "ball-parked" the cost. The check was inside a “Get Well card with a steaming cup of tea that read, “Rest, Relax," and inside, "Recover.” (Also, keep this card.) Since the Senate campaign started, the woman said, Walker surrogates have been pestering her to publicly vouch for his character. She declined, possibly feeling hesitant about championing a serial liar and domestic abuser who in 2005 held a gun to his then-wife Cindy Grossman's head and threatened to blow her brains out; she got a restraining order against her long-abusive husband, who she then divorced. Walker has attributed several past acts of violence to a diagnosis of "dissociative identity disorder," known as multiple personality disorder; in a 2008 interview, he said he's blocked out that incident, but, "If I can remember it, I'll talk about it."
Of course the party of personal responsibility has gently but firmly urged that Walker be held accountable for his past lapses in judgment. Just kidding. Despite screaming red flags and the latest, seemingly damning charge, the right seems poised to keep cheering him on - even though, notes, Chris Hayes: "In the moral cosmology of Herschel Walker and Republicans, Herschel paid to have his child murdered." Reports have surfaced his team - maybe everyone in Georgia - knew about this and likely other abortions; as a rich, famous football player, said one (unnamed) aide, he was "obviously spreading his seed." But GOP groups, bless their pliable morality, have reaffirmed their support. Some cite the Access Hollywood Tape and the survival of Walker's orange mentor, who says he's still sure "Herschel has greatness in his future," just like him. Others call it "old news," which, if you truly believe abortion is murder, "seems pretty out of step with the moral framework you profess to ascribe to." The head of the GOP's Senatorial Committee said Dems "have tried to stir up nonsense about (his) past (to) distract from what's happening in the present." Rick Scott said Dems are losing so "they lie and cheat and smear their opponents." GOP pundit Kurt Schlichter, who rants that, “In the future, people are going to recoil in horror at our tolerance of abortion” and "Abortion Is Killing," said, "Let's assume it's true. Don't care," because abortion is apparently only evil if you can nail women or liberals for it.
Amidst the dodging and ass-covering and but-what-about-ing responses, the most stunning, in-your-face reaction came from bloodless reptile and former NRA ghoul Dana Loesch, who for once told the brutal truth about right-wing priorities. On her radio show, she at first offered up a lame rationale for her indifference to the Walker storm, arguing his lone abortion pales before the carnage that would be Warnock's acceptance of endless, taxpayer-funded abortions. But she quickly dropped the sheen of logic and went straight to the ugly heart of things: Power by any means necessary, at whatever cost, and never mind the blather about abortion being murder. If the Daily Beast story is true, she coolly posited, "You're telling me Walker used his money to reportedly pay some skank for an abortion, and Warnock wants to use all of our monies to pay a whole bunch of skanks for abortions." "Does this change anything?" she rhetorically asked. "Not a damn thing." "How many times have i said four very important words...winning is a virtue," she went on. "I am concerned about one thing, and one thing only at this point. So I don't care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate."
So far the most visible Walker supporter to turn on him is the only kid he's acknowledged: His 23-year-old son Christian, a brassy, wounded, theatrical, right-wing troll and "gay black man in Cartier and Gucci who was two-time world-champion competitive cheerleader with a six-pack and perfectly plucked eyebrows," almost a million online followers, and an "anti-woke" podcast called "Uncancellable." Declaring, "I'm done," the son of the wife Walker held a gun to has blasted his absent, abusive father in a series of furious, mournful posts that have made him the face of not just a political unraveling but - like Oz, we're not a doctor but play one on TV - a weird, pained psychodrama. “My mom and I would really appreciate if my (father) stopped lying and making a mockery of us,” he wrote. "You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.” Then, "I don't care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability. But (you've) lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples lives. How dare you.” Then, “He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them. He was out having sex with other women. Everything has beena lie...It was lie after lie after lie, and you knew it." From the party of personal responsibility: "This is a deeply disturbed kid with obvious issues (and) is solely to blame if Herschel loses the race." From an actual person: Whatever you think of both these guys, it's "a human tragedy" said party won't recognize "their nominee may just be a bad person."
The morning after the abortion story broke, the very probably bad person attended a closed-to-press "worship and luncheon with Herschel Walker" at Atlanta's First Baptist Church organized by "Prayer Warriors for Herschel"; it was hosted by Senior Pastor Anthony George, who in February welcomed Walker to a Q&A session where he assured congregants, "I'm not just going to Washington, I'm taking Jesus with me." The megachurch is one of several that have supported him during the campaign, even though - see "church" and "state" - it's probably illegal. Noting "a storm is raging outside these walls," George read from Psalm 35: "Oh Lord, oppose those who oppose me...Put on your armor, and take up your shield." The night before, Walker had appearedon Hannity, who actually grilled him about the story. Hannity: "Do you know this woman?" Walker, lamely: "I have no idea, but it is a flat-out lie and now you know how important this seat is." "Did you send her $700?" "I send money to so many people (just not his kids)." "Is that your signature on the card?" "I haven't seen it, but I send out so many get well...so much of anything." In his big finale, he vowed to fight even harder - "No weapon formed against me shall prosper" - because it wouldn't be right "to have someone in the seat that lies to the people." Umm. Warnock has since remainedquiet, but Walker, who doesn't know when to STFU, just released a new ad with soothing musak. Warnock, he charges is "running a nasty, dishonest campaign...(He's) a preacher who doesn't tell the truth." The ad's title: "Grace." It should be "Chutzpah."
Update: The woman who had the abortion, who Walker has said he doesn't know, has now told Daily Beast she also had a child with him. Wait, what? In response to the report about this particular kid - and news the child’s mother had to take him to court for a declaration of paternity and child support - Walker denied his earlier admission he fathered three other kids, persuasively arguing, "When they said I had kids that I was hiding...they’re saying oh, some alleged woman, somebody that you used to know and you know so well, and this and that...I know this is untrue, and I know it’s untrue, and they keep telling me things like that, and it’s totally, totally untrue, and I’m not sure why that would be told." Yeah, sure, we want this guy in Congress making decisions for us.
(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email: [email protected])