The main attraction in this new segment from Showtime’s Who Is America is definitely the bit where Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as his kryptonite-to-Republicans Israeli anti-terrorist expert Erran Morad, demonstrates a top-of-the-line Israeli “pedophile detector” to onetime Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. You can probably tell where this is going, so let’s cut to the chase:
It’s a big comic moment, so big that Moore pretty quickly realizes he’s being had, but Cohen manages to convey embarrassment and distress at the pedophile detector’s “malfunction” well enough that Moore stays in the chair a lot longer than he probably should. But the most telling part is earlier in the interview, when Moore unintentionally reveals some pretty big blind spots when it comes to his state’s history:
Sacha Baron Cohen: Why [does] Alabama have this strong connection with Israel?
Roy Moore: It’s just, Alabama has always been a state that valued freedom, that valued liberty …
SBC: Of course.
RM: And appreciated what people went through to get it. And I think that …
SBC: Alabama has always been a place for equality.
RM: It has. And we’ve, we’ve, celebrated throughout our history things like this.
SBC: In Alabama, people have always been free, whatever their religion, or race, or sexuality …
RM: Well, it’s part of our heritage.
In any other country, that would mark the end of Roy Moore’s political career. Of course, in any other country, being credibly accused of dating teenagers would also have marked the end of Roy Moore’s political career. Roy Moore’s entire political career consists of doing things that should have ended his political career, and yet we all know this isn’t the last we’ll hear of him. The most telling thing about the segment, more than anything Moore said, is the fact that he sat down for this interview to begin with; that he believed, and not incorrectly, that there were people who wanted to hear more from him. If you’re trying to figure out who America is, that seems like a pretty good place to start.