New allegations about Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore continue to roll like like Crimson Tide.
At the same time so are charges, complete with photographic evidence, about U.S. Sen. Al Franken. D-Minn.
Meanwhile, we're getting the first details of a secret "Shush Fund" that for more than two decades has been shelling out taxpayer money to quietly "settle" allegations against Members of Congress. No wonder they call it "the swamp."
For Republicans, the Roy Moore saga is a multitude of problems.
Politically, there aren't many good options for the GOP. With a scant two vote majority in the Senate, there's very little "wiggle room" for Republicans who badly need to get legislation, starting with tax reform, passed.
Despite that fact, there's a growing awareness that the GOP "brand" is also impacted by what goes on in Alabama. As a result, there are a growing number of Republicans who have called on Moore to "step aside."
They include U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who told Meet the Press last Sunday that he thought Moore should leave the race.
He suggested that current U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who lost the primary to Moore, could be a write-in candidate. Several other Republicans have followed Toomey's call.
There's a very practical problem with simply having Moore step aside. Even if Moore decides to give up his candidacy, which is far from likely, his name will remain on the ballot.
We're already past the point when ballots can be changed. Under Alabama law, names can't be added or deleted from the ballot within 76 days of an election.
The special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney Jeff General Sessions is scheduled for December 12. Ballots were printed and distributed a month ago when absentee voting began in the Yellowhammer State.
Without the ability to substitute candidates, the options are very limited. Some have talked about a write-in candidacy.
That's a Herculean task under the best of circumstances. There are multiple practical problems. Without detailing each of them, proof of the difficulty is that no Alabaman has ever won a statewide race through a write-in.
Others have suggested that the date of the special election be changed.
While Gov. Kay Ivey apparently has the legal power to do that, she has given no indication that she'd even consider such an extraordinary move. In any event, how would changing the date change things? Bad news doesn't improve with age.
Another theory that being tested by some in Washington, is to have Strange resign his seat, declare the special election scheduled for Dec. 12 as null and void and schedule a new special election for the seat then opened by Strange's resignation.
Whether or not that's a legally plausible scenario remains to be seen. At best it's a last gasp approach.
But gasping means there's still life.
That leaves things in the hands of Alabama voters. If they elect Moore, there's not much question that he must then be seated.
Moore meets the constitutional requirements and the election would be valid. Those are the only reasons the Constitution provides for refusal to seat someone.
The question then becomes whether or not the Senate would seek to expel him.
Expulsion is an extraordinary action and it overrules the express wishes of the voters. As a result the process requires a two-thirds vote. That's a very high bar.
The bigger question is whether or not the Senate would act on allegations of behavior that occurred prior to Moore being in the Senate.
I'm willing to be corrected, but I can't think of any senator who's been expelled for something they did prior to their election.
The theory is that acts or alleged acts that occurred before a senator got elected is an issue for the voters to decide. Once a senator is in office, the theory continues, voters don't have that opportunity, so the full Senate acts in their stead.
The last time a senator was expelled was more than a century and a half ago. Pledging allegiance to the Confederacy was enough to get you thrown out.
The House has expelled Members more recently.
The late Ohio congressman, Jim "Beam Me Up" Traficant, was expelled 15 years ago after his bribery conviction.
If Moore is elected, seated and then expelled, it'll be up to Ivey, a Republican, to appoint his successor.
What becomes of Franken, in this context will be interesting. His conduct was also before he took office, but voters didn't know about it at the time of his election.
Moore's political fortunes don't look good from here, but they may be brighter in the heart of Dixie.
Alabama hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate in a quarter of a century (and he switched to Republican after his election).
However, some polls now show Moore trailing the Democrat, Doug Jones, and some by double digit margins. Other polls show down-the-middle results on the question of whether he should even stay in the race.
President Donald Trump hasn't said much about Moore's candidacy. He supported Luther Strange over Moore in the primary election. He might figure that's enough said.
Let's start with what should be obvious: Obamacare has failed.
It never did what it promised.The affordable Care Act wasn't so affordable. Premiums and deductibles skyrocketed while patient choice and care plummeted.
Former President Bill Clinton said Obamacare was "the craziest thing in the world." That was in the midst of last year's presidential election.
For years some Democrats publicly called Obamacare "a train wreck." Privately many others expressed similar thoughts.
Today you'll be hard pressed to find a Democrat who won't say that Obamacare is "flawed" and needs to be repaired.
They voted for Obamacare, and now their best defense of this failed program is that it needs major overhaul.
That's from moderate Democrats. The farther left variety are calling for "single-payer" schemes. That's shorthand for universal government healthcare coverage.
Many who opposed Obamacare from the start believed that the ultimate goal of its proponents, who knew it was bound to eventually collapse under its own weight, was to replace it with a "single-payer" program for all Americans (already in place for Medicare as well as healthcare for veterans and Native Americans).
It took massive amounts of arm-twisting and back-room dealing to get Obamacare through in the first place.
Remember the "Louisiana Purchase" that swung one key vote and the "Cornhusker Kickback" that provided the last vote necessary to get Obamacare through an overwhelmingly Democratic congress?
Once passed we got to learn what was in the bill, as U.S. House Minority Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had suggested. As layers were peeled back, the rot of the core was long ago exposed.
Republicans, meanwhile promised to repeal and replace Obamacare.They ran on that platform in 2010, the first congressional elections since the passage of Obamacare.They won landslide victories and took control of Congress.
For the last seven years they've repeated the "repeal and replace" promise with great political success. They repeatedly passed repeal legislation, knowing that it faced a presidential veto.
The 2016 presidential election heard cries of "repeal and replace" both from candidate Donald Trump and GOP congressional candidates.
Their voices were amplified by reports in the waning days of the campaign about the soaring costs of Obamacare and the shrinking choices available as providers pocketed out of market after market.
Those promises helped give the Republicans everything they asked for--control of both houses of congress and the presidency.
January's gleefulness has given way to the mid-summer blues as legislative attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare have faltered and failed.
Last week the Senate plan came to a screeching halt. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's, R-Ky., thin margin evaporated when Republican Sens. Mike Lee, of Utah, and Jerry Moran, of Kansas, joined their GOP colleagues, Sens. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, and Susan Collins, of Maine, in opposing the bill.
It's likely that there were other Republicans willing to bolt, too.
None wanted to be the "vote that killed health care reform" hence the coupon line of Moran and Lee once Paul and Collins left only one vote to kill the measure.
With their defections went the opportunity to repeal crushing taxes, get premiums and deductibles under control, begin stabilizing individual health care markets and expand consumer choices.
The chance to reform half century old Medicaid, offered by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. and get its runaway costs--growing faster than the national economy--under control went out the window, too, at least for the time being.
President Donald Trump, in a Captain Obvious moment, observed that, "If the Republicans have the House and have the Senate and have the presidency and can't pass the health care bill they are going to look weak."
Trump isn't famous for understatement, so his choice of words is telling.
This was a failure, pure and simple. Whether it can be corrected and how much long-term damage has been done to taxpayers, patients and the Republican brand remains to be seen.
I'm a glass half-full guy; an eternal optimist. So like many others, I'll be looking carefully at the effort to put up for a vote--even if there no great likelihood of success--a repeal bill.
Any senator who casts a procedural vote to keep the measure from the floor should be viewed as voting to keep Obamacare in place. The blame for the disaster that ensues will be there's, not placed on those who wanted to keep their promise to voters.
Something very good could come from such a vote. It will put every member of the Senate on record. Twenty-five Democrats will have to take that record to their voters next year.
Included in that number are 10 who hail from states carried by Trump. Some are states he carried by huge margins like the 42 percent margin in West Virginia. Requiring those Senators to tell their constituents exactly where they stand might have a very positive effect.
Most folks don't care much about legislative process or the nuances of proposed statutory language. But they know what they were promised and they know what they voted for.
They gave the Republicans a mandate and they want it fulfilled. There's still an opportunity to do that.