|Raynard Jackson is a Republican political consultant based in Washington, DC. He has been involved in every Republican presidential campaign from George H. W. Bush to George W. Bush|
After a phenomenal election last November in which Republicans increased their margins in the House and took control of the Senate, the expectation was that congressional Republicans would prove to the country that they could lead like mature adults. But as the adage goes, “they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
Specifically, House speaker John Boehner and the rest of his leadership team had a great opportunity to show that they understood the optics of 21st century politics. Two weeks ago, it was reported that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the No. 3 person in the GOP House leadership, had addressed a group of White supremacists in 2002.
I think Scalise could have survived the fact that he attended this racist gathering simply by being honest about the fact that he attended and it was a huge mistake. He could have asserted that his body of work in public office has proven that his views are not consistent with what the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) represent.
He still would have taken some heat in the media for a few weeks, but it would have gone away. But no, Scalise’s initial response by his spokeswoman, Moira Bagley was, “he [Scalise] was unaware at the time of the group’s ideology and its association with racists and neo-Nazi activists…throughout his career in public service Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints…In every case, he was building support for his policies, not the other way around…In 2002, he made himself available to anyone who wanted to hear his proposal to eliminate slush funds that wasted millions of taxpayer dollars as well as his opposition to a proposed tax increase on middle-class families…He has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question…The hate-fueled ignorance and intolerance that group projects is in stark contradiction to what Mr. Scalise believes and practices as a father, a husband, and a devoted Catholic.”
In politics it is said that the cover-up is worse than the original sin. The Scalise affair is Exhibit A.
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