Hoo boy. Rep. Vance McAllister has probably had better weeks, hasn't he?
It got worse on Thursday, as the top luminaries within the GOP in his home state of Louisiana have broken out the pointiest of sharp sticks with which to assail their colleague. The latest to call for McAllister's ouster was none other than two-term state Governor (and presidential wannabe) Bobby Jindal:
“Congressman McAllister’s behavior is an embarrassment and he should resign,” Jindal said in a statement released by his office Thursday afternoon. “He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress.”Jindal's statement came less than a day after the chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party also called for McAllister's resignation.
All of this becomes a bit smirk worthy, of course, to anyone with a sense of recent history as it relates to Louisiana Republicans and sexual scandal. Like ... oh, I dunno ... this guy:
Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, whose telephone number was disclosed by the so-called "D.C. Madam" accused of running a prostitution ring, says he is sorry for a "serious sin" and that he has already made peace with his wife.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said Monday in a printed statement. "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."
You will recall, of course, that no such sharp knives were laid out for Senator Vitter when his aberrant behavior came to light seven years ago. This is especially notable when one considers that in the spectrum of scandalous behavior, Vitter's event seems quite a bit worse than McAllister's.
There are two key differences here, both of which point to the absolutely rank hypocrisy of the Louisiana Republican leadership in this case.
First of all, part of this is a simple matter of the cliquishness that often accompanies professional politics. David Vitter was protected by the Republicans in general, and Louisiana's GOP leadership in particular, because they liked him and respected him.
McAllister, on the other hand, lacked the long and symbiotic history Vitter enjoyed with the Louisiana GOP. Quite the opposite: his ascendancy to the House came at the expense of the state establishment, who watched their preferred candidate (state Sen. Neil Riser) fall to defeat. Furthermore, while far from a moderate, McAllister had fought the GOP (and, by extension, Jindal) on the issue of Medicaid expansion.
McAllister's "outsider" street cred might have paid dividends last fall, but it may well be his undoing now.
What's more: the Louisiana GOP may have felt, back in 2007, that they simply had no choice but to defend Vitter. After all, a resignation then would have meant that Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, could appoint Vitter's successor. And, in what was then a narrow 51-49 Senate Democratic majority, conceding another seat to the Democrats was probably a nonstarter at both the national and local level.
In McAllister's case, none of this is a concern. He would be replaced by a special election in a markedly Republican district. Not only would he be replaced by a Republican, he would presumably be replaced by one who is more likely to be an establishment favorite (indeed, some names were already percolating by midweek).
All of which points to the essential ingredients of this sudden and convenient outrage among Louisiana's GOP stalwarts: they can look like they are taking the moral high ground (even when they have pointedly failed to do so in the past), and they solve a political problem in the same shot.
It's clever politics. Rank hypocrisy, to be sure. But clever politics, nevertheless.