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By Robert Mann
For Sen. David Vitter, this one was of those “back to the future” weeks. Senator, welcome to your 2015 Louisiana’s governor’s campaign.
The leaked videotape of U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister smooching with a female staff member in his Monroe office is creating uncomfortable moments for Louisiana’s junior U.S. senator, who says he will run for governor in 2015. Today, however, he was running from reporters and refusing comment about the McAllister scandal.
That’s something he can’t do when he runs for governor next year.
Vitter, as you will recall, was embroiled in a sordid sex scandal in the summer of 2007, finally admitting to a “serious sin,” which everyone knew meant he had paid prostitutes for sex.
As Louisiana Republican Party leaders from Gov. Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Republican Party called for McAllister’s resignation, a logical question for many journalists and other observers was: “If simply kissing a female staffer is a moral outrage that should cost someone his seat in Congress, why is it a lesser offense for a U.S. senator to pay prostitutes for sex?”
It’s a very good question and one which neither Jindal nor party officials addressed today after condemning McAllister. Vitter, of course, refused comment, too.
I’ll save for another day a full review of the rank hypocrisy of Jindal and GOP leaders who think it’s just dandy for the morally challenged Vitter to continue serving in the United States Senate, but find themselves absolutely repulsed by the idea of McAllister’s on-camera lip lock.
That’s like forgiving a bank robber, and then throwing the book at someone who writes a bad check.
Regardless, the uncomfortable questions keep coming from reporters, from the Twitter-sphere and elsewhere. Sure, the questions will eventually go away once McAllister himself has gone away.
Yet, that almost every political observer in Louisiana – upon hearing about Jindal’s call for McAllister’s resignation – immediately thought of Vitter’s prostitution scandal should tell Vitter and his Republican allies something.
Vitter may have assumed his sordid past was behind him. It isn’t – and this time next year it may be front and center in the Louisiana governor’s race.
David Vitter can run for now from all those uncomfortable questions, but on the campaign trail and in debates he cannot hide from them. Those uncomfortable questions will eventually hunt him down.