It’s not about Steve Scalise’s “bones”

By Robert Mann

I’ll take Rep. Cedric Richmond’s word for it that his Louisiana House colleague, Rep. Steve Scalise, doesn’t have “a racist bone in his body.”

And, for now, I’ll accept Scalise’s explanation that speaking to a white supremacist group in 2002 was “a mistake that I regret.” I’ll also take him at his word that he “wholeheartedly condemn[s]” the racist views of David Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO).

But here’s the problem with Scalise’s condemnation of the racist group and its members: he waited 13 years too late to denounce them.

Instead of speaking to them about “cutting wasteful state spending, eliminating government corruption, and stopping tax hikes, he should have attacked their despicable views.

As the good Catholic that he claims to be, he should have reminded them that the God he worships “is no respecter of persons.” He should have informed them that their presence in Jefferson Parish defiled his beloved Metairie. To punctuate his point, he might have spit on the floor as he marched from the room or announced that he was going straight home to shower.

But he didn’t. From all accounts, he treated them with the kind of polite respect they didn’t deserve. He wooed them as potential allies in his political crusade. That doesn’t make Scalise a racist, but it does mean that he welcomed the support of a group of racist David Duke disciples.

That Richmond, House Speaker John Boehner, Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Sen. Bennett Johnston, and former Gov. Edwin Edwards are defending Scalise against charges against racism doesn’t change the fundamental fact that Scalise thought nothing of beseeching a group of vile racists to back his causes.

The matter of Steve Scalise’s speech to EURO isn’t about “his bones,” racist or otherwise. It’s about this: he was untroubled by the backing of this execrable group.

It’s about this: he was untroubled by the backing of this execrable group. It didn’t repulse him to be in their midst.

That doesn’t necessarily make Scalise a racist. But it does make him a shabby, sleazy politician who is an embarrassment to Louisiana — but not, it seems, to Speaker John Boehner and the House Republican caucus.

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9 Responses to It’s not about Steve Scalise’s “bones”

  1. Joe Delatte says:

    Spot on


  2. Richard Ehrlicher says:

    All true, but I don’t think many politicians on the right can afford to write off that big a fraction of their base. At best theyavoid direct contact and just dog whistle.


    • Stephen Winham says:

      Also true, and what does that say about the way the right is moving? According the latest ratings, FOX News is number 1. As the old saw “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” increasingly requires the addendum, “…as does the middle class”, and all but the super-rich look for scapegoats, people like Limbaugh, Beck, et al become increasingly ascendant. Can this possibly be good?


  3. Fredster says:

    And if I recall correctly, he went there to speak against (among other things?) the Stelly Plan. Who knows, if that had not been done away with by the lege, the state may not have been in the financial shape it’s been the last few years.


  4. gjrushing says:

    What matters most of all is that he went to the conference, spoke to these vile people and was looking for their support. That tells me that somewhere, even if it’s buried deep in his bones, he has some agreement with these people or at the very least he is a monumental hypocrite. Neither of which buys any respect from me. The neighbor who invited him has said that Steve was his neighbor so it’s pretty hard to convince me that he didn’t know what the group was or about his association with Duke. Then once he found out who they were, he didn’t bother to tell the rest of his district he was sorry for associating with them, much less tell the group that they were vile. When we remain silent in the face of racism, we are just as culpable. We have a problem in this country and certainly in Louisiana of too many good people remaining silent. Don’t let it pass, at least get up and leave the company of the rascist.


  5. John Leveque says:

    This is Louisiana’s version of “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” except this really isn’t funny it’s embarrassing.


  6. Brian Trascher says:

    Figured you guys could use a little kryptonite…aka truth:


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