It’s Unlikely McAllister Can Survive His Sex Scandal

In the aftermath of the surfacing this week of office surveillance footage showing him engaged in a passionate kiss with a staffer, there has been a good deal of speculation as to the future of Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Swartz).

None of that speculation appears very favorable to his remaining long in his current job.

Yesterday, RedState.com called outright for McAllister’s resignation…

One would think that we’d have the ability to elect conservative Republicans to R+15 districts in this day and age, especially in a special election scenario.  Yet, last November, Vance McAllister managed to slip through the net and win the special election in Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District.

Electing conservatives is not just about finding people who will vote the right way.  It is about finding those with the moral fabric and strength of character to serve as a voice for our causes and a defender of the constitutional republic.  It goes without saying that our elected officials need to live and act in accordance with conservative values, not just talk the talk.  We will never win the hearts and minds of those who don’t fully share our values by electing Republicans who violate them.

Earlier this week, a video surfaced of Vance McAllister, a married father of five, engaging in intimate contact with one of his married female aides.  Sadly, this is par for the course in Washington, but it only took this Republican one month to join the culture.

Now, in McAllister’s case, indeed his voting record is also part of the equation.  He has never even pretended to be a conservative. From day one, he made it clear that Obamacare is here to stay and that he would oppose any efforts to defund it.  He passionately supports the Medicaid expansion, which has now created a population of people dependent upon subpar government care larger than the population of the U.K.

He was barely sworn in as a new member before he announced his support for full amnesty and citizenship for illegal aliens, even as Obama continues to break our borders and engender a new wave of illegal immigration.  And in just four months, McAllister has a 41% score from Heritage Action.

It’s time to kiss McAllister goodbye.

Closer to home, McAllister has been asked to resign by several individuals of consequence. State GOP chairman Roger Villere asked for his resignation last night but was rebuffed by McAllister’s chief of staff Adam Terry…

Roger Villere, head of the Louisiana Republican Party, wants McAllister to resign and has been unsuccessfully attempting to speak directly with him since Tuesday night, according to The Hill. But McAllister’s chief of staff Adam Terry says the newly-elected congressman did not to heed the call.

“He’s got a job to do, one he was elected to do and he plans to continue to do that,” said Terry, who confirmed Villere’s resignation request.

State rep. Robert Johnson (D-Marksville), who ran against McAllister in last year’s special election, has also called for his resignation – which is a bit too self-serving to take very seriously.

So has Greta Van Susteren, though…

…I think Congressman McAllister should resign — spare all of us, his wife, his 5 children, his voters and the rest of America (he serves on Congressional Committees that represent all of us). He is certainly not the first to cheat on his wife in Congress (and a kiss is not axe murder) but he should have some self respect and go.

If he stays, everyone will forever be whispering when he is seen (that’s the guy with 5 kids who got caught kissing a staffer that went viral on the internet!). Does he really want to be the snicker target in the halls of Congress? Do you want to guess how many have already watched the video on the internet once the word got out about it?

Of course he should be allowed to seek redemption from his family — but on his time, and his own dime. What he does on the home front is his business, not ours. I hope he can repair this with his family.

But, if he stays in Congress, not only will he be a weakened Congressman (whispering and snickering does that to you), but he sets a very poor example. We want young people to emulate Members of Congress but for that to happen, the conduct has to be good, not cheap.

Coke snorting Congressman Radel did the right thing — he resigned. And, as noted above, many, many others have displayed cheap behavior before and not resigned (and I have not blogged they should), but enough is enough. We have to stop cheap behavior of our elected officials some time and Congressman McAllister is a good place to start.

It’s worth recognizing that if McAllister was a Democrat there would be much less discussion of his ouster. Republican voters hold politicians to a significantly higher standard of behavior.

That doesn’t mean a politician, even a Republican, can’t survive a sex scandal. All we’ve heard since the Vanceplosion on Monday is comparisons with David Vitter. But it’s a lousy comparison for a number of reasons.

First, while no one is condoning what Vitter did, dalliances with prostitutes are a bit different as a moral failing than what we understand McAllister to have done. It’s a lousy thing to cheat on your wife with a prostitute. But that relationship is a shallow, sexual one, and as a betrayal of marital vows or an abuse of one’s status it isn’t the worst thing.

What McAllister has done – and while what’s on video is only a kiss there is a definitive implication there was more involved in his relationship to Melissa Peacock, his scheduler and the wife of a long-time friend and colleague he’s known since high school – is worse, and possibly the worst-case scenario of marital infidelity. Because while Vitter managed to keep his own marriage intact through what we can imagine is some pretty intense groveling and what he did didn’t put anyone else’s marriage in jeopardy, McAllister’s behavior not only puts his own marriage on the rocks – with no less than five kids affected – but Peacock and her husband are also on the outs and they have a six-year old.

It would be less obnoxious if Peacock was single and unattached. She’s married with a kid. Her husband has known McAllister since high school and worked with him at Mustang Engineering. And she worked for McAllister. The bad judgement involved here is breathtaking.

But perhaps more importantly, Vitter had established a reputation as a relatively competent public figure when his scandal surfaced. Even before his election to the Senate Vitter had been a highly consequential  member of the state legislature. In fact, we wouldn’t have term limits in that legislature but for Vitter; that was one of, if not the single, most consequential reforms in Louisiana government in the last 100 years. And the old bulls in that legislature did not want to institute term limits. They went along with it because Vitter gave them no choice.

In other words, Vitter had demonstrated value to the voters of the state – and particularly those voters who had supported him.

Yes, this is another way to say that ideology trumps behavior to some extent. But that’s the way these things work. When Democrats rallied around Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton, and protected Bob Filner all those years when he was abusing his female subordinates, they didn’t do so out of a spirit of forgiveness. They did so because they believed those politicians, miscreants though they may have been, were capable of playing a role in moving their agenda forward.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be a valid perspective. But it is. It is, because there isn’t a surplus of good people willing to run for political office. Elected politics is largely the province of attention whores and clowns, and the presentation to the public of a pleasing image is more important than actual competence or managerial or intellectual skill. And when you run across someone who demonstrates a decent level of skill both in front of a microphone and in the halls of power, you hold on to them and rehabilitate them, if possible, when their personal failings threaten to ruin that value.

We are a forgiving country, after all.

But McAllister hasn’t demonstrated that value. No sooner did he take office than the rumors of his carrying on in a manner ill-befitting a Congressman began to surface, and now we have him on video in a passionate embrace with a subordinate, coming out of an office with his shirt-tail out, engaged in what he’s admitted was infidelity. Where is the value in that? Further, McAllister has built no alliances with other members of the state’s congressional delegation, he’s shown no leadership on any issues to date and in fact the only thing anyone knows about him other than his sex scandal is that he opposes the vast majority of his party on Medicaid expansion that isn’t even his purview as a member of Congress. Medicaid expansion is a state issue, not a federal issue, and McAllister is on the wrong side of it.

And the only thing we know about where McAllister stands on things affecting his job is that he thinks Congress “sucks.”

Greta is right. This man needs to go home to his wife and attempt to rebuild his marriage. He needs to go home to his business and keep it afloat. And even though his resignation would make for four elections in Louisiana’s 5th District in the space of two years, which spills the banks of what’s acceptable, McAllister owes that to his constituents.

Villere is correct to call for his resignation, and so are the folks at RedState. The voters took a chance on an unvetted newcomer, and it hasn’t ended well. Let’s try somebody else.

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