Here’s an update on the Steve Scalise-is-a-Klansman-without-a-hood nonsense from January…
Two civil rights leaders are expressing “profound disappointment” at House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, for what they say is his “unwillingness to take action” to insure voting rights for all Americans.
Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans; and Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, met with Scalise in February, following reports that in 2002, as a state legislator, the Louisiana Republican had spoken to members of a white supremacist group.
“We took you at your word when you defended your decision to speak at the David Duke affiliated EURO conference,” Morial and Henderson said in their letter dated last Thursday and made public Wednesday (Aug. 12). “We laid out a clear plan to aid in efforts to heal the wounds you caused by delivering that speech. We explained the need for action, and you offered to help. That offer has run hollow.”
They said that while the February meeting led to a “cordial and frank” discussion, Scalise didn’t follow up on their request for assistance moving voting rights legislation through the GOP-led House.
Marc Morial ought to be congratulated for his chutzpah, if not much else, if he really thinks that Scalise actually owes him anything for having given a speech on tax policy to an audience that might or might not have included David Duke followers 13 years ago.
Which, of course, he doesn’t. Morial knows the political game as well as anyone, and he knows the only reason he and Henderson were able to secure an audience with Scalise at which they could make demands of any kind was that the House Majority Whip needed some sort of exit from the faux controversy Lamar White’s hit job on him had created.
They made their demands knowing that the making of those demands was nothing more than a political stunt to show the members of the National Urban League and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights how influential they are. And Scalise offered to help them with “voting rights” legislation knowing full well that’s a dead letter in a GOP-dominated House of Representatives.
And what they specifically want is changes to the Voting Rights Act that would put the Justice Department back into an oversight role in 15 states – more or less all of which are currently red states – which are now free to conduct elections as they see fit thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court finding no continuing justification for federal oversight.
As if Scalise was going to get the GOP representatives in those 15 states to concede on that issue regardless of the size of his effort.
Scalise has said he would really like to work with Morial and Henderson on federal criminal sentencing reform, an issue where there is bipartisan support for changes which could do the black community a lot of good. They’re not interested in that, apparently.
What they’re interested in is elections, and getting more Democrats in office. That’s all the National Urban League and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights are for. That and generating headlines for Marc Morial and Wade Henderson so their people can be bamboozled into believing they actually do any meaningful work to satisfy their large salaries and fat expense accounts.
So Morial goes and expresses his “profound disappointment” with Scalise because his fantasyland demands weren’t met, and gets his name in the papers as having dutifully bitched on behalf of his constituents, and now he and his pals are going to accuse Scalise of being a racist because he won’t help them put Loretta Lynch, whose first impulse after seeing the Center for Medical Progress’ Planned Parenthood videos is to investigate the Center for Medical Progress rather than Planned Parenthood, in charge of every aspect of elections in southern states. They must make this accusation, you see, because not to do so might expose the lack of any meaningful work product on their parts to the membership of those organizations. Gotta keep ’em distracted, or else the smiles turn to frowns.
There isn’t anything much Scalise can do about that other than to work on the criminal sentencing reform issue and make damn sure that Marc Morial and Wade Henderson have zero say in any legislation being crafted and get zero credit for anything that does pass.
Which would be just.
In fact, anything more would be a “profound disappointment.”