Republicans are upset that Steve Scalise (R-LA) might have trouble raising money for the party, because some donors might not want to be seen giving cash to a racist, neo-Nazi sympathizer.
If ever you wondered just how far gone this Republican Party is, their response to the scandal of Majority Whip Steve Scalise speaking at and supporting the ideas of a 2002 gathering of white supremacist, neo-Nazi enthusiasts says it all.
Because it isn’t just that Scalise spoke at the European-American Unity and Rights Organization meeting when founder David Duke was infamous nationally and certainly in Louisiana politics, or that Stormfront attendees came away calling Scalise a supporter, or that Scalise suggested that while former KKK leader and felon David Duke couldn’t get elected, Scalise “embraces many of the same ‘conservative’ views as Duke, but is far more viable.” Duke is known for being a Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi racist.
It’s that throughout his life Scalise has supported racist policies and ideas. This is no one-off.
Does that bother the current Republican leadership? Meh. Not really. Scalise is still the number three leadership position in the House. Republicans are, however, worried that he might not be able to raise money, according to a Politico article written by John Bresnahan & Jake Sherman.
To wit, via Politico:
Scalise’s job as House majority whip remains safe – and Speaker John Boehner has publicly backed him — but he may be too toxic for some Republican circles. Top GOP aides and lawmakers question whether he’ll be able to raise funds, especially on trips to New York or Los Angeles. Senior figures within the party doubt that the corporate chieftains and rich donors who bankroll Republican candidates will give him money to keep campaign coffers filled. Others say it will be difficult for him to persuade lawmakers to support the House Republican agenda.
Speaker John Boehner protected Scalise’s new position as Majority Whip, and it looks like Republicans don’t even have the moral integrity to distance themselves from Scalise, but instead Scalise is going to turtle until things blow over:
Scalise has gone into full defensive mode in recent days. Thanks to support from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Scalise survived the initial media frenzy over his speech to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, an extremist group founded by Duke. There is no movement afoot to dump him, despite significant anger in the rank and file. Since then, Scalise has gone radio silent.
Not even a leadership position can be harmed by not just speaking to but selling matching ideas and policies to a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. This is awkward. Even Sarah Palin thinks Scalise is toxic and should step down. Sarah Palin is sort of the litmus test for extremist, racist tea within the GOP. If she thinks it stinks of racism, you can bet it jumped the shark.
Apparently some Republicans don’t like having to defend having their Number 3 hanging around with racist neo-Nazis:
Rank-and-file GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, found themselves defending Scalise back home, a potentially fatal flaw for someone who wants to serve in leadership. Many of these lawmakers are faced with blistering editorials from hometown newspapers calling for Scalise to step down. Conservative activists like Mark Levin, Erick Erickson and Sarah Palin have all said he should be booted out of GOP leadership.
It comes down to this, value wise. Being a white supremacist neo-Nazi sympathizer makes it hard to raise money, and this is where the Republican Party draws the line in the values sand.
The real trouble for Republicans will come when and if the public finally realizes that the very policies Steve Scalise pushed for a racist agenda are often the same policies the entire GOP pushes, for the same reason; It’s a very effective way for them to sell policies that are bad for the majority of people.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.