The New York Times talked the other day with a Louisiana voter named Patsy Edmondson, who lives in Rep. Vance McAllister’s (R) West Monroe district. Asked about her congressman’s extra-marital dalliance, after pledging to “defend our Christian way of life” during his campaign last year, Edmondson rolled her eyes at her state’s “history of tawdry politics.”
But she also added an interesting point.
A number of voters here identified a double standard in the Republican state leadership for denouncing Mr. McAllister but issuing no such rebuke to Senator David Vitter during a 2007 prostitution scandal. Mr. Vitter apologized for “a very serious sin in my past” and said he had asked for and received forgiveness from his wife and from God. He was re-elected to the Senate in 2010 and is considered as a favorite to succeed [current Gov. Bobby Jindal] in the 2015 governor’s race.Ms. Edmondson said the place to judge Mr. McAllister would be at the ballot box. “If Jindal is going to ask him to resign, why is it not right for David Vitter to resign?” she said.
I’ve been wondering that myself. In fact, it’s tough to reconcile the competing standards: two Louisiana Republicans run as family-values conservatives, one gets caught with prostitutes, one gets caught kissing a staffer. The former remains in his party’s good graces, wins re-election, and is poised for a promotion; the latter is persona non grata among his ostensible allies.
I think there’s a rational explanation for the disjointed reactions, but we haven’t heard any leading Republican officials address the question head on.
To that end, it was good to see reporters ask Louisiana’s Republican governor yesterday why he’s coming down hard on McAllister, while giving Vitter a pass.
Apparently, Jindal doesn’t want to talk about it.
Gov. Bobby Jindal continued Monday to call for “kissing congressman” Vance McAllister’s resignation.But he refused to weigh into questions about the “double standard” of Republicans who continued to support U.S. Sen. David Vitter after his name surfaced in a prostitution scandal.Jindal said Democrats and others are trying to link the two but “I’m not going to go down that path,” said during a news conference.
So, Jindal is applying a double standard, and when asked why, he doesn’t have an answer, at least not one he’s willing to share.
Meanwhile, McAllister isn’t receiving much support on Capitol Hill, either. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden was asked on Sunday about the congressman’s conduct and he said of McAllister, “It’s bad. It’s wrong. He needs to answer and be held accountable.”
Walden added that McAllister “needs to answer to his people and his family and needs to be held to a very high standard in Congress. And I don’t think he’s been to that standard.”
Again, congressional Republicans never said anything like this in response to Vitter’s sex scandal.