A partisan advantage at the Lincoln Memorial

Updated
Former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Jimmy Carter, and President Barack Obama
Former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Jimmy Carter, and President Barack Obama

If you’ve spent any part of the afternoon watching the event honoring the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington, you may have noticed something most of the political speakers had in common. They were, well, Democrats – and I don’t just mean those who celebrate democracy.

Viewers and attendees heard from Democratic presidents, lawmakers, governors, and even mayors. So where were the Republicans? Drudge whined, for example, that the King family “blew it” by “allowing no one with different political beliefs on stage.”

And while I suspect this will soon become the conventional wisdom on the right, it’s worth noting that many Republicans were invited, but declined for a variety reasons.

Republican congressional leaders were absent from Wednesday’s 50th anniversary event commemorating the March on Washington.

The offices of Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner both said they were invited to the event, but were unable to attend due to previous scheduling commitments.

Boehner participated in a July congressional ceremony in the Capitol to mark the anniversary and Cantor participated in a pilgrimage earlier in the year to Selma Alabama with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis. Cantor’s office says they only received an invitation 12 days ago, and his calendar was already full.

Boehner, for the record, is on a 15-state bus tour, raising money for conservative Republican lawmakers. It’s not clear what Cantor had scheduled for this afternoon.

The Wall Street Journal added that both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were invited, but both declined citing poor health. (The younger Bush, you’ll recall, is recovering from a heart procedure.)

It’s not that the King family “allowed no one with different political beliefs on stage”; it’s that Democrats were better able to accept the invitations to participate.

Civil Rights

A partisan advantage at the Lincoln Memorial

Updated