Funny how things work out.
I had expected to blog about Republican House Majority Whip Stephen (Steve) Scalise (R-LA) in very negative terms today. After all, it has just been made public that, in 2002, while a member of the Louisiana State house of representatives, he spoke at a conference of something called the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) – which, though the name is somewhat sanitized, is an anti-Semitic, racist organization founded by former (?) ku klux klansman david duke.
I was going to blog that, while it is possible, as Scalise claims, he was unaware of what that group was all about at the time, it was very hard to believe – and that for him to have any credibility at all, he would have to show us a record of not supporting the kind of filth EURO would be about.
Well, the blog I expected to post is not going to be written. Because, as it turns out, Quin Hillyer, writing for nationalreview.com, has put out a commentary showing just that.
Here are a few excerpts, in the form of quotes that Mr. Hillyer has collected from people who would jump all over Scalise if he were
“Ihave known Steve most of my professional career as a news anchor. Ihave always known him to be a straight-up good guy; I do not see himin the light that he is being painted. Sounds like they didn\’t vetthe organization in 2002; that certainly can happen. I certainlydon\’t know Steve to be a racist. I find that to be very hard tobelieve. He always comes across as a guy who is fair-minded. Hispolitical leanings are certainly different than mine. I respect that.But I don\’t see him as a guy who is anti-minority, I don\’t seethat at all. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character. Andthis man is comfortable talking with anybody. I see him just as auniversal human being who respects humanity. I don\’t think he is aguy who judges people by the color of their skin or their ethnicorigin. In no way do I see him as an ally of David Duke.” CBS NewsCorrespondent
“I\’veknown Steve Scalise for the past 11 years. We served in thelegislature together when I was Senate Whip of the Legislative BlackCaucus. Steve and I have always worked well together, although oftentimes held very different political views, but I can assure you thathe has always been a kind, thoughtful, and wonderful colleagueand friend and has never displayed any views of racial hatred orbigotry . . . ever.” : Ann Duplessis,former Senate whip of the Legislative Black Caucus and currentpresident of the LSU Board of Supervisors
“Ihave worked with Steve Scalisefor the better part of 20 years both as head of the University ofLouisiana System and executive director of the Taylor as we seek tofurther educational opportunity for low-income children through theTOPS program. I echo Congressman Richmond in that I believe thatSteve Scalisedoes not have a racist bone in his body.”: – Dr. James Caillier,executive director, Taylor Foundation (a college scholarship fund)and a recipient of the A. P. TureaudBlack CitizenshipMedal from the Louisiana NAACP
Suddenly Rep. Scalise\’s “racism” isn\’t such a slam dunk, is it?
I also like the comment by Charles Krauthammer who, though expressing skepticism that Mr. Scalise did not know the true nature of EURO, pointed out that he showed up there only one time many years ago…while a fellow name Barack Obama spent 22 years (actually, it was a little less, but not much) as a regular in the church of the overt racist, Israel hating, USA hating jeremiah wright.
In any case, the point here is that the rapidity with which media tossed out allegations of Stephen Scalise\’s racism – especially the New York Times which gleefully put it on page one of today\’s paper – maybe, just maybe, should have been held back until it could be determined if there were another side to the story.
UPDATE: Well, well, well.
Now it turns out that Stephen Scalise didn\’t speak to the EURO conference at all. My source? The leftward, decidedly anti-Republican slate.com. You can read all about it by clicking here.
Now grow old waiting for any apology from those nice folks who couldn\’t wait to jump all over Scalise and demand he step down as majority whip, even resign.