Wingnut Week In Review: The Selma Edition

Terrance Heath

In what may be one of the dumbest political moves of the year so far, no Republican leaders will be going to the 50th anniversary ceremonies in Selma this weekend. Not a single one.

They just never learn. Two years ago, Republicans were a no-show for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Every single Republican invited to speak declined the invitation. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor skipped out to meet with oil lobbyists. Speaker John Boehner chose to speak at a separate Republican event. Republicans’ aversion to appearing on the same stage as President Obama outweighed the opportunity to speak before a huge audience of African-Americans.

Now, Republicans are throwing away another outreach opportunity with the 50th anniversary of the March from Selma to Montgomery. Not one Republican leader will be going to the 50th anniversary events in Selma, Alabama, this weekend.

Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don’t include a single member of House Republican leadership — a point that isn’t lost on congressional black leaders.

None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.

No one is pretending that having at least a few Republicans show up to commemorate the Selma march this weekend is going to sway even a single African-American voter to the GOP. That’s not the point. As former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele put it, “If our leadership can’t stand with the black community in Selma, why would they believe we will stand with them on anything?”

Selma was yet another chance for Republican to tell African-American voters, “We care.” GOP leaders’ absence, and silence, will instead let a far more powerful message stand.

And all they had to do was show up.

Here’s the rest of the best of the worst in wingnuttery this week:

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