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:
- Fox News Host Megyn Kelly lost it over the Department of Justice report on the Ferguson police department, claiming that “Hands up don’t shoot did not happen.” Never mind that the report had nothing to do with that.
- Presidential hopeful Ben Carson told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he opposed gay equality, “Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there?” Thus, being gay must be a choice.
- Carson has a history of making dumb statements about gay people.
- Carson later apologized, and promised to just stop talking about gay issues.
- That might not help Carson much. Radio host Bryan Fischer plans to ask every GOP candidate if they think being gay is a choice, and said Carson “may have done fatal damage to his campaign” by apologizing.
- Right-wing radio host Andrea Shea King suggested that lawmakers who boycotted Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress should, “pay with their lives, hanging from a noose in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.”
- Fox News analyst Ralph Peters accused President Obama and Democratic lawmakers of acting like “bitchy schools girls” over Netanyahu’s speech.
- Washington state Republican Sen. Jim Honeyford said during a hearing that, “It’s generally accepted that the poor are more likely to commit crimes. And generally, I think, accepted that people of color are more likely poor than not.”
- A Republican-led Tennessee legislative committee failed to extend funding for the state’s Economic Council on Women, because there wasn’t one for men too.
- Idaho Republican state Sen. Steve Vick planned to stage a walkout, when a Hindu cleric delivered the opening invocation to the state Senate. “They have a caste system,” Vick said. “They worship cows.”
- Orange County lawyer and Christian activist Matt McLaughlin submitted a ballot measure calling for anyone who engages in “sodomy” to be put to death “by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
- On Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” panelists bemoaned the “pussification” of American men.
- Pat Robertson warned “700 Club” viewers that smoking pot is “slavery to vegetables.”
- Robertson later warned another viewer that they should love their Muslim neighbors, but “be aware that they are trying to kill you.”
- Finally, Robertson warned parents not to attend their gay child’s wedding, because by attending the ceremony “you are agreeing with it.”