Saturday, August 27, 2016

There can only be one flag pin

The Louisiana Republican Party today considered and then set aside a scheme to restrict convicted felons (or anyone they don't like) from running in state elections with the little "R" next to their names. Some of them, it turns out, are embarrassed (or at least upset) that David Duke is running for Senate as a Republican this year. 
The proposed regulation would automatically prohibit felons from running for office as Republicans in elections after November, unless an exception was made by the state Republican Party's executive committee.

It also would allow Louisiana's Republican Party to block anyone from getting the "R," for Republican, with a name on the ballot if three-quarters of the State Central Committee voted to bar that person from running as a Republican.
They decided not to do anything, though. The rule under consideration would likely have caused legal headaches in addition to not actually doing anything about Duke anyway.
Even if the changes had been approved Saturday, they wouldn't have been made in time to block Duke, who pleaded guilty in 2002 to bilking his supporters and cheating on his taxes, from running as a Republican in the Louisiana Senate race this fall.
Besides that, the committee members can cry all they like but it doesn't change the fact that David Duke represents a sizeable portion of the Republican Id  and has for decades. We took a little time to explore this last year, in fact.  The nervous denials of the Republican state central committee are no different from the #NeverTrump movement of the national party in this regard.  These are the candidates and ideas they've built a machine pandering to. It's not so easy to just up and ditch them.

Republicans at the state and national level are currently trying to re-brand themselves out of the hole they've dug themselves. Which is why we're suddenly seeing the racist Wallace Dixiecrats, Reagan Democrats, and Limbaugh Dittoheads they've courted for years redefined as an unfamiliar alien force called the "Alt-Right" as opposed to some good and virtuous Republican Party that supposedly exists independently of all that.  It's disappointing that the Hillary wing of the Democratic Party is enthusiastically aiding the GOP in this re-branding effort. But that's a topic for a different post.

Anyway, all of this resulted in some amusing kabuki at the GOP meeting which the T-P covers in the article we began this with.
Duke did not attend the meeting, but his campaign coordinator, Michael Lawrence, did speak out against Republican leaders toward the end of the gathering, well after the rule change had already been deferred.

Lawrence, who was wearing a pin that included both the American and Confederate flags, started shouting that Villere had refused to let Duke speak to the crowd at the meeting. Villere, wearing his own pin with American and GOP flags, told Lawrence over the public address system that the gathering was a "private meeting" and Lawrence would have to leave.

Villere, speaking into a microphone, then called for security to take Lawrence out of the building when Lawrence refused to stop shouting. Five men in suits surrounded Lawrence and escorted him to his car.

Standing in the parking lot after being thrown out of the meeting, Lawrence said Duke planned to sue the Louisiana GOP if they passed any new rule that would block him from running as a Republican in future elections. He said Duke considered it a violation of his constitutional rights.

"Roger Villere has been running this organization like Fidel Castro for 12 years," Lawrence said.  
Just for fun we should see about sending Villere a Cuban flag pin.  

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