Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 21, 2009

VITTER'S OFFICE WEIGHS IN ON BARDWELL.... Louisiana's Keith Bardwell refuses to perform marriage ceremonies for inter-racial couples. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) have called on him to resign. Sen. David Vitter (R) has remained conspicuously silent on the matter.

The good news is, the far-right senator's office has finally commented. The bad news is, the comment didn't improve matters. In fact, it's arguably worse now.

Yesterday, blogger-activist Mike Stark asked Vitter directly for his thoughts on the matter. Stark asked, "Have you commented? What did you have to say about it?" Vitter smiled before disappearing into an elevator.

Greg Sargent spoke to Vitter spokesperson Joel DiGrado, who said:

"First, Sen. Vitter thinks that all judges should follow the law as written and not make it up as they go along. Second, it would be amazing for anyone to do a story based on this fringe, left-wing political hack's blog -- he's been handcuffed and detained in the past over his guerrilla tactics."

First, Mike Stark isn't the problem here. He asked a fair, legitimate question, which Vitter inexplicably ducked.

Second, given David Vitter's notorious background, his office should probably avoid casual references to handcuffs.

And third, a justice of the peace is flagrantly violating civil rights laws and using blatant racism to justify his decisions. Vitter "thinks that all judges should follow the law as written and not make it up as they go along"? That's nice, though the second part of that sentence is irrelevant, and the first part of that sentence neglected to express any disagreement with what Bardwell has done. Does Vitter think Bardwell is right or wrong?

This actually has the potential to become a real problem for the senator, and it's the easiest controversy in the world to avoid. Bobby Jindal, a conservative Republican, made it easy for Vitter and gave him plenty of political cover. And yet, Vitter doesn't want to criticize Bardwell, doesn't want to call for his resignation, and apparently doesn't even want to comment on stopping inter-racial marriages.

Vitter has nothing to lose here -- the Republican base already knows how far-right he is, and it's not like anyone's going to call him a "moderate" for condemning transparent racism.

We'll see if major news outlets pick up on this, but if they do, it's a story with potential. It has the benefit of not being complicated: a right-wing senator refuses to denounce a racist justice of the peace in his home state.

Update: MSNBC did a segment on the Vitter story this afternoon. David Schuster noted that MSNBC has contacted Vitter's office three times for comment, but the senator hasn't responded.

Steve Benen 4:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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Comments

This is becoming odder and odder. We can guess that he thinks coming out in favor of interracial marriage will actually hurt him in the primaries. So very sad.

Posted by: Rathskeller on October 21, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Here we go with family values again. Maybe for Vitter, family values means that you AREN'T married. His past would seem to support that theory.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on October 21, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

This actually has the potential to become a real problem for the senator, and it's the easiest controversy in the world to avoid.

When you can have diaper sex with hookers while running on a "family values" platform and still be leading by 12 points in the latest polls, why on earth should you worry? Clearly his constituency doesn't much care so long as there's an 'R' next to his name.

Posted by: oh my on October 21, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Vitter's stance might have been different had the racial mix of the couple been reversed. I've seen it time and again, "down heah, South" and I'm only in Virginia, not really Deep South. The males are not, exactly, happy with white men marrying black women but they go really ballistic, when the situation is reversed. It goes right back to the fears which drove the lynchings...

Posted by: exlibra on October 21, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I really try to keep my conspiracy theories to a minimum, but this really smacks of a guy who has a dirty little race-related secret in his background. To make a comment would be to open himself to even harsher criticism. To remain silent is to invite scrutiny. When that secret comes out, he'll look like a douche. BUT if he remains silent till then, at least he won't be a hypocritical douche.

Posted by: slappy magoo on October 21, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Second, given David Vitter's notorious background, his office should probably avoid casual references to handcuffs.

I thought he was into diapers.

Posted by: Monty on October 21, 2009 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

This so funny I piss*ed my pants

Posted by: apeman on October 21, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does Vitter get points for what he didn't say, instead of the usual Repub's way by saying outrageous things? He's definitely on the scoreboard now.

Posted by: anomaly on October 21, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

So, Vitter supports racism. What a surprise.

Posted by: freelunch on October 21, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

First, Sen. Vitter thinks that all judges should follow the law as written and not make it up as they go along.

Interesting position considering the justice didn't actually break any Louisiana law and isn't compelled to marry anyone under said law.

Vitter is just playing this one by the book. And by book, I mean the Republican play book.

If he says nothing, he doesn't piss off all his rabid racist base. And if a "potential problem" actually does build, his office can just deny the whole thing by issuing a statement along the lines of: "Mr. Vitter by no means condones the actions of Mr. Bardwell nor has he ever. Any suggestion to the contrary is just a partisan witch hunt."

Posted by: Little Miss Attila on October 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the black dude is actually Vitter's bitch and the whole charade is a lover's spat. Could drop Vitter another point or two in the polls. But the publicity would surely ruin his own marriage.

Posted by: Chopin on October 21, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Not only does this statement duck the issue, it also seems to draw some sort of totally inappropriate link between Bardwell and judicial activism. "Follow the law and not make it up as they go along" sounds like something Jeff Sessions would have said during the Sotomayor confirmation hearing.

I guess the next step is to blame Bardwell on the liberals -- i.e. it's people like Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall who opened the door for judges to ignore the law and do what they want.

Posted by: jvwalt on October 21, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Vitter has nothing to lose here -- the Republican base already knows how far-right he is, and it's not like anyone's going to call him a "moderate" for condemning transparent racism.

Yeah. It's not like the current GOP is so far gone that any time one of its members gently chides another for truly outrageous behavior, the rabid base bays for the head of the "betraying" criticizer, who is then forced to double down on his crazy to prove his Republican bona fides. That'd never happen.

Posted by: shortstop on October 21, 2009 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

This actually has the potential to become a real problem for the senator...Vitter has nothing to lose here...

I dunno whether he much to lose w/ Louisiana voters. He's already got the racist vote locked up, but there may be some moderates he could alienate. But he also has to operate in the national arena, & this certainly doesn't help him in Washington.

Posted by: K on October 21, 2009 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how right wing fav, Justice Thomas, feels about all of this.

Posted by: Joe on October 21, 2009 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he has secret ties or deals with some white supremacist organizations who would betray or sabotage him if he said something that was tolerant of interracial "mixing."

It's the only thing I can think of. Because this really is bizarre.

Posted by: Julia Grey on October 21, 2009 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Someone should ask Vitter if he patronized only white prostitutes.

Posted by: Bill on October 22, 2009 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

You didn't hear Vitter's dog whistle? I heard, "I completely agree with the judge's decision. Inter-racial couples should not get married."

Posted by: Indiana Joe on October 22, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

No Steve ... it's far worse than that. An anonymous source within Vitter's office confirmed to me today that Vitter has three inters monitoring Political Animal in anticipation of your posts. The source said he didn't answer Stark and gave that vague non response to "that assfucktwit Sargent" because he gets an almost "sexual thrill" listening to your head explode over trivial shit like this. It's a personal attack on you directly from the senate floor.

Oh, and Schuster is a fucking tool, too, they said.

Now do you think you could maybe talk about, oh, I dunno, some kinda, hmmmm ... NEWS or something? kthxbaye

Posted by: Grimm on October 22, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Now do you think you could maybe talk about, oh, I dunno, some kinda, hmmmm ... NEWS or something?

I suppose you're right without realizing why--a Republican Senator from the south condoning blatant racism probably isn't big news anymore, if it ever was.
And the fact that you consider it trivial says a lot more about you than the people you're attacking in your unhinged rant.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on October 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

I think Joe up above had a good comment. Someone should ask Justice Thomas what he thinks about all this.

Justice Thomas is married to a very white woman (FWIW).

Posted by: Paul in KY on October 22, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks. Thanks for putting up this. It is always nice to see someone help out the public.

Posted by: donald pliner devina boots on March 1, 2011 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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