Wednesday, October 14, 2009

James Gill of the Times-Picayune on Chip Pickering; me on the coming crisis in the GOP

James Gill's piece in the Times-Picayune begins:

Let me explain why U.S. Sen. David Vitter might hate to be publicly associated with Chip Pickering, who did not seek re-election as a Mississippi congressman last time around.
Hold onto your hats, now. If it is possible to draw distinctions between the fornicating phonies of the GOP, Pickering must be rated creepier than Vitter.
Gill goes on to focus a bit on the $5,000 campaign contribution shell game played by the PACs for Vitter, Pickering, and Gov. Barbour, but the most pointed parts of the article are barbs reserved solely for Pickering:

Philanderers don't come more unctuous than Pickering, who denounced evil at every turn, received a perfect rating from Focus on the Family and urged then-President George W. Bush to declare 2008 the year of the Bible.

Even a congressman who has embraced hookers in private while embracing the Lord in public might not wish to be dragged down to Pickering's level.
All of this brings to mind the most important part of the Pickering scandal for Mississippi Republicans, and the C Street scandals for the national GOP.

The Republican Party is faced with making a decision between continuing forward as the self-proclaimed "party of moral superiority" or instead turning its focus to fiscal issues.  To me, the answer is clear, and ought to be startlingly obvious to those who label themselves "Christian conservatives."

There are certainly fine, upstanding men and women in the Republican Party.  For example, Gregg Harper, who took Chip Pickering's seat in Congress, is without a doubt one of the most impressive individuals I've ever met.  Working for him as a law student and young lawyer, he taught me the importance of ethics in the practice of law, and how to embody our lawyer's oath every day.  I have known few people who come close to him in terms of probity, honesty, and fidelity to moral principles.  Gregg is exactly what Pickering falsely held himself out to be.

But here are the problems for the GOP:  1) There aren't many Gregg Harpers; 2) The Bible teaches us that we are all fallen creatures and will sin; and 3) The GOP has no exclusive claim to moral behavior.

In my view, there's no future in the "moral majority" approach to politics.  Its leaders will disappoint, and in the long run, substantial damage is done to our country and the citizenry's belief in its leadership.  Currently, the GOP is awaiting direction and biding its time by being angry about everything.  So which tact will the GOP take, once it finds leadership?


Kingfish said...

5 grand to vitter

now how much money was funneled to your friend Hood through the AG association from local lawyers?

Jim Craig said...

I don't know, KF, but as I have said before, any money going to a Democrat from any donor who is later convicted of a crime, should be returned.

Matt Eichelberger said...

Or to candidates for judicial office in our state through bogus groups like "Mississippians for Economic Progress" and "Law Enforcement Alliance of America" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

Kingfish said...

I got a better idea. Remove the campaign finance donor limits and restrictions and instead require all donations be posted online within 48 hours and while you're at it, lower the the threshold for reporting so Jim Evans can't have his union peeps bundle up donations less than 200 dollars apiece.