With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
For now, McAllister has resumed his social media outreach by going back up on Facebook Monday with a post and photographs from a high school art competition that included artists from his 5th Congressional District. Many of the comments, some of which were deleted, had little to do with art, an early sign that McAllister has a long road ahead.
Citing “extreme hypocrisy” and a “breach of trust,” state Republican Party chairman Roger Villere and Gov. Bobby Jindal have called on McAllister to resign as the scandal from the video of his passionate embrace with a staffer, who’s the wife of a long-time friend, has grown into a national embarrassment for the GOP.
What’s left of McAllister’s compromised credibility rests on his one-word response — “absolutely” — when asked if the kissing incident was his only infidelity. Meanwhile, the rumor mills in Monroe and Washington spin over the possibility of other shoes falling.
According to a new automated phone survey by the Glascock Group, the state senator he so handily defeated in November, fellow Republican Neil Riser of Columbia, would return the favor in a rematch, by a 56-44 percent margin. Even against a far lesser known challenger, state Rep. Chris Hazel, R-Pineville, McAllister trailed, 52-48 percent.
The congressman already is feeling the cold shoulder from his congressional colleagues. In response to his initial letter seeking an FBI investigation into how the video from his district office’s security camera was leaked to The Ouachita Citizen, the stony public silence from House Speaker John Boehner may indicate why McAllister abruptly dropped his request for a probe.
Following Villere’s statement, the speaker told The Washington Post, “I have had a conversation with him. And you know, he’s got decisions that he has to make.”
The most stinging rebuke in the delegation came from Congressman Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, who told Politico, “This is just horrible behavior unbecoming of a member of Congress. He’s got to come clean.”
Tellingly, the most supportive statement came from Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, who praised McAllister’s “rare courage to work across the aisle” and expressed confidence he could “emerge from this a better man and more effective collaborator for the people of Louisiana.” The Democratic Party, of course, would benefit greatly from McAllister running for re-election.
No doubt the least amused colleague is Sen. David Vitter, whose own six-year-old sex scandal is getting dredged up for comparison. Besides that Vitter was an established political leader at the time, the salacious video of McAllister speaks volumes more — The Ouachita Citizen received 290,000 unique visitors to its website in two days — than having one’s phone number found in a madam’s address book.
The other big difference, so far, was that Wendy Vitter, wife and political partner, stood by her man. McAllister’s wife Kelly, yet to be heard from, could have the final say on whether the congressman returns to work or comes home.