“When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him,” said Lott. “We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.” Coincidentally, Lott’s birthday wishes came just months after Scalise’s appearance at EURO.
But even after the Lott debacle, the Confederaten dilemma [follow link to Lloyd's 10/28/13 piece] hasn’t disappeared. In 2013, Sen. Rand Paul lost the services of Jack Hunter, Paul’s media aide and co-author, after it became known that Hunter was the “Southern Avenger,” a radio talk show host who wore a Confederate mask and had written articles praising John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin. For good measure, Hunter boasted that he had toasted Booth’s birthday.
Confronted with Hunter’s past, Paul could only say that Hunter was “unfairly treated by the media and he was put up as target practice for people to say was a racist, and none of that’s true.” Apparently, old embers still glow.
Still, for all of this, South Carolina is now represented in the U.S. Senate by Tim Scott, a Republican and an African-American. The state also elected Republican Nikki Haley, an Indian-American, as governor. In Louisiana, Scalise’s home state, a similar story can be told, as the Pelican State’s governor is Bobby Jindal. Obviously, there’s a line between Southern and Confederate, and the GOP will need to keep reminding people of it. Scalise, however, just made that job more difficult.