Arkansas Republican Leaders Fail Moral Leadership Test

by Michael Cook (michael@cooksoutlook.com) 2 views 

All hell broke loose over the weekend in Arkansas politics.

On Friday and Saturday, the published writings of two Republican state legislators and one former Republican legislator running again for office came to light.

State Rep. Jon Hubbard, State Rep. Loy Mauch and former State Rep. Charlie Fuqua all wrote numerous racist statements in their self-published books or letters to the editors and there are literally too many outlandish statements to list them all here.  Check out the Talk Business round-up story on the statements of these men.

In response to the uncovering of these reprehensible writings, the state GOP leadership released statements over the weekend.  Unfortunately, their statements showed a lack of moral leadership in the face of the numerous racist comments of their elected officials and candidates.

Republican Party of Arkansas Chair Doyle Webb’s statement said the views of Hubbard and Fuqua were offensive, but then attempted to blame Democrats for creating this distraction.  Webb did not condemn Mauch’s statements.

In Chairman Webb’s mind, quoting Republican elected officials’ numerous racist statements verbatim is wrong and Democrats should sit back and let these men get re-elected.

Webb, and his Republican leadership, proved they’re willing to win at any cost and will elect morally reprehensible people just as long as they have an “R” behind their name.  Republican leaders failed the test of moral leadership this past weekend.

This is not like one Republican candidate made a gaffe and said something stupid.  These are numerous statements, covering many years, that show the lack of moral fiber and racist sentiments in these three men.  Two of these men are currently Republican state legislators, making them legitimate  leaders within the Republican Party.

When the Republican leadership campaigns on creating a Republican legislative majority, they are campaigning to elect Jon Hubbard, Loy Mauch and Charlie Fuqua.

I know Arkansas Republicans as a whole do not share the outright racist beliefs of these three men, but when Republican leaders refuse to do the right thing it paints the whole party with the horrible brush of racism.

What is the right thing to do?

Republican leaders should ask for the immediate resignations of Jon Hubbard, Loy Mauch and Charlie Fuqua.

Morally, how can Republican leaders stand by when their elected officials write such racist, xenophobic and hateful words?  The memory of 1957 still haunts Arkansas and, as long as these men remain in office and on the ballot, our state should collectively hang our heads in shame.

No reasonable Republican can defend these men’s statements.

When considering the bigger picture for Arkansas Republicans, what is more important: winning at any cost or standing by your morals regardless of the cost?

Republican leaders failed their first test of moral leadership, but there is still a chance to redeem themselves. However, if they don’t act quickly, then the consequences will reach far beyond this year’s election and will harm their party and our state.

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