It seems like everyone has an opinion about David Vitter these days. Dems want him ousted from the Senate; Louisiana Republicans are divided on that question. Reporters just wish he’d take their questions. But there’s one demographic that has been studiously silent about Vitter ever since his prostitution scandal gave way to the scandal over his sheltering an aide who violently attacked his girlfriend: conservative women’s groups.
Last week, TPM reached out to several conservative women’s organizations, both on the national level and in the state of Louisiana, for comment on Vitter’s actions. Few of them responded at all.There were two exceptions. First, the Independent Women’s Forum explicitly declined to comment. Second, current president of the Louisiana chapter of Concerned Women for America, Sonya Hodnett (who has only been at the helm for a few weeks) agreed to comment pending the approval of the national organization, but ultimately did not. The national chapter did not respond.
This is not the first time Vitter has put conservative women’s groups in a tough spot. As with the prostitute controversy, these organizations can’t defend or condone Vitter or his actions. But they are supportive of his politics and don’t want to damage his re-election prospects or help elect a Democrat — even if that Democrat has a personal life more in keeping with the values the women’s organizations espouse.
A quick caveat: All of TPM‘s inquiries were made before Vitter drew a primary challenge from former Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor, who now gives the groups a choice between two conservative candidates. We’ll circle back to see if they remain neutral in the race.
Both IWF and CWA were strongly critical of President Bill Clinton during his sex scandals.