By Chris Cillizza
The eyes of the political world will be on Selma, Ala., tomorrow as President Obama will be in town to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches that began there — and drew the attention of the country to its racial divide. Know who won’t be in attendance? Anyone from the House Republican leadership.
Write Anna Palmer and Lauren French in Politico:
None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.
It’s hard to overstate what a dumb decision this is for a party desperate to show that it is comprised of and open to far more people than just old white men. “We do dumb real well,” said former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. “It is astounding to me that whether it is supporting the continuation of the Voting Rights Act or commemorating a pivotal part of American Civil Rights history [Selma], Republican leadership prefers to sit on the sidelines.”