State Rep. Gene Alday, R-Walls, says he's not a bad guy and his racist comments were taken out of context.
Ah yes, out of context, the last refuge of a scoundrel. Who was it who said that? Oh yeah. It was me.
Alday, for the record, told the Clarion-Ledger he lives in a town where "all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call 'welfare crazy checks.' They don't work."
For context, read the whole thing here.
But I'm trying to imagine the context that would make that statement seem less than racist. The key word there is "all." Tricky thing, putting "all" of anything in the same boat, particularly when the only common denominator is skin color.
He did get one thing right about Jerry Mitchell's interview when he talked to Mitchell's colleague Emily Le Coz for a follow up in Monday's C-L.
"That guy made me look like a fool," said Alday, while claiming the comments were off the record (as well as out of context). Oh, and it was late at night, too. And the dog, presumably, ate his homework.
Speaker Phil Gunn isn't buying it either.
"I condemn the comments recently made by Rep. Gene Alday," said Gunn in a press release. "They do not reflect the views of the Republican party, nor of the leadership of the House of Representatives."
Democrats took a shot a Gov. Phil Bryant as well.
“Comments about teachers ‘not prepared to teach children to read’ and ‘Mississippi’s public education system has been an abysmal failure’ demonstrate Governor Bryant’s failure to understand what educators do while racially divisive comments by Rep Gene Alday (R-Walls) harken us back to the 1960’s,” said Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "I pray there is a very real and clear divide between what grown up Mississippians think and the comments that appeared in this article. This type of unvarnished racism has no place in public life in Mississippi. Other than that, to comment further is simply entering into shallow commentary that helps no one.”
Bryant probably doesn't like being lumped in with Alday.
"Rep. Alday is solely responsible for his remarks," Bryant told Le Coz. "I strongly reject his comments condemning any Mississippian because of their race. Those days are long past."
I heard Alday isn't going to resign. Good. Voters should get the privilege of sending him packing.