Proving that there's no end to the absurdity for Representative Vance McAllister (R-LA) and the latest cheating scandal to embroil an American politician, Melissa Peacock, the staffer caught kissing the congressman, has been "removed from the payroll." According to McAllister's office, Peacock resigned. McAllister, on the other hand, told the News-Star that he has absolutely no plans to resign, and is instead requesting an "FBI investigation into the source of the leaked security footage." The ick factor has never been so icky.
McAllister first caught the attention of the press after bringing Willie Robertson, the star of "Duck Dynasty," to President Obama's State of the Union address in January. A tape released Monday shows the congressman passionately kissing Peacock. The event occurred, according to The Ouachita Citizen, on the afternoon of Dec. 23, 2013, inside McAllister’s congressional office.
McAllister, who ran as a family man and a pious servant of God, has insisted that he will seek re-election, "unless there is an outcry for [him] not to serve." According to the Congressman, his constituency has made no such demands, and has instead blessed him with an "outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people."
As for his actions, they have "wrecked" the life of the Peacock family, with Melissa Peacock now without a job, and her husband, Heath, reportedly devastated by the ordeal. Heath Peacock told CNN:
I’m just freaking devastated by the whole deal, man. I loved my wife so much. I cannot believe this. I cannot freaking believe it. I feel like I’m going to wake up here in a minute and this is all going to be a bad nightmare.”
Heath Peacock further disputed McAllister's campaign ads, particularly those that painted him as a religious man. Said Peacock:
When he ran one of his commercials, he said ‘I need your prayers,’ and I asked, ‘When did you get religious?’ He said, ‘When I needed votes.’ He broke out the religious card and he’s about the most non-religious person I know.”
What is perhaps the most troubling aspect of the story is the inordinate attention and blame Melissa Peacock has received in light of the scandal. A Huffington Post article is quick to point out that Melissa Peacock is married, but says nothing about McAllister's marital situation (for the record, he has been married for 16 years and has five children with his wife, Kelly).
Moreover, as Melissa Peacock noted, McAllister has "apologized to everyone in the world except me,” referring to a statement he released "asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve."
McAllister even seems to have the support of the GOP, with Eric Cantor saying that he was "glad [McAllister] issued an apology," but adding that "the American people deserve all of their representatives here in Washington to hold to a very high standard of behavior.” Whereas Heath Peacock says that he and his wife are headed for a divorce, McAllister, with his Duck Dynasty support, may be headed for another term in office.
According to a Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday, American voters are far more likely to forgive a public official for a personal scandal than a professional one, which seems to make sense. According to the poll, 49 percent of voters said they probably or definitely would not vote for someone who had an extra-marital affair, but 67 percent were distinctly turned off by a politician who hired an unqualified friend.
As such, it seems that McAllister's days in Congress may not be numbered after all, so we just might be able to see who he brings to the next State of the Union address.