This weekend, the New York Times put the capstone on one of the worst weeks of nationwide press for a Colorado state senator that anyone can remember–Sen. Vicki Marble’s grilling by 11-year-old Cub Scout Ames Mayfield that blew up into massive controversy after the kid was booted from his den by the adult pack leader:
On Oct. 14, five days after the event with Ms. Marble, Ms. Mayfield was asked to meet the leader of the Cub Scout pack who oversees a number of dens in Broomfield, including the one Ames belonged to.
Ms. Mayfield and the pack leader, whom she did not identify, sat down at a Chipotle restaurant that afternoon. “He let me know in so many words that the den leader was upset about the topic of gun control,” Ms. Mayfield said in an interview on Saturday. “It was too politically charged.”
“He communicated that my son was no longer welcome back to the den,” she said.
Ms. Mayfield said the den leader’s response might have been fueled by her decision to post the videos of the senator’s interaction with the scouts online, where they were picked up by the local news media.
At this point, the decision by the leaders of the Cub Scout pack to kick Ames Mayfield out has totally backfired–placing them and their organization in an extremely unfavorable light, over comments from a state senator that inspire absolutely no sympathy. And here’s another detail that hasn’t yet been reported: one of the “den” leaders in the local Cub Scout “pack” that made the decision to kick Mayfield out is none other than former Broomfield Rep. Don Beezley–who readers will remember as a particularly nutty “Tea Party” lawmaker who claimed public education is a “communist model” and that the Americans with Disabilities Act made people with disabilities into “a burden, an enemy” to small business. We haven’t specifically confirmed what role if any Beezley may have played in this decision, but’s a key angle in this story to run down now.
Beezley’s leadership role in this Cub Scout pack most certainly adds to larger questions about what kinds of political activities these kids are taking part in at Cub Scout functions–questions Sen. Marble raised with her very presence. Moreover, if it’s inappropriate for Cub Scouts to ask tough questions of politicians who appear at their meetings, why are politicians at those meetings at all? It’s not like we’re trying to suggest that the Cub Scouts may have been co-opted by right-wing political activists to indoctrinate unsuspecting children and kick out the ones who disagree…except oops, it looks like we just did.
These questions do need to be answered, preferably before one more kid signs up to be a Cub Scout.
As for term-limited Sen. Marble, we’ll be interested in seeing what happens next with her. One of the questions from Ames Mayfield to Sen. Marble concerned her highly regrettable comments in 2013 about “the black race” and chicken consumption, and Marble’s blanket denials in response to Mayfield’s questions could easily be characterized as dishonest. Much like in 2013, Marble’s safe seat means the damage done is to the larger Republican brand more than herself personally. Senate President Kevin Grantham has proven damagingly reluctant to take any kind of punitive action against a member of his caucus, but at some point you have to ask how much collateral damage from Marble’s antics the party is willing to tolerate.
There’s a good argument now that she never should have been allowed to live down “Chicken-gate.”