The House GOP will stand by [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ], signaling they will hold their leadership to lesser standards than they would conservatives.
Now they are just rubbing everybody’s nose in it.
Their latest spin, courtesy of the Washington Post, is that Scalise’s ability to connect with racists makes him a bridge builder between conservatives and Speaker Boehner.
I kid you not.
Racist elements have long been a part of political life in Louisiana and throughout the Deep South, but Scalise’s skillful ability to balance them with his party’s modern-day need to appeal to a rapidly diversifying electorate helped enable his rise.
One of Scalise’s assets in the leadership is that he has been able to sway rabble-rousing members who often cause headaches for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). On the House floor, he will sit down next to a colleague he is trying to win over, place his arm around his or her shoulder, lean in close and talk.
Scalise’s political associates say he tolerates political outsiders and even some gadflies more than most leaders, eager always to turn anyone into an ally. That persona has fueled his climb to power. It has also invited controversy.
In other words, because Scalise is confortable in front of David Duke style groups, he knows how to navigate those wackado conservatives in Congress.