The leadership shake up in the wake of Eric Cantor’s defeat is maddening. Raul Labrador looks to be more of a protest vote than a serious challenge.
In the whip spot to replace McCarthy there are three candidates: Scalise, Peter Roskam, and Marlin Stutzman.
Roskam is pretty terrible. He has a 52% on Heritage’s scorecard. He’s not trusted by conservatives. And he is terrible on spending issues among others. The guy is just awful.
But a number of conservatives are supporting Roskam because Steve Scalise worked tireless behind the scenes to marginalize conservatives. Scalise may have an 81% Heritage Action scorecard, but he has turned the once much heralded Republican Study Committee into a toady group for House leadership. I’ve had myself unsubscribed from the RSC email list and want nothing to do with them as long as Scalise is there.
As Jonathan Strong reported, “In interviews with four aides who worked for Scalise while he helmed the study group, the staffers, who spoke under the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation, described being actively prevented from working towards the RSC’s traditional goal of moving the GOP conference and its leadership to the right.”
I have seen first hand Scalise ruin the RSC. The only saving grace of putting him in the whip position is getting him promptly out of the RSC. But then he’d just systematically ruin everything else.
The best scenario would be to put Marlin Stutzman in the Whip’s position. Stutzman, an Indiana congress RedState has long supported, has an 84% Heritage Action score, which is the highest in the Indiana delegation.
Stutzman has been solid in public and behind the scenes. Conservatives should be rallying to him to be whip. If we have to suffer through the insufferable Kevin McCarthy as leader, at least having Stutzman in leadership will make it taste more like a B+ than the sort of sandwich it actually is.