Scalise Needs To Get Out of House Leadership

So Rep. Steve Scalise has admitted he spoke to some sort of Honky Pride Fest in Louisiana sponsored by local racist hero David Duke back in 2002. But according to WaPo’s Robert Costa, Scalise expects us to believe he had no idea there was anything unsavory about the event:

[T]he adviser [to Scalise] said the congressman didn’t know at the time about the group’s affiliation with racists and neo-Nazi activists.

“For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous,” Scalise told the Times-Picayune on Monday night.

Yeah, right. A pol from Metairie, Louisiana–Dave Duke’s political base before it was Scalise’s–not knowing a David Duke group might have some racist connections is about as credible as a Deadhead expressing disbelief that hallucinogens might be taken at Grateful Dead concerts.

Maybe Scalise figures he’s done nothing worse than following the political zeitgeist in his home town, where Duke was briefly a folk hero. But he has no business being in the House leadership, and ought to step aside. It’s a reasonable price to pay for snuggling up to America’s most notorious Klansman and neo-Nazi.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.