Congressman Steve Scalise at Values Voters: a Happy Warrior

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Congressman Steve Scalise at Values Voters: a Happy Warrior

The just-​concluded Val­ues Voter Sum­mit in Wash­ing­ton D.C. was punc­tu­ated by stand­ing ova­tions. Among them: a few for the Pres­i­dent, who spoke deci­sively but with­out pugnac­ity; for Ban­non and Gorka, the red-​meat guys; for Alveda King, bring­ing the crowd to its feet to join her in song.

And then there was the one for Steve Scalise.

Months after a gunman’s sav­age and politically-​motivated attack left him near death, Con­gress­man Scalise made his way to the Val­ues Voter podium last Fri­day to the sound of appre­cia­tive cheers. He moved with the aid of crutches, the only vis­i­ble sign of his injuries. Once at the podium, he spoke in the strong and steady voice of a man eager to get to work.

As House Major­ity Whip, he has the unen­vi­able task of herd­ing the GOP cats when it’s time for votes on the House floor. HIs posi­tion is prob­a­bly what earned him an invi­ta­tion to speak at Val­ues Voter. He under­stands first things first, though. Before he spoke about pol­icy, he spoke about gratitude.

After he was shot, while he was in the hos­pi­tal, he and his fam­ily received count­less prayers and good wishes, includ­ing mes­sages from peo­ple who are not in polit­i­cal har­mony with him. That touched him deeply. He under­stood that the mes­sages were not merely routine.

You knew that this was an attack on the val­ues of our country….I can­not thank you enough for those prayers and that love.” This from a man who spent three and a half months in a hospital.

He was can­did in his speech about the tough times past and to come, as he and his fam­ily face long-​term chal­lenges aris­ing from his injuries. His can­dor made his enthu­si­as­tic demeanor all the more mean­ing­ful. “We have a great and mighty God,” he declared, “and I am a liv­ing exam­ple of the mir­a­cles he can produce.”

Then, and only then, he addressed spe­cific pol­icy ini­tia­tives. He said, “I came back with an even sharper focus” on fam­ily, friends and America.

He Con­sid­ers the Pain-​Capable Act a vic­tory. That’s the mea­sure to restrict abor­tions after 20 weeks, the point in preg­nancy when sci­ence indi­cates that unborn chil­dren can feel pain. Pas­sage of the mea­sure was a near thing. “As Major­ity Whip, I had to put that coali­tion together. But we did.” Now, the bill is in the Sen­ate, its prospects uncer­tain in view of the par­tic­u­lar batch of Repub­li­cans now serv­ing. “Tell your Sen­a­tors to pass it,” Scales urged. The Pres­i­dent “wants to sign this bill into law.”

The bill includes cut­ting fed­eral fund­ing to the nations’s largest abor­tion provider. That gives me pause, as voter who ques­tioned (and still ques­tions) the depth of the President’s roots on the life issues. Scalise has no doubts. “He wants to sign this.”

He’s deter­mined to sup­port the President’s tax reform pro­pos­als. I don’t think I’ve heard any­one give a snap­pier sum­mary and smile while doing it: reduce per­sonal rates; reduce busi­ness rates to encour­age fam­i­lies to bring jobs back to this coun­try; repeal the death tax, dou­ble the child tax credit (now there’s a pro-​life initiative).

He did not dwell on the unhappy fate thus far of efforts to repeal Oba­macare, beyond say­ing “let’s not give up fights. Pres­i­dent Trump wants these on his desk.”

All this was said in a tone that most other speak­ers at Val­ues Vot­ers didn’t approach. He was pas­sion­ate and deter­mined with­out breath­ing fire. He didn’t sound as though we were all under siege; in fact he radi­ated hope, both polit­i­cal and personal.

HIs final words to the crowd, com­ing after all he has expe­ri­enced these past months, rang with truth that brought the audi­ence to its feet yet again: “It’s great to be alive.”

Ellen is a New Hamp­shire writer and pro-​life activist. Read more by and about her at ellenkolb​.com.

Sup­port inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ism by mak­ing a dona­tion to Da Tech Guy blog. Thank you!

The just-concluded Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. was punctuated by standing ovations. Among them: a few for the President, who spoke decisively but without pugnacity; for Bannon and Gorka, the red-meat guys; for Alveda King, bringing the crowd to its feet to join her in song.

And then there was the one for Steve Scalise.

Months after a gunman’s savage and politically-motivated attack left him near death, Congressman Scalise made his way to the Values Voter podium last Friday to the sound of appreciative cheers. He moved with the aid of crutches, the only visible sign of his injuries. Once at the podium, he spoke in the strong and steady voice of a man eager to get to work.

As House Majority Whip, he has the unenviable task of herding the GOP cats when it’s time for votes on the House floor. HIs position is probably what earned him an invitation to speak at Values Voter. He understands first things first, though. Before he spoke about policy, he spoke about gratitude.

After he was shot, while he was in the hospital, he and his family received countless prayers and good wishes, including messages from people who are not in political harmony with him. That touched him deeply. He understood that the messages were not merely routine.

“You knew that this was an attack on the values of our country….I cannot thank you enough for those prayers and that love.” This from a man who spent three and a half months in a hospital.

He was candid in his speech about the tough times past and to come, as he and his family face long-term challenges arising from his injuries. His candor made his enthusiastic demeanor all the more meaningful. “We have a great and mighty God,” he declared, “and I am a living example of the miracles he can produce.”

Then, and only then, he addressed specific policy initiatives. He said, “I came back with an even sharper focus” on family, friends and America.

He Considers the Pain-Capable Act a victory. That’s the measure to restrict abortions after 20 weeks, the point in pregnancy when science indicates that unborn children can feel pain. Passage of the measure was a near thing. “As Majority Whip, I had to put that coalition together. But we did.” Now, the bill is in the Senate, its prospects uncertain in view of the particular batch of Republicans now serving. “Tell your Senators to pass it,” Scales urged. The President “wants to sign this bill into law.”

The bill includes cutting federal funding to the nations’s largest abortion provider. That gives me pause, as voter who questioned (and still questions) the depth of the President’s roots on the life issues. Scalise has no doubts. “He wants to sign this.”

He’s determined to support the President’s tax reform proposals. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone give a snappier summary and smile while doing it: reduce personal rates; reduce business rates to encourage families to bring jobs back to this country; repeal the death tax, double the child tax credit (now there’s a pro-life initiative).

He did not dwell on the unhappy fate thus far of efforts to repeal Obamacare, beyond saying “let’s not give up fights. President Trump wants these on his desk.”

All this was said in a tone that most other speakers at Values Voters didn’t approach. He was passionate and determined without breathing fire. He didn’t sound as though we were all under siege; in fact he radiated hope, both political and personal.

HIs final words to the crowd, coming after all he has experienced these past months, rang with truth that brought the audience to its feet yet again: “It’s great to be alive.”

Ellen is a New Hampshire writer and pro-life activist. Read more by and about her at ellenkolb.com.

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