Steve Scalise suffered a physical assault on June 14 as a result of being shot by a liberal Bernie Sanders supporter. However, few know that three years ago Scalise politely endured a verbal assault by enraged Hollywood liberals in the entertainment business. It was an example of the increasing rejection of civil discourse by the left leading ultimately to the recent baseball field violence we saw a few days ago.
A June 16 Hollywood Reporter article by Paul Bond reveals the incident at the Los Angeles home of pollster Frank Luntz who held a soiree in the hopes of bringing together conservative congressmen and members of the entertainment industry. It did not go well as you can see in the article's title, Steve Scalise Once Tried to Woo Hollywood — the Results Weren't Pretty.
Media profiles of Steve Scalise usually note his conservative bona fides — low taxes, strong defense, travel ban, defund Planned Parenthood, etc. But the Republican congressman who was shot by a gunman on Wednesday isn’t averse to reaching across the proverbial aisle and, in fact, did just that in the most left-leaning of enclaves: Hollywood.
The results were not so good.
Scalise was the highest-ranking of six GOP representatives who appeared three years ago at the home of pollster Frank Luntz. The soiree, off the record until now, was meant to introduce conservative lawmakers to high-profile Democrats (and a few Republicans), and attendees included many in the entertainment industry.
Actor Richard Dreyfuss was there, as were former writers for Seinfeld, The West Wing and other popular TV shows, and there were several directors and producers who prefer to remain anonymous.
Things quickly became quite tense since liberals generally seem to be averse to civil discourse:
“It got very heated very quickly, and several people left before it was over,” Luntz tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I took offense. My house is meant to be a place for intellectual conversation where people can agree to disagree.”
The primary issue back then, says Luntz and others who were at the party, was that Democrat attendees were angry with GOP representatives for obstructing then-President Obama’s agenda.
“It’s ironic. Now the shoe is on the other foot,” Luntz says.
Some of the angrier Democrats that night shouted at Scalise and his colleagues and some even called them nasty names, though Scalise, in particular, kept his cool under fire.
Luntz's account was verified by a producer in attendance:
“Before he was assaulted physically on the baseball field, he was assaulted verbally at the dinner a few years ago, and many of us were shocked at the total lack of civility,” recalls producer Mark Joseph (The Vessel, starring Martin Sheen, and Max Rose, starring Jerry Lewis). “It turned nasty very quickly, to the point where Frank just called it a day,” adds Joseph, a registered independent. “It was embarrassing to him, and to us, that some members of the group couldn’t debate but rather chose to launch ad-hominem attacks.”
One uplifting thing is that Steve Scalise maintained a genial civility despite the liberal hate directed at him.
Despite the hostility that evening, “Scalise was always smiling and incredibly engaging. He stayed longer than any member and shook more hands than anyone,” Luntz says.