Many on the Hill initially squirmed when I asked about Scalise’s political future. It’s almost taboo to suggest that tragedy can double as opportunity. But there’s no denying that the shooting has helped make Scalise a plausible candidate for the most powerful job in the U.S. House of Representatives. As Representative Jackie Walorski of Indiana put it: “He’s got such a story today to touch a nation.”

Scalise now finds himself at the coveted intersection of political clout and electoral opportunity. Last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan told his conference that he would not seek reelection. The announcement sparked whispers across the conference about who would succeed him for the gavel. Scalise’s name was chief among them.

Which is to say that for one of the first times in his congressional career, Scalise might be right on time. He just can’t say that out loud.