The GOP's Unholy Assault on Iowa's Steve King

The headline of a recent Baltimore Jewish Times article reads as follows: "Jewish Republicans Tackle a Thorny Question: What To Do About Republicans Like Steve King?"

A saner question might be, "Why should Jewish Republicans — or any Republican, for that matter — have a problem with Iowa congressman Steve King?"

Certain Republican insiders, using The Republican Jewish Coalition as a wedge, are trying their damnedest to defeat King in a June 2 primary.  In doing so, they not only threaten to unseat one of Israel's most solid defenders in Congress, but also risk creating a backlash against Jews.

Reporter Ron Kampeas acknowledges how GOP leadership is using the Republican Jewish Coalition.  Writes Kampeas, "The RJC [is] making a case that a Republican trafficking in anti-Semitism or white supremacism carries more weight than when it comes from an outside group."  What makes this strategy all the more odious is that King has trafficked in neither.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I contracted with King in December to help him finish a book project he had been working on.  This article is not part of that contract.  It comes from the heart.

In the course of the project, I have reviewed every single "controversial" comment that King has made during his eighteen years in Congress.  Having reviewed them all in their proper context, I would endorse King in a heartbeat and challenge any Republican who feels otherwise to a public debate on what it means to be a conservative.

In the way of background, I have a Ph.D. from Purdue in American studies.  More to the point, I wrote a book five years ago called Scarlet Letters that documented the left's use of race, sex, and other identifiers to subvert the right.

As I noted in the book, "[a]n awkward phrase, a misunderstood joke, a manufactured quote, a frank look at data, a persistent belief in a revered tradition could earn a sinner any one of many scarlet letters as ablaze with 'awe and horrible repugnance' as Hester's own Scarlet A."

King was felled by a manufactured quote.  The quote was published in a January 2019 New York Times article headlined "Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics."  Deep in the article, reporter Trip Gabriel quoted King as saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"

Gabriel did not tape the interview.  Neither did King.  In a later taped conversation, King's assistant got Gabriel to admit he was the one who introduced the phrases "white nationalism" and "white supremacism," but by that time, the tumbrils were rolling, and they have not stopped since.

Five days after the initial article, Gabriel wrote an exhaustive piece headlined, "A Timeline of Steve King's Racist Remarks and Divisive Actions."  The article deserves an honored spot in a media time capsule showing just how thoroughly the Times had corrupted the language by 2019.

Gabriel documented King's twenty-year history of alleged racist and divisive acts.  These included such offenses as King's successful introduction of a bill making English Iowa's official language, his assertion that "preventing babies being born is not medicine," and his description of multiculturalism as "a tool for the Left to subdivide a culture and civilization into our own little ethnic enclaves and pit us against each other."

The left's strategy works only when Republicans join the witch hunt.  In King's case, the witch-hunters know who they are.  I will mention only one by name: House Leader Kevin McCarthy.  Joe McCarthy never deserved the designation "McCarthyism."  Kevin McCarthy does.

Curiously, in the lengthy Jewish Times article about King's racism, reporter Kampeas does not attribute to King a single racist quote.  The best he can do is quote McCarthy saying, "Congressman King's comments cannot be exonerated."  This raises the question, "which comments?"

In his outspoken 18 years in Congress, King has never said anything as quotable as "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."  He never said about Jews, "It's all about the Benjamins."  He did not even say, "Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came?"

The last of those quotes came from a tweet by President Trump.  It was far more provocative than anything King has ever said.  To his credit, McCarthy refused to denounce Trump when asked to do so at a press conference.

As a result, the hashtag "KevinMcCarthyIsARacist" promptly trended on Twitter.  Weak-kneed Republicans like McCarthy live in fear of such labels.  To appease the left, they routinely serve up the occasional sacrificial lamb — a Todd Akin, a Richard Mourdock, a Steve King — forgetting that the left is never appeased.

Despite the lack of quotes in the Jewish Times article, King is entirely quotable.  I have found King to be more thoughtful in his defense of Western civilization than most Republicans and more candid than just about all of them.  Some relevant quotes:

On Israel

CNN, November 2018:  "I am a person who has stood with Israel from the beginning, and the length of that nation is the length of my life.  And I've been with them all along."

On White Supremacy and White Nationalism

House Floor, January 2019: "I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define.  Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives."

On Judeo-Christianity:

House Floor, February 2012: "We derive our strength from free enterprise capitalism, Judeo-Christianity, Western civilization.  That is the core of America, the vigor of America, and that is what we must continue to protect, regrow, and refurbish."

In the wake of Gabriel's article, Mark Steyn took up King's cause while hosting the Rush Limbaugh show.  "He's not a white supremacist.  He's not a white nationalist.  It's all stupid talk," said Steyn.  "So you've just surrendered the phrase 'Western civilization.'  I don't get that.  I don't see what's in it for conservatism in surrendering that phrase, in accepting the leftist's view that the term 'Western civilization' is beyond the pale."

I don't get it, either.

Jack Cashill's newest book, Unmasking Obama, is available for pre-order at Amazon.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

The headline of a recent Baltimore Jewish Times article reads as follows: "Jewish Republicans Tackle a Thorny Question: What To Do About Republicans Like Steve King?"

A saner question might be, "Why should Jewish Republicans — or any Republican, for that matter — have a problem with Iowa congressman Steve King?"

Certain Republican insiders, using The Republican Jewish Coalition as a wedge, are trying their damnedest to defeat King in a June 2 primary.  In doing so, they not only threaten to unseat one of Israel's most solid defenders in Congress, but also risk creating a backlash against Jews.

Reporter Ron Kampeas acknowledges how GOP leadership is using the Republican Jewish Coalition.  Writes Kampeas, "The RJC [is] making a case that a Republican trafficking in anti-Semitism or white supremacism carries more weight than when it comes from an outside group."  What makes this strategy all the more odious is that King has trafficked in neither.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I contracted with King in December to help him finish a book project he had been working on.  This article is not part of that contract.  It comes from the heart.

In the course of the project, I have reviewed every single "controversial" comment that King has made during his eighteen years in Congress.  Having reviewed them all in their proper context, I would endorse King in a heartbeat and challenge any Republican who feels otherwise to a public debate on what it means to be a conservative.

In the way of background, I have a Ph.D. from Purdue in American studies.  More to the point, I wrote a book five years ago called Scarlet Letters that documented the left's use of race, sex, and other identifiers to subvert the right.

As I noted in the book, "[a]n awkward phrase, a misunderstood joke, a manufactured quote, a frank look at data, a persistent belief in a revered tradition could earn a sinner any one of many scarlet letters as ablaze with 'awe and horrible repugnance' as Hester's own Scarlet A."

King was felled by a manufactured quote.  The quote was published in a January 2019 New York Times article headlined "Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics."  Deep in the article, reporter Trip Gabriel quoted King as saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"

Gabriel did not tape the interview.  Neither did King.  In a later taped conversation, King's assistant got Gabriel to admit he was the one who introduced the phrases "white nationalism" and "white supremacism," but by that time, the tumbrils were rolling, and they have not stopped since.

Five days after the initial article, Gabriel wrote an exhaustive piece headlined, "A Timeline of Steve King's Racist Remarks and Divisive Actions."  The article deserves an honored spot in a media time capsule showing just how thoroughly the Times had corrupted the language by 2019.

Gabriel documented King's twenty-year history of alleged racist and divisive acts.  These included such offenses as King's successful introduction of a bill making English Iowa's official language, his assertion that "preventing babies being born is not medicine," and his description of multiculturalism as "a tool for the Left to subdivide a culture and civilization into our own little ethnic enclaves and pit us against each other."

The left's strategy works only when Republicans join the witch hunt.  In King's case, the witch-hunters know who they are.  I will mention only one by name: House Leader Kevin McCarthy.  Joe McCarthy never deserved the designation "McCarthyism."  Kevin McCarthy does.

Curiously, in the lengthy Jewish Times article about King's racism, reporter Kampeas does not attribute to King a single racist quote.  The best he can do is quote McCarthy saying, "Congressman King's comments cannot be exonerated."  This raises the question, "which comments?"

In his outspoken 18 years in Congress, King has never said anything as quotable as "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."  He never said about Jews, "It's all about the Benjamins."  He did not even say, "Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came?"

The last of those quotes came from a tweet by President Trump.  It was far more provocative than anything King has ever said.  To his credit, McCarthy refused to denounce Trump when asked to do so at a press conference.

As a result, the hashtag "KevinMcCarthyIsARacist" promptly trended on Twitter.  Weak-kneed Republicans like McCarthy live in fear of such labels.  To appease the left, they routinely serve up the occasional sacrificial lamb — a Todd Akin, a Richard Mourdock, a Steve King — forgetting that the left is never appeased.

Despite the lack of quotes in the Jewish Times article, King is entirely quotable.  I have found King to be more thoughtful in his defense of Western civilization than most Republicans and more candid than just about all of them.  Some relevant quotes:

On Israel

CNN, November 2018:  "I am a person who has stood with Israel from the beginning, and the length of that nation is the length of my life.  And I've been with them all along."

On White Supremacy and White Nationalism

House Floor, January 2019: "I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define.  Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives."

On Judeo-Christianity:

House Floor, February 2012: "We derive our strength from free enterprise capitalism, Judeo-Christianity, Western civilization.  That is the core of America, the vigor of America, and that is what we must continue to protect, regrow, and refurbish."

In the wake of Gabriel's article, Mark Steyn took up King's cause while hosting the Rush Limbaugh show.  "He's not a white supremacist.  He's not a white nationalist.  It's all stupid talk," said Steyn.  "So you've just surrendered the phrase 'Western civilization.'  I don't get that.  I don't see what's in it for conservatism in surrendering that phrase, in accepting the leftist's view that the term 'Western civilization' is beyond the pale."

I don't get it, either.

Jack Cashill's newest book, Unmasking Obama, is available for pre-order at Amazon.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.