Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Conservative Bigotry In the Spotlight: Rep. Steve King

From and Associated Press article March 11, 2008 titled “Rep. Steve King Defends Comments About Obama” the “Iowa Republican congressman defended his prediction that terrorists would celebrate if Democrat Barack Obama were elected president, despite a rebuke from aides to John McCain, the GOP's apparent presidential nominee. "(Obama will) certainly be viewed as a savior for them," Rep. Steve King told The Associated Press. "That's why you will see them supporting him, encouraging him."

This bigoted fear laden commentary is nothing new from the conservative frame that portrays a terrifying world around us in a surreal simplistic way, but it does exemplify a critical disconnect from reality. This disconnect shapes their ideology, party wide, and is the reason why there is little outrage from the right.

Rep. King was reacting to a statement he made a few days before where he said, “al-Qaida would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror. His middle name does matter, it matters because they read a meaning into that."

King cited Obama's pledge to pull U.S. troops from Iraq, his father's Muslim roots in Kenya and his middle name, Hussein, which King said has a meaning to terrorists.”

Point one: For King, it appears unthinkable to have a plan of departure from an occupation driving so much of the anti-American sentiment. Withdrawal should have been apart of the plan in the first place. But because Bin Laden would love it we left Iraq, we are more determined than ever to defy his wishes. It’s the simple game of chicken, where only a few people on the playground don’t get how stupid it would be to participate.

Point two: It's breath taking just how bigoted it is to suggest someone can’t be trusted because they have Muslim roots. The problem Democrats have is that they don’t frame these comments in a way that clearly identifies them as insane. The AP story quoted Barack Obama reaction this way, "But I have to say that Mr. King and individuals like him thrive on offensive or controversial statements as a way to get in the papers, so I don't take it too seriously.”

Barack Obama missed the chance to strongly denounce the comments as racist. It actually legitimizes King’s statement among like minded conservatives when Obama said he didn’t take the offensive or controversial statements seriously. It is one of the most frightening characteristics of the conservative mindset, and we had better take them seriously.

An Action Alert from the progressive organization American Family Voices wrote this more appropriate statement.

“Congressman Steve King (R-IA) is known for his outrageous and disgusting comments. In the past he's been quoted as comparing immigrants to livestock, calling undocumented workers a "slow-moving terrorist attack", claiming that immigrants have murdered more Americans than the combined death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, comparing the abuses at Abu Ghraib to mere "hazing" and waging a war against "secularists" who want to "eradicate Christ from Christmas." Suffice it to say, this man is off his rocker. "

"This kind of hatred and racism should not be tolerated in our political process. Progressive activists should be standing up to Steve King now, so that this kind of bigotry won't take hold and pollute the campaign going forward.”

American Family Voices came very close to framing Rep. King’s comments dangerous to our democratic republic, but limited their focus to the 2008 presidential campaign, and not the conservative viewpoint in general.

The conservative movement is a failed ideology filled with racism, platform contradictions and a well crafted mythology. It’s time to pull away the curtain and articulate the obvious.

No comments:

Post a Comment