-- Steve King (R-IA)
How? Well, for starters, the Holocaust didn't help.
And the Ku Klux Klan was a real impediment for making the position acceptable. The hoods alone were a dead giveaway. Also, lynchings. And cross burnings. And just the general principal of outraged hatred towards people for no other reason than they had different-colored skin, or had a different ethnic background, or were simply different.
That's how. For starters.
I love Steve King's explanation that he had a 50-minute interview and made a freshman mistake which people are singling out one sentence. Well, for starters, Steve King isn't a freshman congressman, he's been serving for 15 years. And second, and most important, "one sentence" is all it ever takes. Especially if that one sentence is hate-filled and virulently racist -- and isn't just "once sentence" but rather is supportive of what you've been saying for the past 15 years, and more. If you wrote a 500-page novel that was beautifully written, majestic in its imagery, and eloquent in addressing its noble philosophy, and there was only "one sentence" that said, "And by the way, blacks, Jews and women were sub-human with no rights,".it would be a very big problem for you. "One sentence" is a powerful tool.
What's notable about all this is not what Steve King said. After all, he's been saying pretty much this for a long while. No, what leaps out is that it took until now, after years, for there to be any critical reaction to Steve King in the Republican Party. And that this critical reaction in the GOP was limited in the immediate aftermath to about a half-dozen members of Congress. And only after four days, officials of the Republican Party are only starting to express their displeasure.
On Sunday, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said "That language has no place in America. That is not the America I know, and it is most definitely not the party of Lincoln."
To be clear, the Republican Party has not been the "party of Lincoln" for almost half a century, ever since Richard Nixon used race-baiting to attract support for the GOP in the South. Further, it has been anathema to the party of Lincoln since Republicans nominated Trump and its representatives in Congress have supported and enabled his racism and nurtured white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK. Indeed while that language has no place in the founding principles of America, it has a very foundational place in the Republican Party.
Let us not forget that only this past June Steve King sent out a tweet that “Europe is waking up... Will America... in time?” and included a link to a link to an anti-immigrant comment by a well-known British neo-Nazi -- and when confronted about it, defended it and has left the tweet up to this day. And Republicans did nothing about it.
How outraged was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)? On Sunday he finally built up his gumption and said that King's comments were "stupid" and "he needs to stop it." Ouch. That should show Steve King.
No, it's not "stupid," it's virulently racist, and it's the Republican Party that needs to take outspoken action against one of its own.
Like with Trump, this is not about Steve King. This is about the Republican Party and its elected officials who have enabled King for many years. And even now are only uncomfortably dancing around criticizing him. And if they finally feel pressured into stripping King of his committee seats, that's a fine action but too little and too late. They need full, outspoken condemnation that the party as a whole must change. And they needed it years ago.