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OPINION

The 'Not Racist' Drama of Congressman Steve King

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Republicans have been playing defense on the race card for far too long. Their instinctive need to make nice with the trigger-happy, race-baiting media has forced so many conservatives into a corner, preventing serious discussions about race: how it should matter less, but still matters only because of Democrats who exploit color differences to push their extreme, socialist policy goals.

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The last controversy to blow open this genuflective self-loathing among Republicans has occurred because of remarks which Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) had made to the New York Times a few days ago. 

Here's what Congressman King said:

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Putting nationalism and white supremacy in the same sentence is wrong. Supremacy based on skin color is patently ridiculous. However, the former bulldozer operator did not advocate for white supremacy. This representative was trying to criticize the shouts of racism, the empty epithets of hate from the Left which they rely on to silence conservatives. Later, King went to further lengths to clarify his remarks: “I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define.”

There. Congressman King cleaned up his statements. Many people have uttered misstatements on a range of issues before, and they have corrected themselves. So did this official.

Then the real problem emerges. What has caused this conflagration of fiery issues and misunderstandings to break out? With a cursory glance at the article published by the New York Times, it’s clear that the Times is pushing another substantially offensive bias of their own, and right in the title of the article:

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Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics

Unbelievable! King has never opposed immigration per se. However, he has been a vocal, consistent critic of illegal immigration, and he has demanded the removal of illegal aliens from the United States. Consider Mexico, with some of the most draconian immigration laws in the world. Colombia has a wall with Venezuela.; Israel has two walls. Compared to these countries, the United States is extensively lenient when it comes to illegal immigration. 

The New York Times engages in unmistakable bias toward King by calling him "anti-immigrant" in the title. Even the article contradicts its misleading headline:

“At the same time, he said, he supports immigrants who enter the country legally and fully assimilate because what matters more than race is “the culture of America” …”

King is not anti-immigrant. He’s also no racist.

Here’s the real problem: Republicans are forced to prove that they are "not racist". This challenge (from the left) turns into bottomless self-loathing. How does one prove a negative? The progressives, with the real history of racism, will never stop playing the race card against opponents. Someone could have a black wife, Hispanic kids, Asian parents, a long pedigree of non-white, non-European ancestors, etc., and it still wouldn’t be enough. 

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Incidentally, what King is enduring now is precisely what he was decrying. One more time, the "race card" has turned into a perennial distraction from more substantive issues. Congressman King is being pilloried by a political establishment desperate to prove that they are "not racist". 

This hasty damage-control action from Minority Leader McCarthy is proof positive that the knee-jerk reaction of mea cupla in the face of the false claims of racism has still not left establishment-leaning Republicans. President Trump fights back against the Fake News Fraud of the liberal legacy media. They keep chanting "Racism! Racism! Racism!" about border security and retention of American culture. McCarthy launches into castigating King for inartful statements. Desperate to be liked by the legacy media, failed presidential candidate and now U.S. Senator Mitt Romney hostilely attacks Trump's manners and demeanor. Sad!

Of course, there’s more to this controversy:

1. Four years ago, McCarthy had a chance to be Speaker of the House but for his own flippant remarks about the Benghazi investigations. He (honestly, yet unwisely) suggested that those hearings were meant to hurt Hillary Clinton's presidential election bid. How ironic that McCarthy wants to tar and feather King for an inartful phrase, when he was publicly pilloried for the same failing. 

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2. The Big Business, Cheap Labor Lobby wants to get rid of one of their biggest opponents in Congress. King remains a thorn in the side to every Chamber of Commerce donor and Congressional puppet in both chambers of Congress and throughout the DC Swamp. He was Trump before The Donald appeared on the scene. If the amnestarians can't stop the president, they will settle for King.

3.The NeverTrumpers want a scalp, too. Even the NeverTrumper conservative mag National Review has jumped into the anti-King mosh pit. The Weekly Standard would have done the same thing if they hadn't folded a month ago. Honestly, when even the former Buckley flagship rag wants to toss you overboard, you should prepare for smooth sailing. After all, their "Never Trump" issue didn't make a damn difference in stopping his election, and Trump has accomplished more conservative goals in two years than all the Republican presidents elected during William F. Buckley's lifetime, including Reagan.

Was Congressman King’s statement inartful? Yes. Is he a racist? No. This whole King controversy is another example of the liberal media straining to find a way to paint an effective conservative as a racist, and all the other Republicans in Congress are scrambling to denounce him so that they don't get tarred with the race card because they said nothing. This bumbling is sad and sickening, especially because Congressman King has championed many conservative causes, including life, liberty, and the restoration of American sovereignty. Let’s hope he stands firm in the face of this race-baiting onslaught from both sides of the aisle.

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