Last week Washington Babylon editor Ken Silverstein syndicated his 1995 story for The Progressive magazine titled The Ten Dimmest Bulbs in Congress. Back then he canvassed Democratic and Republican sources on Capitol Hill to find out which members of the House and Senate were regarded as moronic. Not surprisingly, only one of those ten is still in office – Rep. Don Young (R-AK).
In light of the spectacular stupidity on display right now in Congress, it seems a good time for some reflection. There are so many ignoramuses in Congress that it’s hard to pick only ten. Still, we will give it a shot using the internet to identify candidates for the #1 Moron in Congress. We will send up one moron each week for your consideration. They will be in random order so that when we’re done, Dear Readers, you can vote for who should be #1 in the current list of the Top Ten Dimmest Bulbs in Congress. If there’s a dimwit you think deserves a place, please let us know via Twitter or in comments.
To start off the series, we’re going with Iowa Representative Steve “The Racist” King. Steve King is so dumb he didn’t scrub his official U.S. House website for evidence of his allegiance to nativism and white supremacy even after Republican leadership in the House stripped him of all his committee assignments as punishment for not hiding his racist views in a Jan.10 New York Times article.
The Times’ article detailed King’s more than decade-long campaign to turn the GOP from immigration reform to anti-immigration. King was Trump before Trump was Trump. And on Jan.15, the Times published a documented timeline of King’s racism.
The offending section on King’s government website, which was first reported by the Huffington Post on Jan. 29, is titled Illegal Immigration Stories. The stories are news items from dubious sources such as Breitbart, the Daily Caller and other far-right propaganda websites that tell of alleged illegal Latino immigrants charged with crimes. As Huffington Post noted, one of the stories directs readers to VDare.com, a product of the VDare Foundation, which is a nonprofit that “warns against the polluting of America by non-whites, Catholics, and Spanish-speaking immigrants,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In response to the Huff Post report, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wrote a letter to the House Ethics Committee objecting to King’s continued use of his government website to promote white nationalism, and referring specifically to VDare.com. The letter revives a censure resolution raised previously by Ryan and Bobby L. Rush (D-IL). The ethics committee is empowered to censure King or go so far as to expel him from Congress.
As laudable as these efforts are by members of Congress to take a stand against racism, we should keep in mind there’s usually an ulterior motive for anything politicians do. In this case, as both the New York Times and a subsequent article in Vox point out, the Republican Party may no longer be able to use King as a “potential political kingmaker” in the first presidential nominating state. GOP candidates regularly seek out his endorsement in the reliably red Iowa district he has represented since 2003. While he has consistently won reelection there by large margins, King won by just 3 percentage points in the 2018 midterm elections, and he has a challenger for the 2020 primary, an Iowa GOP state senator, Andy Feenstra. Conventional wisdom is that the New York Times’ latest outing of his racist beliefs will finally put Steve King out to pasture.
A newspaper publisher in western Iowa, Douglas Burns, has followed King’s career for decades. As reported recently at Boing Boing, Burns said “[King’s] latest comments, the ones generating national controversary, wouldn’t even make my Top 10 list of most distressing Steve King comments.”
In a 2010 feature story, Burns detailed “Steve King’s top 20 greatest hits.” In 2006 on the floor of the U.S. House, King said Washington is more dangerous for civilians than Iraq. Having been a DC politician since 2003, King said he has a “feel for the rhythm of this place called Washington.” He said his wife, who lived with him in DC, was in far greater risk than the average civilian in Iraq. Burns fact checked him: An estimated 21,000 civilians died violent deaths in Iraq in 2006. That same year there were 169 homicides in D.C.
Number six on Burns’ list is King comparing homosexuals to unicorns and leprechauns. Commenting on a 2003 decision by Sioux City Judge Jeffrey Neary to grant two lesbians a divorce, King said “Unless I am mistaken it was in Vermont, not Iowa, that Howard ‘The Coward’ Dean slyly signed midnight legislation making same sex unions legal. Unicorns, leprechauns, gay marriages in Iowa — these are all things you will never find because they just don’t exist. But perhaps Judge Neary would grant divorces to unicorns and leprechauns, too.”
How is King as a lawmaker?
Well, in 2009, Burns tells us he opposed a bill recognizing the African American slaves who built the U.S. Capitol.
While King has authored amendments and co-sponsored legislation that became laws, he has introduced exactly one bill that became a law. In 2003, his first year in Congress, H.R. 2758 was enacted by the Senate and became law. He successfully re-designated the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 101 South Vine Street in Glenwood, Iowa, as the “William J. Scherle Post Office Building.”