Thursday, January 10, 2019


Congressman Steve King recently sat down for an interview with Trip Gabriel of The New York Times. During the interview -- I hope you're sitting down for this shocker -- King said something racist:
“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?”
On Twitter, Ben Shapiro made a great show of appearing to be appalled and offended:

Shapiro promised to donate money to Randy Feenstra, a Republican who's announced that he'll primary King in 2020.

At which point Young Ben was reminded of this:

Shapiro desperately attempted a walkback.

It wasn't just that Shapiro's title ("Media Accuse Rep. Steve King [R-IA] of Racism. They're Lying. Read His Actual Words") was wrong -- his entire post was disingenuous and thus racism-enabling. Here's what Shapiro wrote:
On Sunday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) tweeted about the upsurge of Muslim immigration to Europe by citing the growing electoral popularity of Dutch right-winger Geert Wilders. Here’s what he tweeted:

There are two ways to read this tweet.

The first is the most obvious: as racism. The idea that babies from abroad cannot be civilized to Western values – that “somebody else’s babies” are unfit for assimilation – is racist. If that’s what King said and meant, he should immediately be censured by his Republican colleagues on the floor of Congress, and we should all pray that he loses his Congressional seat.

The second way to read the tweet suggests that it's badly phrased but not racist: it could be argued that King was stating that multiculturalism, combined with high levels of immigration from non-Western cultures, shapes destiny. King could have been saying that high levels of foreign immigration to Europe in an attempt to prop up their ailing economies, without any sort of assimilation, will destroy the fabric of European civilization. That’s an argument that’s been made by European politicians ranging from David Cameron to Angela Merkel.

Fortunately, King cleared up which angle he meant on New Day on CNN. “It’s the culture, not the blood,” King said. “If you could go anywhere in the world and adopt these little babies and put them into households that were already assimilated into America, those babies will grow up as American as any other baby with as much patriotism and as much love of country as any other baby. It’s not about race, it’s never been about race … It’s a clash of cultures, not a race.”
In the tweet, King made a blunt, categorical statement: Babies who aren't like us demographically simply can't be proper successors to us within this culture. Confronted on what he tweeted, King dishonestly edited his premise in order to make it appear benign, and Shapiro -- who, like me, is a member of an ethnic group whose members would have been seen as polluting America's blood stock by King's ideological forbears -- then defended King's deceit and attacked his critics.

That was in 2017. It was also pointed out to Shapiro today that this happened in 2018:

That's a reference to this:

I don't know why the supposedly respectable right is suddenly, belatedly turning against King. Why did Shapiro make this 180? Why is there already a 2020 primary challenger to King? (Does anyone ever challenge a sitting House member two years before the next election?)

It's possible that the GOP is really beginning to worry about the upcoming election cycle. The midterms were very bad. Many suburban whites who gave Donald Trump a chance in 2016 now find him and his entire party toxic. Iowa's six electoral votes could conceivably revert to the Democrats in 2020, especially if bigotry turns off the state's racially tolerant moderates while tariffs continue to punish farmers.

So maybe a few voices in the GOP are strategically making a great show of portraying themselves as anti-racist, in the hope of getting that impression into the public mind even as Trump demands a wall and Democratic presidential hopefuls gear up to run on forthright messages of inclusion.

Sorry, folks, I'm not buying this sudden conversion. You were all fine with racism until a couple of minutes ago. We have the receipts.

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