What is to be done? Congressman Steve King responds
For years we have heard the common refrain that “the people don’t get it,” or we’re “stupid,” or we “really don’t care.” Ignoring the Americans who serially vote Democrat because they have been bought off with welfare payments or some other benefit, I have always argued otherwise, and Reagan’s 1980 and 1984 landslide victories bore me out. Of course, as president, the senior Bush quickly smashed that resurgent national spirit with a “wicked political pivot” back to insipid mediocrity.
The truth is that since then our options have been limited. The mass media shuts out honest, serious analysis of the issues and censors or ostracizes political leaders who don’t. People have allowed themselves to be browbeaten into apathy and drugged with cultural distractions (like American Idol, for example) because they have had nowhere to turn for answers. Newt Gingrich inspired us for a short time by throwing out the utterly corrupt Congressional Democrats in 1994, but then proceeded to squander his historic victory with a meteoric descent into typical pork-barrel politicking. The rest of the Republican caucus followed suit.
A decade of that, followed by four years of Democrat excess that has broken all prior records, a manufactured financial crisis that has driven this country to the edge of the abyss and the election of the most radical president in American history finally stirred us to action. We are now wide awake and looking earnestly for the kind of leadership that can save this country. And that is what we need, for despite the big Republican gains in the House of Representatives and larger gains in statehouses, we are close to the point of no return and the Democrats will push us over the edge if they can get away with it.
They have been pushing for decades to put a greater number of voters on the Liberal Plantation than there are among the working public. The “serial Democrat voters” cited above are rapidly approaching the magic 50 percent of the voting population. For example, at present the bottom 50 percent of income earners pay a mere 3 percent of all federal income taxes. Obama even had a proposal to cut their FICA taxes. There is doubtless a similar comparison for states.
With the details just beginning to surface from Obamacare and all the other onerous legislation passed by this corrupt Congress over the past two years, the top 50 percent may well be paying all income taxes. If not, the 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants here would provide that margin if granted amnesty. They might anyway, given Obama’s nationwide vote fraud machine.
So we continue to seek solutions; and look for leadership among those few hearty souls who understand the problem and have a demonstrated track record in backing words with action. Iowa Representative Steve King is one of these, and last week I had the honor to interview him on behalf of Right Side News.
King is a genuine “man of the people,” in the sense that he is one of us. He started a construction business with a whisper and a prayer in 1975, built it from the ground up and ran the business for 28 years before turning the reins over to his eldest son. He has been married to the same woman since 1972, has three sons and five grandchildren, and has lived in the same small Iowa town for thirty-two years. He and his family are members of the local Catholic Church.
In contrast, many DC politicians these days seem to come directly out of law school and go straight into politics with no real-world business experience, often without even racking up many hours in a brick-and-mortar law firm. And while Democrats embrace the “working class” in their rhetoric, precious few have any real experience in the working world, and couldn’t support themselves in private business if their lives depended on it. They live a parasitic lifestyle financed by We the People, cycling between political posts, lobbying and non-profits, and most haven’t darkened the doors of a church in ages, if ever. Most are elitists and distain the working class, while simultaneously leaching off our efforts.
Not so with King. He was raised in a typical middle class family and cut his teeth as an entrepreneur. He knows what it takes to meet a payroll and deal with the regulations inflicted on us from Washington. His interest in politics was borne directly of his experience with regulatory red tape as a small business owner.
He joined the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors’ Association in the 1980s and took progressively higher leadership positions within that organization before running for the Iowa State Senate in 1996. As a state senator he helped eliminate the state inheritance tax, enforce workplace drug testing, enforce parenting rights, including parental notification of abortion, pass tax cuts for working Iowans, and pass the law that made English the official language in Iowa.
King is one of the few members of the U.S. Congress willing to identify the Democrat Party as the nest of destructive socialists that it really is. The train wreck they have created is the most urgent crisis we face. We literally have to take our country back or we will be too weakened to fend off a host of increasingly aggressive foreign foes. I therefore focused on this issue in the interview.
When I talked to him, King had just returned from David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend, where he was invited to speak. He also participated on an illegal immigration panel discussion. All of the panelists were good. You can see the video here. King’s insightful comments begin at about minute 26 and are worth hearing.
This was a half-hour interview. I have rearranged the order and condensed my questions and some of his answers to get at the most salient points. I have emphasized some of his more important statements in bold italics. You may listen to the entire interview by following this link. Read or listen, King doesn’t pull any punches.
RSN: Congressman King, what can we do to take our country back?
King: Well, the people have run up a new flag next to Old Glory and that is the Gadsden Flag, don’t tread on me. That is the spirit of this renewed America that we have. But what we’re doing in Congress now is basically fighting a rearguard action. We’re hanging on to the freedom we have. Now we may take some back with this new Congress, but we know we can’t sustain this unless we take the culture back.
Back when Clinton was running for president, James Carville coined the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid.” I thought, “Well, that’s stupid. It isn’t the economy at all. It is the culture. If you get the culture right, you’ll get the economy right. Everything will fall into place automatically.”
We have to take back our institutions. In education for example, school choice is the best solution for grades K-12. Parents should be deciding where our children go to school and have a hand in what they learn. We also have to take back our institutes of higher learning. These have been completely taken over by leftists. In law school, for example, they are teaching case law, not the Constitution. There is no question that the vast majority of law professors are far left or Democrats at a minimum — very few conservatives. That needs to change.
With the new media: the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, cable news and talk radio, we are winning the argument with the American people. But it is going to take a while to infuse our culture with the belief system that has built America. We have to raise our children to understand and believe in American exceptionalism. We need to engage our children to participate in restoring our culture. Whether they grow up to be teachers, pastors, or if they become film makers for example, they need to produce documentaries about what makes America great, not anti-American propaganda like the stuff Michael Moore puts out.
RSN: That is a good long-term plan and essential for getting our country back on track. But what can we do in the meantime? The left operates under a completely different set of standards. It is a movement that is hostile to the continued presence of the United States on the world stage as a free country. They want to see us fail, and many of them are routinely breaking our laws to move their agenda along. We can begin to rein them in immediately and discouraging others immediately by subjecting them to the laws they have been so flagrantly violating. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), for example, has called for RICO investigations of ACORN. Is the new Congress planning any investigations of these people?
King: I am a close friend of Darrell Issa and have worked closely with him on ACORN and other issues. He does plan to conduct investigations into ACORN. We have to continue to track the principals and track their activities and shut off their federal financing. We have done so temporarily and will have to keep doing so.
RSN: I would love to see the same type of inquiry into George Soros and his vast networks of organizations that are just criminal enterprises — to my view anyway. What about Soros?
King: It would be good to look into those things too but I am a little cautious to say exactly what we will do. It takes a lot of manpower with specialized skills to conduct these investigations. We would probably go after the low-hanging fruit at first, ACORN is a perfect example.
I don’t know if Soros is what you would call low-hanging fruit, but I do think Soros’s activities need to be linked together and there are plenty of outside organizations that can do that. Americans can short-circuit this whole process by doing their own research and then presenting it to Congressional panels. I am open to people in this country helping to clean up those kinds of things.
When James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles went undercover into ACORN offices posing as a pimp and prostitute, it rocked ACORN’s world. Without them, we could not have defunded ACORN.
Another example is Rep. Alan Mollohan from West Virginia. He and his father held that seat for more than a generation. We saw his net worth go from about $150,000 to about six-and-a-half million in about two years. A citizen-engaged investigation put a 500-page report on the desk of the West Virginia Attorney General. It didn’t go anywhere until this year’s primary, when Mollohan was defeated by another Democrat in the primaries, and that Democrat was defeated by a Republican in November. That process took five years, but we unseated a person I believe was corrupt, and we got it done with the help of private citizens.
RSN: Cliff Kincaid recently had a National Press Club conference where he called for resurrection of the Congressional internal security committees. Would you support recreation of such committees?
King: I would. I think that is a good process and I would support it.
RSN: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for the intrusive full-body scans and pat-downs all air travelers are now subject to. It is classic bureaucracy. They are completely reactive. First we had the shoe bomber so we had to take off our shoes. Then we got the underwear bomber so now we have to have full-body scans and pat-downs. Meanwhile we can’t profile or use any common sense approach to identify potential threats. It is insane. What is your take?
King: I agree. It is stupid. The underwear bomber — he was the Christmas bomber of eleven months ago. Now, eleven months later we have changed the process to do the pat-downs and full-body scans. What did they [TSA] think, that the Christmas bomber would only show up on Christmas, so they took eleven months to put the system in place? (Simpson laughing) You’re right, it is classic bureaucracy.
After 9-11, we all knew we would have to do airline screening. But I never imagined we would not have some kind of system for identifying high-risk passengers. Here is what I would do. I would develop a computer-generated model of profiling coupled with special training for our officers. I would set up a scoring system developed by experts, based on a variety of relevant factors such as age, nationality, origin and destination of flight, and physical features like height, weight and eye color. For example, almost every bomber has been a Middle Eastern male between the ages of 17 and 45. We have had only one blue-eyed bomber and that was Timothy McVeigh, and he wasn’t flying.
Based on a scoring system of such factors, weighted appropriately, a person could be subjected to the full-body scan and pat-down. We should profile them on statistics and data and train our people like El Al trains their people — they haven’t had a hijacking since the early 1970s because they do a great job and are not afraid to profile. It is stupid not to.
RSN: Amen to that. I was looking over the Department of Homeland Security website before the interview and I noticed that DHS has a “Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.” Listed as non-DHS board members were a number of Muslims including a notorious radical Islamist, Mohamed Elibiary, left-wing community organizer types and even the CEO of the radical leftist Southern Policy Law Center. What business do these people have anywhere near DHS? We have to pick apart the bureaucracy and find where they have squirreled away these people who are literally wrecking public policy.
King: That’s one area where perhaps a resurrected internal security committee could focus its efforts. But it takes citizen input. To prioritize the huge volume of work we get, the press often determines where we focus our efforts. The press now is the new media. If the information comes to us and it’s been prioritized in the press, we can work quickly on it.
It is not enough to be right. Be right, be consistent, be reliable and raise the issue to the point where it becomes a priority. That is what everyone involved in new media can contribute. Maybe it goes viral and when it does, Congress will act really quickly then.
(NOTE: King originally introduced legislation to defund ACORN in 2007, but it didn’t happen until late 2009 when Giles and O’Keefe’s stunt brought enough public pressure to force the issue.)
RSN: You are one of those people who say the kinds of things we like to hear and we have been talking about things you and I would like to see done, but how many people in Congress and the Senate are willing to follow through with this? Are we really going to see any of these things come to pass?
King: You will see some of it come to pass. Some of us are going to be pushing it hard, but I hesitate because I don’t really know where the freshman class is. There are 84 new House members. Many are young and smart and come with deep convictions and the Constitution stamped on their hearts. But will they be able to join together and form a consensus on what to do? Among the list of sitting representatives right now, it is hard to put together a list of two dozen people who would support the things we are discussing. So I am hoping that 30, 40 or 50 of the incoming freshmen will take on some of these issues. And they need issues to work on. I have told the incoming freshmen that they are God’s gift to America. Now let’s just see how big gifts they really are.
RSN: I think that Obama and the Democrats are going to try to pull a lot of stuff before the Republicans take over. Is there anything we can do to help, especially during the lame-duck session?
King: Weigh in everywhere you can, everywhere you can get traction. If James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles can dress up like a pimp and a prostitute and bring a national organization like ACORN crashing down, if young people can do that, we can all contribute in some way. Every phone call, every e-mail, every person you talk to, adds to the dialog, and you or they may be inspired to think of another idea like that. Just keep weighing in and put the pressure on.
This 111th Congress lame-duck session is a session of spite. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been sitting at this huge banquet table for the last four years of Pelosi’s speakership…gorging themselves on the agenda of the Left. And while it has now been announced that they will be evicted from the banquet, they are still gorging themselves and they are prepared to flip the table upside down and throw a pie in our faces on the way out the door. That is what we have to stand up against and I don’t think I can target it any better than that.
Listen to the entire interview, here.
This article was first posted at Right Side News
Businessman and Examiner.com columnist Jim Simpson is a former White House staff economist and budget analyst. His writings have been published in Big Government.com, American Thinker, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, FrontPage Magazine, Soldier of Fortune and others. His blog is Truth & Consequences.