The House is a-rocking — the US House, that is — after Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) used his own petard to hoist himself out of key appointments on the judicial, agriculture and small business committees.
What he said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” It came about during an interview with a New York Times reporter, when discussing immigration. And it surprised exactly no one who knows the rest of King’s catalog of hits, all issued from the reddest district in Iowa: demagoguery of Muslims, a lawsuit against the secretary of state for posting voting instruction in Spanish, a bill requiring public schools to teach Christianity, this weird crack about immigrants who have “calves the size of cantaloupes” from muling marijuana across the border, selfies with extreme far-right leaders and ideologues and retweets for neo-Nazi and white-supremacist groups.
And it’s not just Nancy Pelosi. Even other Republicans are distancing themselves from this former rising star of the party, if not outright condemning him. A lot can happen between now and his re-election bid in 2020, but from here it looks like he’s an early-onset lame duck with no chance of keeping his seat.
The message is clear: Not even the most rabid Republican from the reddest spot in the reddest state can get away with a full-on embrace of white supremacy.
So where does that leave us in North Carolina, where white-supremacist policies — some legacies of our shameful past and others, like racial gerrymanders and laws against monument removal, installed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in the years since 2010?
This should put Phil Berger, architect of the black-voter disenfranchisement, state Rep. Dan Bishop, who was revealed to be an investor in the overtly racist social media network Gab, and others of their ilk on notice.
If, that is, we can be at least as progressive as the state of Iowa, and the Republicans in Congress.