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Rep. Steve King Didn't Get the Immigration Job He Wanted. Smart Move, GOP

4 years ago
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Rep. Steve King of Iowa fully expected to become chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration -- and his party's leading voice on immigration -- when Republicans took over the House this month. He talked as if it were a done deal, and it was reported that way by many outlets.

But King learned last week it was not to be. Instead, even though he was the senior member of the panel, GOP leaders tapped veteran Rep. Elton Gallegly of California.
Why did they snub King, a quotable cable regular, as their chief immigration spokesman? Just guessing, but . . .
1. He designed a wall topped with electrified wire to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the southern border and explained, "We do that with livestock all the time."
2. He has a plan to prolong conservative rule: "Every time we give amnesty for an illegal alien, we deport a liberal."

3. He says police can sense who might be an illegal immigrant by indicators such as clothing, shoes, accent and "the type of grooming they might have."
4. In 2008 he predicted that if Barack Obama won the election, "radical Islamists" would be "dancing in the streets because of his middle name (Hussein)."
5. Last year he said the president has a "default mechanism" that makes him favor blacks over whites, and also called him "very, very urban."
6. Last month he called Joe McCarthy a "hero for America" and said he favors re-establishing the House Un-American Activities Committee, "but I would support a different committee name so that we don't have to deal with the history, and move forward."
Republicans need to appeal to moderates to do well in the 2012 presidential and congressional races. They also need to attract minority voters, who have been supporting Democrats in droves. Last year, national exit polling showed, Republicans captured 9 percent of the black vote and 38 percent of Latinos – and that was much better than their 2008 performance. Two days after King learned he would not be chairman, in fact, former Florida governor Jeb Bush published an essay about the critical importance of GOP outreach to Hispanics.
Gallegly's California district north of Los Angeles is more than a quarter Hispanic. The California Independent Voting Network notes that he was named one of the top 10 immigration hawks in 2006, is part of the Border Patrol Hall of Fame, and chaired a 1995 immigration task force that saw most of its recommendations become law the following year. "He does not have a history of heated rhetoric behind him," the group said, and because of that may be able to "maneuver the waters of immigration reform" with both parties.
In an interview with National Journal, King blamed his situation on Speaker John Boehner and Boehner's lack of commitment to the immigration issue. He said the Gallegly pick proves the House "is not a meritocracy."
The day before he found out he wouldn't be promoted, King introduced a bill to end automatic citizenship for all children born in the United States and instead limit it to babies of citizens, permanent legal immigrants and immigrants in the military. He doesn't plan to abandon that crusade or others. Plan B is to take his case to the grassroots across the country, the goal being enough support and noise that "the guy with the gavel hears it."

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Tom

Steve King's major good point was when he stood up for the mendacity of the new speaker and the rest of the house leadership. He was most surely correct on that point and is to be commended for drawing the voting public's attention to it!!!!

January 12 2011 at 7:07 AM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply
misterhigg

"Republicans need to appeal to moderates to do well in the 2012 presidential and congressional races."

Tell that to the Tea Party members that won big-time last November. Did they run as moderates? No.

January 12 2011 at 6:21 AM Report abuse +19 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to misterhigg's comment
groffd

If the Republicans hadn't nominated so many extremist Tea Partiers for Congress, they would have won an even larger majority in the House (probably defeating Gabby Giffords) and would have taken control of the Senate. Because they turn off so many mainstream voters, Tea Partires have already denied Republicans vital victories. They are on track to deny the GOP the White House in 2012.

January 13 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse -14 rate up rate down Reply
joe

Here we go again. More advice for the Republicans to be more moderate. So Rep. King has brash ideas about illegal immigration and the ways to deal with it. I notice that nothing else, whether moderate or outright liberal, is working and moderation will just produce more of the same old same old.

January 12 2011 at 12:07 AM Report abuse -13 rate up rate down Reply
Margaret

This man needs to tone it down. Not all Hispanics are illegal, not all black people, including President Obama, are "urban." His racism is rearing a very ugly head that is definitely not needed in the 21st Century. We are all Americans and we need to treat each other with respect, no matter the age, race, creed, religion, etc. The only way to move our country forward is to work TOGETHER. Period.

January 11 2011 at 11:05 PM Report abuse +28 rate up rate down Reply

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