Congressman Steve King showed us again on Tuesday why Esquire magazine named him one of the 10 Worst members of Congress last year. It wasn’t his hyperbole regarding the American Clean Energy and Security Act (which in King’s view “will cost millions of Americans their jobs.”) Lots of Congressional Republicans are making equally ridiculous claims.
On Tuesday King distinguished himself as the only member of the U.S. House to vote against placing “a marker acknowledging the role that slave labor played in constructing the Capitol” in a “prominent location in the visitor center’s Emancipation Hall.” This was not a partisan resolution; 399 members of Congress voted yes, including certifiable wingnuts such as Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann.
King released a statement explaining his vote, and I’m posting it after the jump in case other Bleeding Heartland readers can make more sense out of it than I can. He claims the resolution acknowledging slave labor “was used as a bargaining chip” in negotiations over a Republican-sponsored resolution “Directing the Architect of the Capitol to engrave the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the National Motto of ‘In God We Trust’ in the Capitol Visitor Center.” King objects:
Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation and should not be held hostage to yet another effort to place guilt on future Americans for the sins of some of their ancestors.
Reading King’s statement reminded me of Esquire’s observation:
King believes himself to be clever, and his list of idiot declarations is probably the longest in Washington.
Maybe someone else can find logic in King’s vote on Tuesday. As far as I’m concerned, and I have said this before, he’s like school in the summertime: no class.
UPDATE: Iowa Democratic Party chair Michael Kiernan released the following statement on Thursday:
“Iowans have a rich history of embracing diversity and of leading the nation in support of civil rights for African Americans. Years before the Civil War, Iowa Courts determined there would be no place for slavery in our state. Nearly a century before ‘Separate But Equal’ was deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, we in Iowa desegregated our schools, opening opportunities for children and families without regard to race. And in the years since, our elected officials and courts have protected these rights, which we hold so dear. This is a tradition we can be proud of.
But Congressman Steve King has flown in the face of our history of inclusion, and of progress. This vote is an embarrassment to his constituents, and to Iowa. Congressman King has once again showed that he is out of touch with Iowa values, and he must be held accountable for this vote. Iowans deserve better.”
SECOND UPDATE: King spoke with Radio Iowa about his reasons for casting this vote.
July 8, 2009
King: America’s Judeo-Christian Heritage Not A Political Bargaining Chip
Congressman Steve King today issued the following statement after voting against H RES 135 last evening. The resolution directs the Architect of the Capitol to place a marker in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center acknowledging the role that slave labor played in the construction of the United States Capitol.
“In the Capitol Visitor’s Center, we agreed to change the name of the Great Hall – which honored the immigrants that came legally to America – to Emancipation Hall to honor the 645,000 slaves and their descendants who were brought to the United States more than two centuries ago.
“Last night I opposed yet another bill to erect another monument to slavery because it was used as a bargaining chip to allow for the actual depiction of ‘In God We Trust’ in the CVC. The Architect of the Capitol and liberal activists opposed every reference to America’s Christian heritage, even to the extent of scrubbing ‘In God We Trust’ from the depiction of the actual Speaker’s chair in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“This is just the latest example of a several year effort by liberals in Congress to scrub references to America’s Christian heritage from our nation’s Capitol. Liberals want to amend our country’s history to eradicate the role of Christianity in America and chisel references to God or faith from our historical buildings.
“Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation and should not be held hostage to yet another effort to place guilt on future Americans for the sins of some of their ancestors. Christian abolitionists gave their lives by the hundreds of thousands to end slavery. Great American leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worshipped God just as our Founding Fathers did. We must never forget this important aspect of our heritage or use it as a political bargaining chip.”