Steve King's nonsense of the week

Congressman Steve King is the guest on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program this week. Unfortunately, it sounds like no one on the panel asked our ACORN-obsessed representative about last week’s Congressional Research Service report, which cleared ACORN of violating any federal regulations during the past five years, or about the federal court ruling that halted a Congressional ban on federal funding for ACORN.

But don’t worry, King served up plenty of nonsensical right-wing talking points yesterday. You can watch the program on Iowa Public TV this weekend, but a few highlights are after the jump.

Charlotte Eby reports that King slammed health care reform as a Democratic attempt to create a “dependency class.”

King said he is worried about the “mindset” drifting into America that doesn’t seem to understand the free enterprise system.

“We’re descendents in this part of the country from people who came across America in covered wagons,” King said. “I mean, they came here to live free or die on the prairie. They didn’t ask for a government handout.”

I’ll take this rhetoric more seriously when King tells all his farmer constituents to give up their federal subsidy checks.

King should also explain why he voted for adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare in 2003.

Getting back to the current health care reform debate, King claimed yesterday that Democrats are trying to “regulate everything, and when they do that, we will lose the liberty we have today to buy health insurance policies.” Earth to wingnut: the insurance industry is very happy with the current version of health care reform, because it will deliver tens of millions of new customers without any competition from a public-sector plan.

In other news, King sounds scared to have the would-be Christmas Day airplane bomber tried in this country:

“We ought to be taking a look at taking people like this ‘Christmas Day Bomber’ and declaring them to be an ‘enemy combatant’ even if they have set foot in the United States. This plot took place in a foreign country and I don’t even know if he was over U.S. airspace when this actually happened. This no one’s asked that question that I know of,” King says.  “I’d take him and put him down at Gitmo and I’d take a look at trying them all in military tribunals.” […]

“And we’re going to set them 15 miles from the Mississippi River? Fifteen miles from Iowa? And grant them constitutional rights?  The worst of the worst?” King says.  “Two of them that were released from Gitmo were half of the four perpetrators who were strategists, planners for this Christmas Day bombing.”

Those alleged conspirators were released from Gitmo during the Bush administration, incidentally. The Bush administration also tried attempted “shoe bomber” Richard Reid in federal court, and I don’t remember King throwing a fit. (Reid is serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison.)

A bunch of media picked up on King’s prediction that Sarah Palin will run for president and could do well in Iowa. I was more intrigued to see King say he might not endorse a gubernatorial candidate during the Republican primary.

King waited until shortly before the 2008 Iowa caucuses to announce a surprise endorsement of Fred Thompson for president (news had leaked that King would back Mitt Romney instead). He said yesterday that he “learned from” that experience and “should have made an endorsement earlier in the presidential race.”

Does anyone know whether King supported then Governor Terry Branstad or then Congressman Fred Grandy during the 1994 GOP primary? He wasn’t in the Iowa Senate at that time. I’m just curious. King lived in Grandy’s district, but most of Iowa’s social conservatives stuck with Branstad that year.

Final note: King said he plans to run for re-election in 2012 even if redistricting places him in another incumbent’s district. I would like to see King duke it out with Tom Latham in Iowa’s redrawn fourth Congressional district, though it’s more likely that Latham will end up in the new third district.

So, Bleeding Heartland readers, what do you think was King’s most ridiculous comment yesterday?

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