ARTICLE

Column: Steve King takes immigration outrage to the bank

A lot of people really do worry immigration reform will open the floodgates to criminals but once again, their legitimate concerns were lost in King's bro-flavored standup routine.

The folks tsk-tsking over Rep. Steve King’s cringeworthy characterization of young immigrants as drug mules are playing right into his hand.

While they’re busy crafting clever retorts to King’s blockheaded insistence that for every valedictorian who’d benefit from immigration reform there are 100 more smuggling marijuana across the border, King — a master of political jiu-jitsu — is cashing in on their objections. Laughing all the way to the bank.

Top Republicans called his insensitive statement, the most recent in a series, “inexcusable” and “wrong.” One CNN contributor called for King’s deportation. Tongue in cheek, I think.

Meanwhile, a Des Moines Register blogger got his hands on a fundraising email King’s campaign sent out on Thursday, urging donors to “Help Steve King Fight Back!”

There’s no reason to doubt they will. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, King’s campaign committee raised nearly $3.8 million for his last Congressional race — twice the average amount raised by House candidates, even though his is a relatively modest district. He wins handily, in no small part, because voters think they can trust him to tell it like it is.

And that’s the real reason to pity King’s constituents: Not that he does such a great impression of a quotably ignorant loudmouth, but that he clearly would rather be famous and irrelevant than reasonable and representative.

A lot of people really do worry immigration reform will open the floodgates to criminals (the proposed DREAM Act requires applicants be of “good moral character”), but once again, their legitimate concerns were lost in King’s bro-flavored standup routine.

That’s no skin off King’s nose — so long as a humorless few take the bait. For a guy like King, any publicity is good publicity.

So here we are again, the country shaking its collective head and wondering what voters could possibly see in this guy: This embarrassing relation. The Archie Bunker of Sac County.

Here we are again, with King milking the outrage he earned, casting himself as a victim to political correctness. Throwing a wink at constituents and whispering, his hand on their wallets: “Jeez. What’s wrong with them?”

It might not be all that sinister or sophisticated, but it sure is getting tiresome. The voters in King’s district can do better.

Comments: (319) 339-3154; jennifer.hemmingsen@sourcemedia.net

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