Tuesday, February 23, 2010

King of the Nuts

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has a reputation for saying some really off-the-way right-wing stuff, but telling the folks at CPAC that he could “empathize” with the man who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, last week and liked the idea of imploding other IRS facilities puts him square in the middle of greater downtown Wingnuttia.

King’s comments weren’t recorded, but a staffer for Media Matters, who heard the comments, provided TPMmuckraker with an account.

The staffer, who requested anonymity because she’s not a communications specialist, said that King, an extreme right-winger with a reputation for eyebrow-raising rhetoric, appeared as a surprise guest speaker on an immigration panel at the conservative conference. During his closing remarks, King veered into a complaint about high taxes, and said he could “empathize” with the man who flew a plane into an IRS building last week.

During the question and answer session, the Media Matters staffer asked King to clarify his comment, reminding him of his sworn duty to protect the American people from all sworn enemies, foreign and domestic. In response, said the staffer, King gave a long and convoluted answer about having been personally audited by the IRS, and ended by saying he intended to hold a fundraiser to help people “implode” their local IRS office.

Think Progress gets him on tape saying pretty much the same thing.

After a while it gets tiresome to point out this constant barrage of insanity and hyperbole from right-wingers; it’s what he does. Like a dog licking his privates, he does it because he can and no one really expects anything else from him or any of the other folks who pop up like Whack-A-Moles at the arcade: there’s Michele Bachmann; there’s Virginia Foxx; there’s James Inhofe and Tom Coburn; there’s Bob Marshall, the state delegate from Virginia with a unique take on neonatal medicine. So why listen to them? Why give them any credence because of the outrageous things they say? Because while normal people with common sense and a respect for the rule of law shake their heads in wonder who in the world would elect such a person to a position of responsibility, there is obviously a majority of people in their district who agree with them in some respects, and a few who are unbalanced enough to translate those words into action, usually resulting in grief for the innocent. Then when something like what Joe Stack did last week happens, they all summon up the carefully crafted words of sympathy and the non-apology apology to try to insulate themselves from the action, all the while not really admitting that yes, perhaps suggesting even metaphorically that it’s time to “implode” the IRS might result in a literal criminal act. No one could have anticipated that someone might actually do something, y’see. (As Oliver Willis points out, these are the same people who think Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a radical for being in favor of the public option.)

What it proves is that people like Mr. King are cowards and opportunists. They don’t give a popcorn fart about the people who do this terrorism or the causes they died for. It’s just one way of raising their profile and a ton of money for their re-election campaign. I think we should be reminded of this every so often.