That’s funny. The Times has reported that Republicans have rebuked Iowa Representative Steve King. King committed a gaffe — when a politician accidentally tells the truth. He wondered aloud why “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were offensive.
Um, a lot of us think racism is a bad thing, Steve, and racism is an essential component of “white nationalism” and “white supremacy.”
King has pretty much always been a racist pig. He is a case study in how knee jerk deference to Christian belief perpetuates racism and other ugly impulses that lie deep in the American psyche. He has cozied up to far right persons and groups in Europe, where the specter of resurgent Nazism is always present.
But it is particularly amusing to hear that some Republicans have finally decided to call him out. Not that their protestations are very convincing.
Ever since Democratic President Lyndon Johnson played a major role in passing important civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, “white supremacists,” who had been quite happy in the Democratic Party since well before the Civil War suddenly decamped in droves and followed their leader, Strom Thurmond, Senator from South Carolina, to the Republican Party, where they proved the power of a recalcitrant rump by taking over the Party.
Since opposition to African American equality has always been the “conservative” position in the United States, the Republican thus became the “conservative” Party, home of the “New Right,” a noxious group of die hard Cold Warriors and “white supremacists” who whined about excessive power in the federal government except when they wanted to invade some other country for no good reason.
Their first President was Richard Nixon, who conspired to scuttle peace talks ending the Vietnam War in order to help his own election prospects, then deliberately drove a wedge between working class whites and African Americans in order to sunder the New Deal electoral coalition that had governed from 1932 until 1968, when Nixon used the dog whistle racism of running on behalf of the “silent majority” to win that year’s presidential election.
Every subsequent Republican to win the presidency used some version of Nixon’s sotto voce racism to win. It is a deeply ingrained idea in the Republican Party. They have used their subtle “white supremacy” to convince working class white people to keep voting for them even though their policies have uniformly harmed working class people.
Every subsequent Republican President until Trump, that is. Trump kept the racism, but lost the subtlety. Trump was vocally racist. Trump likes Steve King, and King likes Trump. They are brothers in racist arms.
Now Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, one of two (!) black Republicans in Congress, has suddenly found his voice, after two years of studiously ignoring the obvious racism of Donald Trump, to call out Steve King. The problem Senator Scott doesn’t seem to appreciate is that his condemnation of King lacks force when he has repeatedly failed to call out Trump for saying that most Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers, and advocating exclusion of all Muslims from the country.
With all due respect to Senator Scott, racism is the Republican brand. He has found some way to ignore that fact that works for him. The rest of us have no need to do so. We can be honest about Republican racism.
We can guffaw loudly about the idea of any other Republican trying to “rebuke” Steve King for his overt racism. Risible.