Anti-endorsement, Part VIII

By ART CULLEN

This is the eighth time we have called for Anybody But Steve King for Congress. We would endorse Albert the Bull from Audubon if we thought he had a chance. Since Albert cannot speak, he might be just the bull for the job. But there is a human alternative in the person of Kim Weaver, a Democrat from Sheldon who made her career as a social worker and mother of three. She is smart and scrappy, put her kids through college and is not Steve King. She has no money and not enough friends. She has no support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, just like the others before her. But she is not Steve King.

We mused for a moment — only a moment — about endorsing the Kiron Republican this time around because it might have the opposite effect: The Kiss of Judas just might dispatch him back to the cab of a grader. Why would we endorse him? Because he is seemingly racist? Because he doesn’t do a darned thing for Northwest Iowa? So scratch that idea.

Racist is a strong word. But what other conclusion are people to draw when he flies a Confederate flag on his congressional desk? Or when he calls young Latinos who are trying to build a future in Storm Lake drug runners with calves the size of canteloupes? Or when he questions the legitimacy of Barack Obama as a citizen of the United States? We could get into his discourse on why white people built civilization and minorities haven’t done much for culture in America (like creating gospel, jazz and blues music, the unique American cultural form). He was blathering on about that on a cable news network the other day, and even more people were aghast. We have been listening to it for 14 years. We’ve heard it all before. And so have you.

Which is why it continues to mystify us that the good people of Northwest Iowa would return this joker to Congress by double-digit margins.

What has he done for lake dredging? Not a dime’s worth.

How much money did he direct to Highway 20? Nothing. Gov. Terry Branstad did the heavy lifting over the past 30 years by appointing transportation commissioners who were committed to it.

What has he done to advance agricultural interests in the House of Representatives? Judging by continued calls for evisceration of conservation funding and food stamps, King is actually working against ag producers and food processors. He certainly did the Fourth Congressional District no favors by working to dump House Speaker John Boehner. King guaranteed that our voice would not be heard in the Republican majority.

What has King done to strengthen communities? He has opposed comprehensive immigration reform every step of the way with every fiber in his being. The result is people in Storm Lake living in the shadows, confounding and confusing law enforcement, and ambitious young people held back from advancement or a college education.

King embarrasses us.

King diminishes us.

King divides us.

And we keep voting for him in droves.

Next week or next month he will make some other remark that demeans good people and portrays his constituents as a bunch of racist rubes.

We apologize for him to friends who wonder what the heck is going on out here.

We’re tired of it.

But we’re used to it.

Kim Weaver probably doesn’t stand a chance. Rick Bertrand certainly didn’t when he challenged King in the June primary. King absolutely destroyed the Sioux City Republican, whose premise was that King is a blowhard who doesn’t work hard. We’re not sure what more Weaver could say to break through King’s noise.

For those who share our view, go find three friends who have not voted against King and convince them to do so. It should only take one or two of his quotes to turn them. Maybe that can make a difference.

Northwest Iowa doesn’t deserve this. We deserve a Member of Congress who respects all people regardless of their color or culture. One who works to strengthen rural areas through agricultural prosperity and conservation. One who celebrates the core Iowa values of hard work and tolerance of others. One who makes friends with the people controlling the purse strings. One who could make us proud, like Berk Bedell or Fred Grandy or Tom Latham, all decent men who tried to give everyone a fair shake regardless of party.

Enough of Steve King.

Vote for Kim Weaver.