Friday, May 24, 2013

Even A Know-Nothing Knows Some Things

I'm not shocked by anything Steve King says anymore, because I get that outrageous extreme statements are part of the act and part of the political calculus. In a safe red seat you have to watch your right flank and Steve has no worries in that department.

With King now safely, officially, and finally out of the Senate race, he's back on his career path which someday will mean a cash-in retirement to talk radio or Fox News. His latest statement illustrates that King is speaking to a very distinct niche of conservatives.

Conservatives agree on a lot but there's distinct differences of emphasis. There's money Republicans and Jesus Republicans and Gun Republicans and these days Anarcho-Republicans. King's distinct niche is as an ethnic cleansing culture warrior speaking to Know-Nothing, `Murican Republicans.
King argued that the 1986 immigration bill that Reagan signed into law is estimated to have brought amnesty to three million illegal immigrants.

He said conservative estimates show that, on average, each of these people brought in five others, leading to 15 million more people in the country, most of whom voted for Obama.

"[T]hey have to admit that Ronald Reagan's signature on the '86 amnesty act brought about Barack Obama's election," King concluded on the House floor.

"[I]t's clear to anybody that can do any kind of statistical analysis that Barack Obama wouldn't be President of the United States without Ronald Reagan's 1986 amnesty act."
King is eager to attack "amnesty." He very carefully avoids specifying any solutions to immigration other than "enforce the law." That's because he knows exactly how loudly he can blow the dog whistle for his hidden constituency.

For those unfamiliar with the term, dog-whistle messaging "employs coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup."

Polling shows a large subset, close to 30% but higher among Republicans, whose preferred immigration "reform" is mass deportation. Like the Know-Nothings of the 1850s or the distinctly northern, Catholic-focused, 1920s version of the Ku Klux Klan, they're hostile to an increasingly multi-cultural America.  They're especially hostile to a multi-lingual America. Don't talk Spanish in front of me in the Wal-Mart line.

They may be Know-Nothings but they're not stupid. I'm sure private conversations happen among the trusted locals, but the concept of political correctness has embedded itself deep enough that even in western Iowa average folks know that they can't speak publicly in favor of the mass deportation of more than 10 million people.There's a natural frustration to that, so they eagerly eat up anything that enforces their world view articulately yet without crossing that invisible line. They know what the implications of "enforce the law" are.

And Steve King's not stupid either. Or crazy. Extreme, sure, but savvy enough to know exactly which buttons to press. And here he's tied it up into a nice package. One alien menace, Hispanics, has elected another alien menace, a liberal African American.

The only real risk King took was blaming Reagan.

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