Tuesday, August 06, 2013

King For President? Ha!

Let's discard THIS little rumour promptly:

Iowa Rep. Steve King, whose hard line immigration rhetoric has angered some of his fellow Republicans and delighted Democrats eager to keep Hispanic voters in their fold, is quietly planning meetings with political activists in the early presidential primary state of South Carolina, CNN has learned.

If these meetings are so quiet, why am I hearing about them on CNN?

If King is curious about seeking the Republican nomination in 2016, as his visit to South Carolina suggests, he would certainly face difficult odds.

King, though, would have a national platform to discuss his policy ideas and might appeal to elements of the Republican base that remain firmly opposed to the immigration reform bill – "amnesty," in his words - that recently passed the Senate.

Which he already has.

Let me tell you something, national media. We've just seen this here in Iowa. Only it wasn't with the presidency. It was with the US Senate race.

King hemmed and hawed and hinted, but probably never had any intention of giving up his House seat for the Senate race. But while that possibility was still out there, the checks rolled in and the spotlight stayed on Steve.

Because that's what it's about. It's about Steve.

So what if his song and dance froze the Republican Senate field for months, helping push top tier candidates out and giving Bruce Braley a head start. It was good for Steve King.

Donald Trump has to visit Iowa whenever The Apprentice is getting ready to announce another season. Sarah Palin hints that she may run for this office or that right when it's time for a TV deal or when she's finished coloring another book.

And Steve King has to say something "crazy" and/or hint at higher ambitions to stay in the spotlight. With the Senate race and governorship off the list, a "presidential bid" is the next logical move.

King isn't crazy. He's very calculating. I can guarantee that King will make some "controversial" statement when he's in South Carolina. He's probably already perfected the sound bite.

Don't get me wrong. I think his xenophobia, his loathing of Hispanic America, his "no moral responsibility" attitude, those are all real. I think his preferred "No Amnesty" solution to immigration is the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented Americans. And then he won't have to Press One For English anymore.

But the "outrageous" statements are part of the act. King knows he's addressing a niche in America, a sad, sick niche that shares his views, and he gives them just enough meat to keep them coming back, without an honest, straightforward detailing of his policies. He can't just come out and say "Round `em up and ship `em back to Mexico." That would cross lines of political correctness that even conservatives have been forced to reluctantly accept. But that niche audience can read King's intent between the lines.

The exit strategy for Steve King isn't a Tom Tancredo style presidential run. It's Fox News. It's talk radio.

Which, if Democrat Jim Mowrer has his way, will be coming to a station near you in January 2015.

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