Rep. King’s Obama Race Baiting Alienates Right, Sort Of

Andrew Belonsky :: Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 2:00 pm

Republican Rep. Steve King this week insisted that President Obama has a “default mechanism” that makes him favor black people. King’s intimations aren’t winning him any friends. Not in public, at least…

King, who hails from Iowa, has never been one to hold his tongue. The Iowa Representative has previously made race-related waves by claiming that “Muslim” Obama’s presidential win would be a terroristic victory. “If he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11,” declared King during the 2008 election.

And King this year defended Tea Party protesters who hurled racial epithets at black lawmakers. “I just don’t think it’s anything,” said King. “There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.”

Well, King’s at it again, and on Monday, during a radio interview with Watergate architect G. Gordon Liddy, King claimed that Obama “has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race — on the side that favors the black person.” He was referring to the infamous incident in which a white police officer arrested legendary black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and continued, “That was a case where he knew nothing about it, threw himself into it, and concluded that the cop had operated on a race bias or a racist basis and then he ended up having to have a beer summit because of that.” It’s unlikely anyone will be inviting King over for a beer anytime soon. Not even the Tea Party.

In the wake of King’s remarks, GOP Congressional hopeful Cory Gardner canceled a fundraiser at which King was meant to speak, and Colorado-based Tea Party put the kibosh on an event that included a King appearance. “His comments do not represent the tea party,” said the group’s representative. King, however, will not be deterred: he told Politico last night that he regrets nothing, “Not in any way.”

King’s lack of contrition fits with his larger record of questionable comments: last month, as the country debated Arizona’s draconian immigration law, King contended, “[Obama’s] playing race-bait games to undermine the law enforcement in the state of Arizona and across the country.” He reiterated that contention this week, when he told Liddy that the President “presumes” the law “would bring about race bias when it says exactly the opposite – that it is prohibited under the statute.” He concluded, “The president of the United States is dividing us down the line of race…and making arguments that are patently false, at least in terms of Arizona.”

It’s refreshing that King has become a breed of political pariah. Though certainly racism and race-based assumptions will continue to play a role in “post-Obama” America, the ostracization King faces shows that the public isn’t biting when it comes to race baiting. Of course, what people say behind closed doors is an entirely different story: King claims he spoke with Gardner and the Colorado Tea Party, “and neither one of them disagreed with what I said or the position I have taken.”