Rep. Steve King: I Care More About Equal Opportunity Than "Anyone I Know"

June 30, 2010 12:32 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

After recent comments suggesting that President Obama has a "default mechanism" causing him to side with minorities over whites, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) returned to the issue of race on the House floor last night. 

This time, King was railing against a provision in the Wall Street reform bill establishing an Office of Women and Minority Inclusion.  King claimed that "my voting record in this Congress is more consistent with equal opportunity than anyone I know," but that the new office is un-American. 

The Iowa Republican went on to argue that "Martin Luther King never asked for this" because, unlike President Obama, the civil rights hero "stuck to American principles."

REP. STEVE KING: Now, I think we ought to have equal opportunity.  I've stood up and defended equal opportunity, and my voting record in this Congress is more consistent with equal opportunity than anyone I know — certainly anyone on that side of the aisle, because they vote for preferences. [...]

Martin Luther King never asked for this.  I've read almost every one of his speeches and many of his writings.  I can think of nothing in his writings and his speeches that I disagree with.  He stuck to American principles.  But this Congress under Pelosi leadership, this president, has not stuck to American principles.  They have gone all the other way to driving America off the abyss into a managed socialist economy, and trying to write formulas in here where they pick winners and losers, and giving the federal government the authority to shut down or subsidize or set the price on financial institutions.  All of this is anathema to America and the American dream. 

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The congressman's attempt to hijack Martin Luther King's legacy is delusional.  For example, Dr. King was a strong supporter of organized labor; Rep. King is not.  Dr. King also believed that "a society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro." Rep. King might want to take another look at some of those civil rights speeches — not to mention his own record.  

In reality, Rep. King has consistently demonstrated a total disregard for "equal opportunity," at least as it applies to anyone but white men.  In 2006, he opposed the renewal of the Voting Rights Act.  Last year, he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and claimed gay marriage is a "socialist concept."  More recently, he's advocated for Arizona's anti-immigration law by suggesting that police officers can identify illegal immigrants by their shoes and grooming.  His long history of bigoted statements speaks for itself.

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