Rep. Steve King: Losing Culture War To Progressives Is The 'Biggest Threat' To America

November 08, 2011 9:57 am ET — Alan Pyke

In a heavily edited string of video clips published Sunday by the Daily Caller, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that while President Reagan "reestablished the pride in the greatness of Americanism," President Obama has "play[ed] the class envy card" and "the anti-capitalist card" in the "pursuit of decadence." According to the Daily Caller's accompanying text, King's rambling about "the culture war that's going on" at "this tipping point of American history" came in response to the question, "What are the biggest threats to this nation right now?"

When asked about the Occupy Wall Street protests, King remained on a culture war footing, finishing his tirade by describing the protesters as "the grubby, unkempt, unwashed, unsanitized antithesis of American exceptionalism."

This society seems to have forgotten about the history of how we got here, what has made us great. ... [Reagan] reestablished the pride in the greatness of Americanism worldwide, and because of that vision, coupled with Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher, it brought an end to the Cold War, a victorious end to the Cold War. Here we are now, an America that really hasn't found our groove since then. And we're watching the President of the United States play the class envy card over and over and over again. And it is the anti-capitalist card, the anti-free-enterprise card, and the liberty that they would have, I would call it instead, not pursuit of happiness as the Greeks understood it but pursuit of decadence as the secularists happen to think of it. And all of that is part of the culture war that's going on and it's part of the national debate that's coming together now to this tipping point of American history. Certainly the President of the United States, who replaces Barack Obama, is the pivotal component of this. [...]

If you fill up the traditional news media with left-wing liberal activists with a sanctimonious attitude that look down their nose at redneck America, so to speak, and that's how they look at the Tea Party, this should delight them. I mean it's predictable that the Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist movement would delight the mainstream news media, and they would report it trying to find some kind of a movement that they could define as spontaneous and directing the political center of America. Well, when you line up the grubby, unkempt, unwashed, unsanitized antithesis of American exceptionalism, and the media lines up with them, it's no wonder we have a growing Tea Party in the country.


He appears utterly convinced that progressive activists are protesting not the corruption of a great system, but the entire free enterprise system itself.

The Daily Caller, founded by right-wing talking head Tucker Carlson, published the King interview fragments under the banner, "LEADERS with Ginni Thomas." That's a useful reminder that however absurd King's worldview may seem to reasonable people, his stature within the bareknuckle culture warrior segment of the GOP is undiminished.