A shorter version of this diary went up yesterday, and in the comments and in other threads, I was asked to update it. Jeff Lieber and otherschallenged me to name races that this community could take on as the next project. Elwyn Tinklenberg is not the only good candidate we could drop kick through the goal posts. After Bachmann, then what?
So I have retained and enhanced the original compendium of the verbal exploits and expletives of Congressman Clouseau, which illustrates why Michelle Bachmann is not the only member of Congress who is so far out in right field that she can see Russia from there. And I am adding some thoughts of where we could go from here in the next few days--"here" being the astounding war chest raised for Elwyn Tinklenberg, and the destination being more and better Democrats in Congress. All we need is more and better targets to get us there. And I have one in mind.
Kossacks have been hot under the collar about comments made by Michelle Bachmann, and hot on her trail, as she so richly deserves. Now Elwyn Tinklenberg probably thinks Christmas comes before election day this year, and for him that is true.
I doubt that Tinklenberg can spend the entire amount he has raised in the limited time he has left. I am not the only one to ask how he can do that, and have not seen any explanation of what media buys, printed mailers, and so forth it can all be spent on. While some think you can never be too rich or too thin, there are other races out there and El is rich enough. And there should not be any doubt about the messageto the McCarthy wing of the GOP that accompanied that money.
I argue that we should move on for these reasons: Tinklenberg probably has all he can spend. We should be expanding the map, which necessarily means we may have to help 10 people in close races in order to get two or three winners. (And if the wave is big enough, we might get 7 or 8.) There are races where $25,000, or $50,000, will be decisive, especially in cheaper media markets. Some of them have not gotten much attention, and should. And if Tinklenberg spends every last cent he has and loses, then he probably wasn't going to win with this late cash anyway, and we need to have some extra winners in GOP districts to taunt Pat Buchanan with on election night.
So let me begin with Steve King, who I wrote about yesterday, and then offer some further ideas for choosing candidates for the next money bomb. And I suggest that we drop cherry bombs, not daisy cutters.
Steve King represents Iowa's vast Fifth District, and has the dubious honor of being the only other Republican congressman who is officially as bad as Michelle Bachmann. Here's one measure: Esquire's ten worst members of Congress only include two Republicans from the House. Guess who.
What Bachmann said was every bit as bad as Katrina vanden Heuvel said it was, and it was Bachmann's mistake to say it to Chris Matthews when a lot of people were watching, as opposed to on CSPAN, where she and King have been saying things like this for quite some time. In fact, King has said worse things, but has not gotten the same attention, which he also richly deserves. I would like to change that, with:
The Greatest Hits of Steve King (With New and Unimproved Hits)
One of King's greatest hits is his radio interview where he said this about Barack Obama:
I will tell you that if he is elected President, the radical Islamists, Al-Qaida, the Islamists and their supporters will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror...(Obama will) certainly be viewed as a savior for them...That's why you will see them supporting him, encouraging him."
He took a lot of criticism for that, but he is unrepentant:
"I'm worried about the root of his values and the experience of his life. I'm looking for a place in his lifetime where you'd want to put a young child and say this is how we'd nurture and raise a president. I can't find that place."
Recently he told the Des Moines Register that he was waiting for someone to tell him it wasn't true. Click the link to that video just to watch him massage the table. It's creepy.
A related bomb mot was uttered on the House floor in June 2006:
27.51 Iraqis per 100,000 die a violent death on an annual basis. 27.51. Now what does that mean? To me, it really doesn’t mean a lot until I compare it to people that I know or have a feel for the rhythm of this place. Well I by now have a feel for the rhythm of this place called Washington, D.C., and my wife lives here with me, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, she’s at far greater risk being a civilian in Washington, D.C. than an average civilian in Iraq. 45 out of every 100,000 Washington, D.C. regular residents die a violent death on an annual basis.
I say that is related to his remarks about Obama, because these remarks lay out his views about the largely African-American residents of D.C., who are, in his view, more dangerous than the Iraqis were to each other. In both cases, these are ugly things to say.
Surveying flood damage in Cedar Rapids:
"This is Katrina," King said. "I have walked into and out of those buildings (in New Orleans), and I tell you, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference....I haven't yet absorbed the magnitude of what happened here," King said. "To do that, you've got to be on the ground and talk to real people."
He left out the part about how he was one of eleven members of Congress to vote against emergency flood relief for Katrina victims. Maybe in New Orleans they aren't "real people" or even real Americans, as Mooselini or Michelle Bachmann might say.
Then there is his vote against SCHIP. But he didn't just vote no. He did this:
In Storm Lake, Iowa, at one of his "Ask Steve" events, someone asked him whether he "hated all children or just poor ones." In his subsequent events he began calling on people who coincidentally had their questions written down all on the same kind of paper.
Rep. Barbara Lee accused King of McCarthyism when he objected to naming a post office in Berkeley after a 94-year-old former city councilwoman, on the grounds that she had "communist ties." King didn't mind being associated with Joe McCarthy. In fact he took it as quite the compliment.
If she studied her history, Joe McCarthy was a great American hero.
Barbara Lee is not the only person to whom the ghost of Joe McCarthy appears when King speaks. Robert Parry wrote about King's attempt to discredit Ambassador Joe Wilson and his report to the CIA on the "Niger Yellowcake" story. Calling him a "dimwitted Inspector Clouseau, who adds two and two to get five," Parry wrote:
Now, with these latest smears from Rep. King, it has become clear that Republican leaders of this generation are heirs to Joe McCarthy’s tradition of using the government’s power to destroy American citizens who get in the way.
On the House floor, he built a scale model border wall, complete with a roll of teeny barbed wire along the top.
I also say we need to do a few other things on top of that wall, and one of them being to put a little bit of wire on top here to provide a disincentive for people to climb over the top or put a ladder there. We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.
King is no friend to soldiers or veterans, and recently voted against the GI bill. But he is worse than unsupportive. I would say he is insensitive, but it seems like an inadequate description of his treatment of military widows. Foreign-born spouses of fallen soldiers are subject to deportation if they have been married less than two years at the time of their soldier spouse's death. Zoe Lofgren and others have been trying to change that. King is opposed.
A soldier, man or woman, could get drunk in Bangkok, wake up in the morning and be married, as will happen sometimes in places like Las Vegas or Bangkok, be killed the next day, and the spouse who was a product of the evening’s celebration would have then a right to claim access to come to the United States on a green card.
Do you feel nauseous yet? Hang on, there's more. Lots more.
To Scott McClellan:
What would you say to the succeeding secretaries, on whether at what point they should step up and tell the world in the middle of their job perhaps, and how will the president handle it from this point, does he have to then put the next press secretary into a cubicle, and slide press releases to him under the door, for fear that he'll be coming either write a book or come before the Judiciary Committee and divulge information that I believe was at least from a national secur-, not national security but from the integrity standpoint, could you not have taken some of this with you to the grave and done this country a favor?
The integrity standpoint? What does he know about the integrity standpoint? And since when is that grounds for claiming a right to refuse to answer questions from the House Judiciary Committee, which is where he serves, and where he said this?
Speaking of the Judiciary Committee, he has turned hearings into a circusto help Bushies avoid answering questions on other occasions.
"I object to granting unanimous consent to the chair," King maintained. Nadler was forced to order a voice vote, then a roll-call vote. By the time [Douglas] Feith had spoken his first words, the hearing was nearly an hour old. King and his colleagues went on to declare dozens of objections, parliamentary inquires and points of order, raising concerns about a T-shirt worn by an audience member, a sign spotted in the crowd, and the need for bathroom and lunch breaks for witnesses. Three and a half hours later, Feith had become but an asterisk at what was supposed to be his hanging....Yesterday's opening statements were done, and Nadler turned to the witnesses. "I now want to welcome our -- "
"Mr. Chairman!" King called out. "Mr. Chairman! Is there time for an opening statement?" King, having thus seized the floor, encouraged everybody "to roll our minds back to that terrible day of September 11th, 2001. . . . The day that all of us looked at that blazing inferno tumbling down in New York."
Nadler tried to return to business, but Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who had been whispering and giggling with King like a schoolboy, interrupted anew. "A point of parliamentary inquiry!" he said. He raised three questions, the last of which was a request to "summon" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
By the time Issa finished, King had reloaded. He gave another speech masquerading as a "clarification."
Your tax dollars not at work. This is what passes for congressional oversight with this clown. And here's hoping Darrell Issa doesn't get rehired either. Robert Hamilton is trying to get that done, God bless him.
The abuses at Abu Ghraib were like fraternity hazing King said in a written statement. He gets extra points because this was not just King shooting off his mouth, but rather something he had to think about:
The dismembered and charred corpses of American contractors dangling over the Euphrates River in comparison to the abuse committed by a few soldiers at Abu Ghraib are like the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer compared to those of Heidi Fleiss. What amounts to hazing is not even in the same ballpark as mass murder.
If Tom Harkin and his Democrat allies want to continue to act like political cannibals and pitch partisan hooey to anyone who’ll listen, then they’re eating their own.
We are in a worldwide War on Terror; let’s not overlook the 135,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq vigilantly fighting for democracy to focus on the few who have shamed us. I’d like to see [Senator] Harkin call on [Iowa Governor] Vilsack to resign the next time an inmate in an Iowa prison cries abuse.
Commenting on the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at," King said about al-Zarqawi, in a recording transcribed by Radio Iowa. "And if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas.
Stay classy, Congressman. Hey ladies, the line forms to the right for this studmuffin...
Steve King, environmental expert and tough guy:
The first thing we need to remember is that "arctic" means up in that area north of the Arctic Circle. The definition of the Arctic Circle is--go back to your eighth grade general science, Mr. Speaker, and ladies and gentlemen, where we learned in about eighth grade that the Arctic Circle is that circle around the globe north of which trees can't grow. And so, by definition, if it's the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, there are no trees up there.
And so, in any case, there was a trucker standing in the crowd that began to scream at me, "liar, liar"--which is no way to treat a public servant. And I was ready to come down off of that bale of straw and deal with him like the boys who grew up in the corn fields, but in the end I convinced some other folks to go down there and do what I would do if I didn't have to give the speech.
And the paper wrote up a story about how Steve King wasn't entirely accurate because they talked to a botanist who alleged that there was a tiny little sliver of plant that grows within the tundra that doesn't get more than 10 to 12 inches tall that technically could be considered a tree, not one you could cut a log out of, not one you could climb, not one that a squirrel would recognize as a tree, but according to a botanist, a tree just the same. So I guess you could say that maybe there are some trees in ANWR, but they aren't as tall as the tundra grass. And that's all that you'll see out there for millions and millions of acres.
League of Conservation Voters rating? Five percent. Probably he gets five points for not shooting wolves from a helicopter.
Speaking of squirrels, Michelle Bachmann was there for this soliloquy on trees and testosterone, and it got her all hot:
We are so grateful we can have this opportunity tonight, so grateful. But I tell you, the passion burns pretty deep in here because we know when we go home fairly soon for the August break, we have a lot of angry people on our hands at home, and they have every right to be angry. We are here calling on the Democrat Congress, pleading with the Democrat Congress, listen to the American people. Drill here, drill now...yes, oh yes, drill, baby drill, oh, oh, oh, aaaaaaahhhh...." [The last part is paraphrasing.]
On their love for oil and oil companies, Bachmann and King are soul mates. But King is far more expert than Ms. Bachmann. He was able to school T. Boone Pickens not long ago, in Spencer, Iowa.
"I think that when (longtime Texas oil executive) T. Boone Pickens comes on television and says, ‘this is one problem we can’t drill our way out of,’ I’m not sure he’s right on that," he said. "But, I understand his point. I will say: This is one problem that we can’t get out of without drilling. And then we need to expand every other source of energy as well."
I could not improve on Douglas Burns in the Iowa Independent, who remarked: "King is reportedly taking the month of August off to teach Tiger Woods how to better shape a hook shot and give Hugh Hefner some hints on one-liners for picking up attractive, younger women. King will then review Warren Buffett’s mutual fund portfolio and show Bill Gates how to improve the latest version of Microsoft Word."
He is a petty little weasel, in my humble opinion. On the same day that Bush Administration officials were in North Korea, he was trying to get an amendment passed to restrict travel by the Speaker of the House to ... North Korea. Also Iran, Syria, Cuba and Sudan.
During the ridiculous exercise on the House floor last August, in which King, Bachmann and a cast of like-minded members took turns making speeches in a dark House chamber to tourists in shorts and flip-flops, King got creative. He had a giant picture of Pelosi with "I am trying to save the planet" underneath. As if that's a bad thing. But what he said was truly inspired: Pelosi thinks "saving the planet is worth more than saving the Homo sapiens." Forget the planet. Let's all move to the international space station.
Did I mention that King is a coward and whiner? He refuses to debate, and is being followed around by giant chickens in his district.
What we do have is I have been targeted by the hard-core left, including MoveOn.org and George Soros. I have made Michael Moore's Web page. I have made Rolling Stone's Web site. Also, I made 'the worst person in the world' under Keith Olbermann. ... Those people are all left-wing, hard-core activists. And they have said they're coming here and they're going to try to change the dynamic in this race...Joe Trippi has been hired by the other side. He's the one who raised $40 million on a Web page for...Howard Dean. So you will see, I think, this turn into a very negative situation in this district. And on top of that, I know that push-poll calls have gone out and they've already attacked my family.
Oh you hard core lefties, you know who you are. Could I just say, this is not true about MoveOn and Soros, but I wish to hell it was? Rob Hubler has done one poll in the district so far as I know, and if these liberal bigwigs were helping Hubler I'm guessing he would be up on TV instead of just radio. Joe Trippi wrote a diary. Yay. But $40 million? Not quite.
Elwyn Tinklenberg has a lot in common with Steve King's opponent, Rob Hubler. They are midwesterners in semi-rural districts. They are both ministers. They are running against people who are jaw-drop crazy. Early on, nobody thought they had a chance. Now they are within striking distance of the two most bigoted, ignorant, and hateful members of Congress to serve in my voting lifetime.
The biggest difference? We adopted Tinklenberg, and gave him more money than he might be able to spend in a couple of weeks. I hope Tinklenberg wins, and with that much cash and all Bachmann's problems I would bet serious money on it. But Hubler has been largely ignored. The DCCC added him to the Emerging Races list but has not given him the kind of help that counts. Russ Feingold has stepped up, which I thank him for. Two out of three of Iowa's Democratic congressman are not heeding the calls to use their campaign warchest or lose it. I'm looking at you, Leonard Boswell and Dave Loebsack. The district is winnable, as Desmoinesdem has written about at Bleeding Heartland. Obama is ahead in Iowa, in all parts of the state, according to SUSA.
On the day after election day, if Steve King wins, I will regret this lost opportunity. In fact I will bitterly cling to something, maybe not guns. King will be back on the floor of the house, putting up his crazy charts and voting against everything Barack Obama tries to get done. This community could weigh in, with a tenth of what you gave to Elwyn Tinklenberg, and probably ensure a victory. Will you?
From Rob's speech to the Iowa state Dem convention:
Where I come from, elected officials are there to make sure working men and women get a fair shake at the bargaining table.
Where I come from, we still believe that innovation and excellence go hand in hand with American industry.
Where I come from, the government can’t listen to your phone calls without a warrant....
Where I come from, we invest in Main Street before Wall Street.
Western Iowa is more than ready for change ... for a Congressman who will listen to and who will work for the district and who isn’t downright embarrassing.
Western Iowa wants a servant, not a King.
...I’m asking you today to invest in our future--a future of renewable energy, responsible foreign policy, a rule of law that respects the constitution, and a true representative who will work for the people.
And when that day comes, it will be the people of Iowa who are dancing in the streets.
Rob is the real deal. He is a true progressive, not a Blue Dog in training. He listens to people. He is decent, smart and unpretentious. He is a veteran of seven years on Navy submarines, of working for Dick Clark and Tom Harkin, and of years in pulpits all over Iowa. He talks about his life as lived in response to these calls to service.
Retire Steve King here.
For other candidates, I suggest looking to Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund. While his judgment may not be perfect, I think it's pretty good, and he has given attention to candidates like Rob who have not gotten the level of diary writing and donating that a better-known candidate like Darcy Burner has received. Martin Heinrich in New Mexico. Dennis Shulman in New Jersey. Becky Greenwald in Iowa's Fourth District. [And thanks to DownWithTyranny for dedicating a song to Rob and Becky last night.) Linda Ketner in South Carolina. Russ includes people who have not made O2B and perhaps should be considered.
To select targets like Bachmann, I would look to a list that she appears on: The House Republican Study Committee. This is the stone crazy wingnut list. King is a member, naturally, along with such luminaries as Tom Tancredo, John Shadegg and Darrell Issa. Any of them who have strong challengers who are working hard and just need a little money are on my list, too.
So let's get started. Go check out Rob Hubler in the comments of this diary, where he talks about his involvementwith the NESTLE boycott, SCHIP, and how he can win. I would like to read about under-funded, under-noticed progressive candidates in the comments. I don't think we should just choose one. Cherry bombs, not daisy cutters, and we need to do it now or the money can't get used. Share the wealth, as Barack Obama said. Expand the map.
And maybe we could tack on six cents in honor of Minnesota's Sixth district, as a message that the ghost of Joe McCarthy is not welcome in our politics.