As With Any Animal That Is Rabid: Bobby Rush Is Really Not Down With Steve King Or White Supremacy

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Rush speaks at press conference after the murder of Fred Hampton

We're glad that after 27,624 abhorrent remarks over nine terms in Congress, Iowa Rep. Steve "Anchor Babies" King's GOP colleagues finally noticed he's a racist and moved to strip him of his power on House committees. Their disingenuous protestations - from Kevin McCarthy intoning "that language has no place in America” to Mitch McConnell tsk-tsking he "has no tolerance for such positions" - struck many as the rhetorical equivalent of issuing thoughts and prayers to combat racism. Nonetheless, King took the criticism with the grace of any Nazi, blasting a "political decision that ignores the truth" and whining about the "assault on my freedom of speech." Observers were unmoved - "Your hood is showing...Eat shit, corn Hitler" - maybe because they've witnessed his atrocities over 20 years in office as he fought to restrict abortion, uphold "traditional marriage," make English Iowa's official language, keep races separate, protect civilization from "somebody else's babies" and liken those babies to "dirt," all while deeming Obama a "very urban" son of Kenya and displaying  a Confederate flag on his desk. Given all that, many wondered what a white dude had to say to get fired.

Now we know: In the wrong political moment, he had to gripe that what's wrong with white supremacy anyway? King's final-straw offense moved the Congressional Black Caucus to demand early on he be stripped of his committee roles. Then came the rare, fire-and-brimstone call for censure from senior Caucus member and longtime Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, who denounced King's "pattern of despicable comments" and declared, "This must come to a screeching halt right now." To be clear, this is not Rush's first rodeo: A former Black Panther Defense Minister, he co-founded the Illinois Panthers in 1968 and took over as leader after the 1969 murder of Fred Hampton by Chicago police and the FBI. A few years ago, Rush got thrown off the House floor for wearing a hoodie to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin; he still cites his revolutionary roots, is clearly done with the scummy likes of King, and used as radical language as one is likely to hear in the genteel, euphemistic confines of Congress when he said of King,“He has become too comfortable with proudly insulting, disrespecting, and denigrating people of color. As with any animal that is rabid, Steve King should be set aside and isolated.” 

Rush's formal declaration for censure was likewise a barn-burning affair. After blasting King's "despicable conduct" that "brings discredit to this House," he offered a simple brutal rendering, replete with lofty "whereas"es, of his crimes: Whereas in 2006, on the floor of the House, he compared immigrants to livestock. Whereas, in 2012, speaking with constituents, he compared vetting immigrants to choosing hunting dogs. Whereas, in a 2014 interview discussing undocumented migrants, he said, "For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's 100 out there who weigh  130 pounds, and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." Whereas, in a 2016 interview, he said, "Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization (than white people)?" Etc, truly ad nauseum.

Because he understands power and accountability, Rush wasn't done with King, or his enablers. Citing King's "repugnant and racist behavior," he charged, "The years of deliberate silence from Republicans have only emboldened (him) and empowered those who emulate him. Republicans, in the interest of political expediency, ignored and continued to elevate him...Only now that his behavior is well known to those outside the beltway and tainted him politically do they vigorously denounce him. No reasonable person should take their statements seriously." Rush continues to for censure. On Tuesday, he became the only member of Congress to vote against a resolution - oh bold lawmakers - that rejects white supremacy, arguing it does nothing to address King's "vitriolic racism" and "just restates the obvious." King voted for it.

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