Tag Archives: Steve King

Gov. Perry sounds bipartisan note? Wow!

Why do politicians do this? They campaign for office as tough partisans, govern the same way and then, as they prepare to leave office, sound like the Great Compromiser in Chief.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry took his turn at the farewell podium this week as he said so long to the Texas Legislature. He’s leaving office, having served as governor seemingly since The Flood.

He’ll likely run for president of the United States — again! — in 2016.


But his Austin swan song, in the minds of some of who heard, sounded like a “campaign speech.”

Perry told legislators: “There is room for different voices, for disagreement … Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward.”

Some Democrats thought the Republican governor’s speech took a surprising turn, given that he often dug in his heels at Democratic initiatives during his umpteen years in office.

One comment stands out as I read reports of his speech. It was his support of drug treatment diversion programs as an alternative to jail time for non-violent drug offenders. “We must remember when it comes to the disease of addiction, the issue is not helping bad people become good, but sick people become well,” he said. “Turning to diversion programs hasn’t made us soft on crime. It’s made us smart on crime.”

That sounds like a ringing endorsement of drug courts, such as the one started in the Panhandle by 181st District Judge John Board.

Well, the speech is over. Perry is cleaning out his office. He’s heading back onto the campaign trail soon. One of his first post-governorship stops will be in Iowa, where he’ll attend a conservative political forum hosted by TEA party Republican firebrand U.S. Rep. Steve King.

I’m guessing he won’t sound so conciliatory there.

Still, thanks for the good words, governor.


Go, Louie, go for the speaker's job!

This might be the best news yet of the new year — which, I know, is just four days old.

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TEA Party Fringe, has just announced he’s going to challenge John Boehner as speaker of the House of Representatives.

How does it get any better than that?

Gohmert, you see, is in the running as well for being the goofiest member of Congress. He’s got some competition for that honor. The previous frontrunner was fellow Texan Steve Stockman, who had the bad form to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the GOP primary this past spring; he lost badly. He’s now out of the House. Right up there, too, is Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who said illegal immigrants are packing illegal drug across the border while running on “calves the size of cantaloupes.”

Gohmert hails from East Texas and he’s challenging fellow Republican Donald Trump for the unofficial title of “birther in chief.” He and The Donald just do not believe that President Obama was born in the United States of America, in Hawaii, and that — by golly — he’s constitutionally qualified to serve in the office to which he was elected twice.

Now he’s running for speaker. He told his pal Tucker Carlson on Fox News that someone needs to challenge Boehner. Gohmert says he’s gotten “a lot” of support to mount that challenge.

I’d love to ask him how he defines the measure of so-called support. Maybe it is a lot. It surely must be vocal because that’s how the TEA party wing of the GOP operates. It outshouts the other side within the Republican Party and then it outshouts the Democrats.

Hey, the truth is he’s just firing a shot across Boehner’s bow. He’s telling the speaker to watch his right flank. The TEA party will be watching, waiting and looking for any opportunity to undermine the speaker’s instincts to work with the other side.

I’m still glad to see Rep. Gohmert step up — even if it does embarrass some Texas residents back home who really would prefer that he shut his trap.

Iowa in January awaits ex-Gov. Perry

Ah, yes. Nothing says “vacation” quite like Iowa in the middle of winter.

That’s where the former governor of Texas is headed days after leaving the office he’s held longer than anyone in the history of the state.

Rick Perry is going to Iowa not for a little sight-seeing or some R&R, but to take part in a rally among conservative politicians — of which he is one.


He’ll be attending the Iowa Freedom Summit. Its host is fiery conservative U.S. Rep. Steve King, the guy who once said that illegal immigrants with “calves the size of cantaloupes” are smuggling drugs into the United States. That, folks, appears to be one of the leaders of the conservative Republican movement these days.

Gov. Perry is going to be there, too. I guess he’s continuing to explore whether to run for president — again — in two years. Iowa, remember, is the first-in-the-nation state that holds those nominating caucuses that begins selecting the parties’ nominees for president.

He won’t be alone at this dog-and-pony show. Several other would-be candidates for president will be there as well: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. The most interesting attendee of the bunch will be retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — whose name I’ve seen on a couple of presidential campaign bumper stickers here in Amarillo.

I’ll hand it to Perry. He’s not going to slow down even after leaving office. I’d recommend, though, he take a vacation. Rest up. Then get ready to go one more time, governor.


Speier seeks to shame her colleagues

Good luck, Jackie Speier, if you think your congressional colleagues have any shame left in them.

Rep. Speier, D-Calif., scolded her House Republican colleagues for their extravagant travel habits while they are voting to cut money to pay for food stamps that feed poor Americans.


She singled out a few of them, such as Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who has this habit of denigrating poor folks with loose and careless talk. King recently went on a trip and spent an amount of money that would have fed him for 881 days on money that would have paid for food stamps.

“They dine at lavish restaurants, eating steak, vodka and even caviar,” she added, showing food props to members of the House. “They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals,” Speier said in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Speier isn’t the first member of Congress to try shaming colleagues. Nor will she be the last.

I’m beginning to think that members of Congress have gone far beyond being shamed. Their conduct is shameful and their attitude is shameless.

Still, I applaud Jackie Speier for the valiant attempt at trying to find some thread of decency among her colleagues. Just don’t take one of these trips yourself, Ms. Speier.

GOP troubles with Hispanics keep growing

Two words — one syllable each — can describe just why the Republican Party cannot make inroads with the nation’s fastest-growing demographic group.

Steve King.

The Iowa GOP congressman has planted both feet inside his very large mouth and has drawn criticism from none other than the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.


King said recently that for every young illegal immigrant living the United States, 100 more of them are drug mules who pack illegal drugs across the border. Then he said they may be small in stature but they “have calves the size of cantaloupes.”

Boehner, also a Republican, has called King’s remarks “hateful” and mean. Do you think, Mr. Speaker?

King is among a minority of House Republicans who oppose immigration reform. He prefers to round all them illegals up and ship ’em back to wherever they came from. King fervently opposes the Dream Act pushed by President Obama, which would in effect grant amnesty to young U.S. residents who were brought here illegally as children but who have made this country their home.

As for Boehner, he is invoking a House rule that says a measure should be voted on only when a majority of the party in power — that means Republicans — favor it. The House is deciding what to do with the immigration reform bill approved by the Senate in a sweeping bipartisan vote in June. Most House Democrats favor it as does a significant number of Republicans. It has the support of the full House, but it won’t come to a vote unless most GOP members sign on.

Steve King’s big mouth and utter callousness ought to persuade Boehner that the majority-of-a-majority rule — named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert — needs some serious rethinking.