Understanding the GOP’s response to the scourge of Iowa, Steve King

iowa congressional disrict 2018

Just to give my non-Iowan friends a little more of an idea of the scourge that is Steve King, his congressional district, and the embarrassment he is to Iowa, here’s a map that shows where his district is and where his constituents live.

The above map shows Iowa’s four congressional districts, its four congressional representatives (three Democrats and one Republican), and the 15 most populous cities in Iowa–the 15 cities with populations of at least 30,000 residents.

Keep in mind, King eeked out a 3.4% victory in an R+11 district in 2018. For comparison, districts 1 and 2 in Iowa are both rated D+1, while district 3 is rated R+1. So, Iowa’s other three congressional districts are drawn rather competitively from a partisan standpoint. King’s district 4 is R+11, meaning there are far more registered Republicans than Democrats in the 4th congressional district, which should ensure an easy Republican victory. And yet, King barely beat his Democratic opponent by 3.4% meaning he almost got beat by a Democrat in a hugely Republican district. And given his most recent openly racist remarks, this margin may become even closer in the next election.

One could argue that the reason the GOP is suddenly interested in condemning King and getting rid of him through resignation demands and/or through weakening him for a 2020 Republican primary challenge, is purely political–they want a stronger Republican option to represent the district as soon as possible so that they don’t potentially lose IA-4 to a Democrat in the 2020 general election.

Thus, it’s not necessarily about moral outrage or ethics for the GOP, it is about political preservation of Republican control of Iowa’s 4th congressional district that is driving the Republican leadership finally to speak out against King.

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why fundamentalist evangelical republican politicians scare me (and should scare you too)

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun, standing in front of a wall of mounted animal heads, tells the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet that he does not believe in “evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory”, which he defines as “lies straight from the pit of Hell”. Broun is a Republican representative on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

This is the US Congressman from Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, Dr. Paul Broun. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party Caucus.

He recently gave a speech to the “Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet” (yes, THAT exists, I kid you not) on September 27, 2012, in Hartwell, Georgia. (This explains the WALL OF MOUNTED ANIMAL HEADS that serves as a backdrop for the Congressman.)

Watch a clip of the speech:

Here is the transcript of what he said:

God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.

Now, I’ve come to accept that there are some people on this earth that will NEVER accept science, no matter how logical, rational, or intellectually compelling it is because they are not interested in facts; they are interested in maintaining the beliefs and worldview compiled thousands of years ago by desert nomads. But this is not the problem.

Every American has every right to be religious. And every American has every right to make religious speech (just not in places where others are compelled to listen to it or participate in it, like public schools). And every American has the right, if they so choose, to deny reality. You can argue that aliens created human technology, Santa Claus, whatever – you have that right.

Every American, if they so choose, can choose to deny basic science, facts, and data. That too is OK…foolish, but within one’s constitutional rights. Likewise, every American has the right to elect as their representative someone reflects their skewed, ancient, and defunct worldview – a representative who also denies facts and information that science provides. Therefore, even though such behavior is utterly foolish IMHO, Americans have the right to believe what they want, deny reality if they want, and elect someone as their representative who reflects the denial of science, facts, and reality. It’s foolish, but they have these rights as Americans. This too is not the problem.

The real problem, and what frustrates me to no end, is that the Republican Party would place someone like Paul Broun, who obviously has a disdain for science and the factual reality of the world around us, to THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY! Forget the fact that he’s been married four times. Forget the fact that he’s a Conservative Evangelical. These aren’t the problem. The problem is that, based upon his fundamentalist religious convictions, he DENIES the fundamental tenets of science. Yet, despite this, the Republicans named him the CHAIR of the SCIENCE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS AND OVERSIGHT!

The Republicans bring this upon themselves.

While I’m sure the Medical College of Georgia is embarrassed to have Dr. Broun represent them as an alum who rejects the “lies” of basic medical disciplines like “embryology” and other tenets of basic science, they can’t help what he chooses to believe and deny today. But the Republicans can! The Republicans do themselves a major disservice when they promulgate the perception – one rightly deserved – that they are anti-science, and that they are anti-science precisely because they are conservative Evangelicals.

Do you see the problem? The Republicans don’t have to promote a scientifically ignorant congressman to the Committee on Science. Yet, they do. Thus, the Republicans completely deserve to continue to be chided as the party of anti-intellectualism and anti-science, because they continue to elevate people who see no possible compatibility between their faith and the reality of the worldview that basic science has provided. For fundamentalist Evangelical Republicans, faith and science are an either-or choice. And they choose faith. And that’s OK. But that the GOP elevates them and puts them in places of authority over budgets and curriculum for science and technology, this is the problem.

I shake my head.

how the tea party cost the republicans the senate

Here’s how the Tea Party hurt the Republican party in the US Senate. The Tea Party candidates won in both Florida and Alaska, but they unseated moderate Republicans (Crist in Florida and Murkowski in Alaska), who would have won anyway.

However, the Tea Party cost the Republicans in Delaware (O’Donnell) and in Nevada (Angle), where any other moderate Republicans, caucusing with the Republicans, would have easily won. Two seats in a 49-51 Senate is control of the Senate.

The Tea Party helped the Republicans win local, district elections and take the House, but cost the Republicans in some larger, statewide races in the Senate, including two key victories in Delaware and Nevada, and perhaps ultimately control of the Senate.

(I write this with Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Colorado still undecided.)

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