Top Links: Steve King, the only Republican who knows what he’s doing on immigration

Uncle Steve wants YOU to join his cantaloupe-crazed army.
Uncle Steve wants YOU to join his cantaloupe-crazed army.
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Top story: The GOP’s immigration problem isn’t  “Steve King,” per se. It’s more akin to what Walter Sobchak says about the nilhilists in The Big Lebowski: Say what you will about the tenets of Steve King, at least it’s an ethos.

  • No matter their stripes, conservatives are of one mind on immigration: Steve King should stop talking about it. (The Washington Post)
  • “To call him a moron is really an insult to morons and simpletons everywhere.” (Reason)
  • As for House leadership, John Boehner called King’s “cantaloupe” remarks “hateful”. (First Read)
  • Paul Ryan has disavowed the remarks, too. (Igor Volsky)
  • Even the chairman of the committee that’s handling immigration reform in the House called out his fellow committee member. (Politico)
  • Oh, didn’t you know that? Yes, King still sits on the House Committee on the Judiciary, which is responsible for crafting immigration reform in the House. (Chad Pergram)
  • Never mind that King is doubling and tripling down on his comments about the 100 or so drug runners with cantaloupe-sized calves. (National Review)

“Nobody has come out and said it’s up higher or lower, it’s 101 or 99. So then, I either had the wrong number or I picked the wrong fruit.” -Rep. King (The Hill)

  • No, policy-wise, Republicans this year have had little problem letting Steve King be Steve King where it concerns immigration legislation. (Steve Benen) and (Benjy Sarlin)
  • A lot of this comes down to the impression that Boehner isn’t exactly thrilled to herd cats on a vote his conference doesn’t want and is unlikely to benefit them, at least in the short term. (Maeve Reston)
  • That and something, something, something “Hastert Rule”. (Jonathan Strong)
  • This dithering on Boehner’s part is having the effect of leaving many in his conference flat-footed at a time when they sure could use guidance from someone whose job it is to lead House Republicans: “House GOP expect tough Qs about immigration reform during Aug recess — but have little guidance on how to answer.” (Rebecca Berg)
  • Mind you, there are those who see this as strategic dithering on Boehner’s part: “A slow and unsurprising failure is far better, politically, than an unexpected one. Additionally, the perception that the bill is nearly dead could strengthen Boehner’s hand in negotiations with Democrats and the White House.” (The Huffington Post)
  • Still, Boehner is going to have to make immigration a top priority at some point if he wants reform to pass. And that means — publicly or privately — staking out an actual position with his conference: “Republicans are going to have to decide whether they belong to the Steve King faction of the Republican Party or to the get-it-done faction of the Republican Party.” (The Washington Post)
  • And, yes, Boehner wants reform to pass. Because remember: Nobody has spent more time trying to fix a broken immigration system than John Boehner. (Talking Points Memo)
  • None of this is to defend King’s remarks, mind you. Certainly not. In fact, read The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson, who has given perhaps the most eloquent critique of King’s slurs against Hispanics: “What he asks is not that we listen to their stories, or add up their accomplishments, or read the history of this country, but just that we look at them, like he does. At their legs, arms—anywhere, it would seem, but in their eyes, where he’d have to acknowledge their individuality.” (The New Yorker)
  • And if you missed all 26 riveting minutes of King’s defense of his remarks — including his history of the world in real time — by all means do yourself a favor this weekend and curl up to the wit, wisdom and nativism of Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. (Traci Lee)