Pelosi says there is ‘interest’ in House in acting against Rep. Steve King

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday left open the possibility of House action to punish Rep. Steve King over his history of inflammatory remarks as the Iowa Republican’s recent defense of white nationalism created a firestorm.

King, who won a ninth term in Congress in November, lamented in an interview with the New York Times that the term had become a pejorative one.

White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in the interview, which was published Thursday.

King later issued a statement and addressed the issue in a speech on the House floor Friday in which he sought to walk back his remarks. He said he rejects “those labels and the evil ideology that they define” and proclaimed himself “simply a Nationalist.”

A number of Democrats are calling on House leaders to consider a resolution to censure King, a vote that would put Republicans on record.

.. King’s interview prompted a rebuke from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, who said in a tweet Thursday morning, “These comments are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse.”

She was soon followed by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who told reporters in a pen-and-pad that it was “offensive to try to legitimize those terms.” But Scalise also praised King’s later statement.

“I think it was important that he rejected that kind of evil, because that’s what it is. It’s evil ideology,” Scalise said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also issued a statement Thursday evening in which he sharply criticized King’s comments to the Times.

“Everything about white supremacy and white nationalism goes against who we are as a nation,” McCarthy said. “Steve’s language is reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society. The Declaration of Independence states that ‘all men are created equal.’ That is a fact. It is self-evident.”

Both McCarthy and Scalise were silent in October when asked for comment on incendiary remarks King had made then. At the time, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), then the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was the only member of House GOP leadership to rebuke King. (Cheney had not yet been elected to her position as conference chair.)

The Paul Ryan Difference

The Speaker’s career shows the power of ideas in politics.

His policy chops and listening skills helped rally the fractious GOP House into a governing majority rather than merely an opposition to Barack Obama. They developed the “Better Way” reform platform in 2016, and in this Congress they’ve passed most of it through the House and much into law.

.. The irony is that Mr. Ryan has become a target of the populist and Trump right though few in Congress have fought harder or longer for conservative reform.

.. The reason the New York Times and Washington Post loathe him is precisely because he takes ideas seriously and can persuade his colleagues. That makes him far more of a threat to the left than is any talk-radio host.

.. But entitlement reform is inevitable given the fiscal realities, and Mr. Ryan’s ideas are still a roadmap for the future.

.. They have railed against Mr. Ryan as a totem of “the establishment,” which was always more epithet than argument. Mr. Ryan knows that the point of politics is to win power to pass your agenda, not remain in feckless opposition to the supposedly unreformable entitlement state.

.. Mr. Ryan has already raised $54 million in campaign cash for his fellow Members this Congress, and their fate is tied far more to Donald Trump’s approval rating than to Mr. Ryan’s candidacy.

.. Win or lose in November, Republicans will have to find a leader who can lead their conference. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and whip Steve Scalise are the main early contenders. Both are known more for their electoral skills than policy knowledge.

.. Now is also the moment for the Freedom Caucus to step up. North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows is never short of suggestions for the leadership. How about trying to actually lead? Run for Majority Leader and show if you have the votes for a way forward that is more productive than being a critic on cable.

.. Paul Ryan developed his views about an optimistic, governing conservatism in the Jack Kemp-Ronald Reagan era, and he worked in the vineyards to find his moment.

One Theory Over Meaning of Trump’s ‘Many Sides’ Remark

Mr. Trump seems to have concluded what many other conservatives did about the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va.: As tragic as it was, it was incited by a small, unrepresentative group of bigots purporting to speak for the right whose antics would be exhaustively covered in the news.

.. “They think there were 300 or so racists who showed up to a rally, and who got exactly what they wanted: Violence, and violence in a way that inspires the nation’s elite to double down on iconoclasm in a way they hope grows their movement,” said Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist, an online magazine.

.. Mr. Trump and conservatives have pointed to several recent episodes as evidence of the left gone mad.

  • They include the comedian Kathy Griffin’s posing for a picture with a fake severed Trump head, and
  • a production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” that featured a Trump-like actor as the emperor who is fatally stabbed onstage.
  • Some seized on the shooting that seriously injured Representative Steve Scalise
  •  One recent web video from the National Rifle Association accused liberals of attempting to “bully and terrorize the law abiding” as it implored Americans to “fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.”

..  Of at least 372 murders that were committed by domestic extremists between 2007 and 2016, according to a study by the Anti-Defamation League,

  • 74 percent were committed by right-wing extremists.
  • Muslim extremists were responsible for 24 percent of those killings,
  • and the small remainder were committed by left-wing extremists

.. the emphasis for many conservatives is not on statistics that indicate who is the more violent offender. Rather, he said, the point is about the general tenor of political debate, which people like him believe is weighted against them.

.. “You don’t have a ton of reporters banging on the doors of Democrats asking them to denounce Antifa,” he said, referring to the militant Marxist-inspired group that rioted at Mr. Trump’s inauguration and often shows up looking for confrontation at sites where conservative writers like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos are scheduled to speak.

.. Mr. Trump is no mere bit player in the discussion of political violence. At various times, he has offered to pay the legal bills of supporters who get in brawls at his events and stated, without offering any proof, that paid agitators were responsible for protests against him.

.. Alex Jones .. said people who protested the white supremacists over the weekend were probably actors

.. Mr. Jones played down the significance of the violence, saying it was likely staged by “Democratic Party activists” who are looking to “overdemonize” whites and “put chips on the shoulders of the so-called minorities.”

.. Demographically, blacks are 12 times more likely to attack whites for no reason,” Mr. Jones went on, providing no evidence for his claim. “It’s a fact.”

.. He then recounted his own experience watching a Nazi rally he said was attended by Jews posing as Nazis, evident by their “curly hair, and you know, dark eyes.”

.. Mike Cernovich, a conspiracy theory peddler, was gleeful as he posted on Twitter about the violence on Saturday. “Civil War is here!” he wrote.

.. There is also a new political term to describe the circular firing squad in which right and left have blamed the other for the country’s degenerating political debate — “whataboutism.”

.. Guy Benson, a conservative writer and an author of the book “End of Discussion,” which argues that the left has tried to shut down political debate by declaring certain topics off the table, said he sees a “whataboutism overreach” among some conservatives.

.. “Round and round we go with this one-upsmanship of who’s worse,” Mr. Benson added, “and that’s a really terrible way to argue.”

The Washington Post Seeks a Right-Wing Scapegoat for Left-Wing Violence

Spend much time in left-wing circles — especially the kind of deep-blue progressive urban centers that produce our nation’s mainstream media — and you’ll find a sincere, abiding fear that “angry white-wing rhetoric” is on the verge of spurring a wave of murder and violence. I’ve had multiple conversations with otherwise smart people who are just convinced that people like my Rush Limbaugh–listening friends and neighbors are so seething with rage that they’re a hair’s breadth from snapping.

.. At the same time, many of these same folks are utterly unconcerned with the effects of angry left-wing rhetoric. Politician after politician can accuse Republicans of killing people with their health-care plan, and that’s just “speaking truth to power.” When Hillary Clinton calls Republicans the “death party,” then that’s just the #Resistance in action. When left-wing riots break out across the land, then the resulting chaos is glossed-over as “mostly peaceful” protest.

.. There is, in fact, a problem with far-left violence, and the roots of that rage should be explored with at least the same energy the media devotes to perceived right-wing threats.

Steve Scalise, Congressman Wounded in Shooting, Is Known as a Low-key Lover of Baseball

Mr. Scalise, 51, who served in the Louisiana State Legislature and has been a fixture in Louisiana Republican politics, was elected to the House in 2008 in a special election to replace Bobby Jindal, who had been elected governor. Mr. Scalise quickly and quietly amassed power among a diverse group of House Republicans, in spite of the most conservative wing’s persistent chafing at what it saw as his establishment-wing persona.

.. Mr. Scalise is popular among his colleagues, who say he refrains from the sort of hardball tactics that whips sometimes use to wring out votes. “He generally tries to use a soft-glove approach,” said Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, who resisted voting for a health care bill that the White House deeply wanted to pass. “He is relentless even if you’ve told him no. I was a no on health care, but that didn’t stop him and coming up again and asking.”