At 65, Stephen Edwin King (author) is only two years older than Steven Arnold King (congressman). Both are intelligent and articulate and Stephen was active in politics as a youth, Steve is now. Both have shocked the world, the author with books and the Congressman with controversial positions. The Lurker in the Shadows, Danse Macbre, The Dead Zone, Second Coming, Creepshow -- those are by Stephen -- but you could easily work some of those words into a description of Steve's more controversial actions.
Some polls show the Congressman's lead over former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack shrinking. King has prevailed in his previous elections with an average of 61% of the vote but the new district has nearly as many No-Party registrations as Republicans. There are still 11% more R's than D's, but the independent voters could decide this one.
King looked invincible following his challenger's lackluster TV appearance on Iowa Press this summer. His supporters chuckled and wished the election could be immediate. She appeared not quite ready for 'prime time' then, but the campaigns have since gone in opposite directions. Probably not enough for Vilsack, but thanks to King, she has an improving chance.
On Vilsack's side is King. Say What?! The always intelligent and articulate King has become his own worst enemy. His backing from the hardcore far right has always been solid, as has support from just plain conservatives, but that support has become lukewarm with many.
His opposition to dog and cockfighting legislation and his continually troublesome statements on issues such as abortion, rape, immigration, birther, and border fencing (according to his opponents, the list is even longer) are problematic even for Repubs. Even some of those say that his seemingly insatiable quest for publicity has undermined his effectiveness.
He has said he favors repealing everything President Obama has enacted. He, and other politicians, should choose their words more carefully so that it isn't so easy to take them out of context.
Instead of saying, like so many Republicans have, "Obamacare should be repealed," he should say, "I would repeal Obamacare but I would immediately re-instate some portions of the law." Such as - allowing college students living at home to be covered (but not as old as 26!), and coverage for pre-existing conditions. It should be obvious that any bill of 73 billion pages (that Nancy Pelosi says she didn't read) has to have a few good features! A qualifying statement in that vein would go a long way toward making the Republican Party more acceptable to Independent voters.
Called infamous by opponents (but delightfully famous by his supporters) King is a conundrum for the mainstream. "He is an outlandish SOB, but he is our SOB," say an increasing number of Republicans. A large turnout is likely and should favor King, partially because the far-right is energized by the crusade to unseat Supreme Court David Wiggins.
Ms. Vilsack, apparently devoid of issues that could really help her cause, hammers Mr. King with questions like, "Why haven't you balanced the budget?" I would have patiently responded, "Lady, I have introduced more legislation to balance the budget than all of your Democrat friends combined."
She also likes to ask King why there isn't a Farm Bill. I would have responded, "Do you mean the Free Food Bill? The vast majority of the spending, about $80 billion a year, goes to the food stamp program. The bill is a non-issue right now, for everyone knows there will be a bill and it will be in time to rescue those in need. Plus many not in need."
I wonder if King's popularity with the national news media has gone to his head. Success begets success, and if one shocking statement gets me on Hannity, maybe another will get me on Huckabee, where profuse flattery is laid on with a trowel.
Although a darling of the talk shows, he has absolutely no chance to move to the national stage, even as an Iowa Senator. Well, maybe an appointee if a Michelle Bachman type becomes president. Fat chance of that! He is just too 'far out', another comparison to Stephen. As his national popularity (or notoriety) grows, his Iowa respect lessens. Darn shame, a waste of talent.
Don Paulin, email@example.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236