I'm not sure why suddenly George Will is popping up on all these MSNBC shows, but if today is any indication, he's in for a rude awakening. At least, if he goes on shows hosted by Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace. (i.e., women — especially those who don't defer to him.) You don't show up to AM Joy and try to paint Steve King and Cindy Hyde Smith as harmless and innocent, and expect not to have your @ss handed to you.
Reid asked penetrating questions about why the Republican party has not taken any action against Steve King for his open embrace of white supremacy — in both his speech and his behavior. Will downplayed King's influence as one member of the House of Representatives, completely ignoring the fact that he holds positions of power in committees, and is a sought after endorsement of presidential candidates, being from Iowa. Reid wasn't having it.
WILL: First of all, Mr. King is 1/435 of one-half of one of our three branches of one of our governments, that is, the federal government, so he's not an enormous figure in American public life. Second, those people I just mentioned in the fourth district of Iowa gave him a 23-point margin of victory in 2016 and a 3-point margin of victory in 2018. It looks to me, the untutored eye here, that the political market is working. They have listened to him and they have decided they decreasingly approve of what he's saying, so why don't we let them have another bite at the apple in 2020?
REID: Just a little pushback. He's 1/435, but he is also the king maker — people who want to run for president on the Republican side come through Steve King. He's the Tom Harken on the Republican side. He's a powerful figure in Iowa. It's not like he's alone. Cindy Hyde Smith who's just re-elected in Mississippi said she'd be front row at a public hanging. You just had the newly elected governor of Florida who opened with "monkey it up." Maybe that helped him, I don't know, he got elected. You've got Brian Kemp who was ostentatiously making it harder for African-Americans to vote. And you've got Donald Trump, who said that Nazis that marched in Charlottesville are good people. This is not a Steve King thing. The Republican party has these people onboard.
There is no denying the Republican Party has become the face of open, ugly racism, whereas up until 10, or even 5 years ago it seemed (to many of us white folks, anyhow) the party's racism was mostly covert. George Will clearly preferred it that way, since it's easier to explain away in other terms when it's covert. He tried to "explain" it to Joy Reid by admonishing her not to "conflate" all the different instances of racist rhetoric with which the party is so openly comfortable expressing and electing, and not to take it so literally.
WILL: Well, I think you're conflating a number of different episodes here and not doing so quite fairly. I think what the woman said, the now Senator from Mississippi, she used a phrase common, evidently, in the vernacular of her region that shouldn't be. That's about don't think you can go from that to saying that she is a vicious racist who hankers to see lynchings. It seems a stretch.
Reid was like, um...a stretch? Really? All due respect, dude, the vernacular was about LYNCHINGS. Then she threw it to Jennifer Rubin, who tied everything up nicely in a bow for him:
RUBIN:I just want to go back to one thing that George said, though, and that is, it's not entirely up to the good people of Iowa. The House has rules and they have ethics rules, they have rules that sanction members for conduct unbecoming of the House, and those are in place as well. So it's not entirely clear that the House shouldn't act on this. And I think they should take what action has been appropriate. Frankly, other people have been censured publicly by the House for, I think, much less egregious statements. So that is part of our system too. But I don't think it's conflating things to say that there is a wink wink, nod nod going on in the Republican party. Some people may really believe it. Other people may just be catering to them. But I think it has to stop if it's going -- if it's not going to become a fringe right-wing nativist party.
Dear George Will, and other white apologists for racists,
1. We white people do not get to define what is racist towards Black people. THEY do. Don't try to explain it to them.
2. A person does not have to literally "hanker to see lynchings" to be a vicious racist.
3. When you argue for the status quo, and to allow for racism to solve itself in its own due time, you're arguing for white supremacy.