Detestable Character Assassination

Joint Commentary by Former Minnesota Congressman Gil Gutknecht and Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo


Editors Note: This was column was co-written by Tom Tancredo and Gil Gutknecht.

How did our political discourse become so polluted? How can a political pundit become such an expert witness concerning a person who he has obviously never met? Reading a hit piece in the Leftist New York Times now apparently passes for doing one’s homework. When did regurgitating the name calling that has become the hallmark of the Left has become acceptable legal tender in the conservative market of ideas?


Obviously the once respected Jonah Goldberg has never met Steve King. Jonah has lost more than credibility in the days since the surprise election of a genuine “America First” President. It has been bad enough to watch him look for opportunities to curry favor with the Never Trump crowd by sniping from the tall grass. We won’t pretend to know his motives. But, his piece in the Friday Townhall went way beyond the pale. It smacked of a modern day version of Leftist McCarthyism. His piece was the literal equivalent of a drive-by gangland shooting.


In a word it was detestable!


Frankly, we are perplexed why Townhall chose to run it? Especially before King had a chance to share his side. The first word in the headline was one of the most vile words in the English language, Bigot! When one uses that term to describe anyone, you had better be damn sure that you know the target very well and what makes him tick.


We do know Steve King. We know him very well. We’ve known him for a long time. We speak with a level of understanding that people like Jonah Goldberg would not or could not attempt. Congressman King is a compassionate man. He does a better job of living his Catholic Faith every day than many who wear robes in Rome. As far as we can tell, he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. To call him a white nationalist is an absurd Leftist trick. He does a better job of advancing the goal of civility than the majority of those in Washington who claim they champion it. He fights passionately for things he believes in while respecting people with whom he disagrees.


We all wish that we had a dollar for every time we used a ham fisted expression to respond to a loaded question. We have also had our words twisted by unethical reporters who had already written their hit piece and only wanted to take a comment out of context. It happens to our President almost every day. Communication of complex and potentially controversial issues was never easy. It is nearly impossible in today’s hypersensitive politically-correct world. Like Congressman King, we abhor racism and white supremacists. Adversaries on the Left aren’t satisfied with merely arguing the merits of issues, they immediately resort to character assassination and name calling. It is a major reason that a growing majority of Americans hold the liberal media in contempt.


So what triggered the drive-by character assault on Congressman Steve King? What caused the shameless DC media to single him out for these attacks? And for Mr. Goldberg to pile on? The answer quite simply is that Congressman King has repeatedly done something that elected officials just aren’t supposed to do.


He told the truth.


He has fearlessly been willing to say that culture matters and uncontrolled immigration has consequences. So did Teddy Roosevelt. But that kind of talk cannot be expressed in polite company today. Especially among the Elites that inhabit the Swamp.


He warned political leaders in Europe of the long term cultural consequences of unlimited immigration. Especially when those immigrants refuse to assimilate. We are supposed to pretend that this is not true. Even though the evidence is now clear to all who have eyes to see. The turmoil in France is only partially about fuel taxes. The Elites in Germany, the U.K. and Sweden do their best to suppress any public discussion of these matters by shaming those who might disagree with them. But, anger boils like molten lava just below the surface. The eruption is inevitable.


If telling the truth about matters of culture and civilizations will get you labeled a racist or bigot, the Left and their apologists like Jonah Goldberg had better be prepared for serious pushback from a growing army of thinking Americans. Name calling and character assassination are shabby substitutes for serious debate.


It may work with many readers of liberal publications. It won’t work with us. Sadly, a man of true character like Steve King will wear the scars of these attacks. But, truth and those who know him well will defend him. The same will never be said of many of his detractors. We know Steve King. We know the New York Times. And we know the difference.


Tom Tancredo and Gil Gutknecht served in the U.S. House with Congressman King. They fought together for border control and enforcement of immigration laws (often against their own leadership) long before this shutdown began.

Gil Gutknecht

Gil Gutknecht is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota.