A Few Words On The Game Rep. Dave Williams Plays

Rep. Dave Williams (R), Congressman Steve King (R-IA).

The murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts in mid-July of this year has provided another emotional flashpoint in the long-running debate over immigration law in the United States, a debate that Donald Trump purposefully inflamed for his own political gain in 2016 and is raging at fever pitch as the 2018 midterm elections quickly approach.

President Trump has invoked Tibbetts’ murder countless times since July, along with Republican candidates at every level to justify further crackdowns on undocumented immigrants. In the debate over the criminal threat represented by undocumented immigrants against American citizens, anecdotes like the killing of a young white woman in a low-crime rural area frequently substitute for the data that consistently shows undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than the native-born population.

CNN reports via FOX 31 yesterday that the family of Mollie Tibbetts wants it to stop:

Since authorities revealed the suspect in the killing of Mollie Tibbetts is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, Iowa’s Latino communities have been the target of rising anti-immigrant sentiment.

But the father of the late 20-year-old college student has had enough. He’s spoken out, and he has a message: Don’t exploit my daughter’s death to promote a racist agenda.

“I encourage the debate on immigration; there is great merit in its reasonable outcome,” Tibbetts wrote in an op-ed for the Des Moines Register on Saturday. “But do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.”

Here’s more from Rob Tibbetts’ op-ed:

The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people. [Pols emphasis] To suggest otherwise is a lie. Justice in my America is blind. This person will receive a fair trial, as it should be. If convicted, he will face the consequences society has set. Beyond that, he deserves no more attention.

To the Hispanic community, my family stands with you and offers its heartfelt apology. That you’ve been beset by the circumstances of Mollie’s death is wrong. We treasure the contribution you bring to the American tapestry in all its color and melody.

In Colorado, by far the politician most eagerly exploiting Mollie Tibbetts’ murder for political gain is an elected official in no real danger of losing his seat in November: Rep. Dave Williams, Republican of Colorado Springs, who succeeded the infamous Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt representing one of the safest Republican seats in the Colorado General Assembly. Surprising absolutely no one, Rep. Williams has been on a social media tear:

We could cite many more examples, but you get the idea. Since winning his seat in the 2016 elections, Rep. Williams has repeatedly thrust himself into the national debate over immigration, appearing on FOX News in support of Trump’s policies and maximizing publicity of his stillborn legislation to retaliate against so-called “sanctuary cities.” In response to one such piece of legislation, readers will recall that Rep. Joe Salazar was filmed telling a group of supporters incredulously that Rep. Williams is “half Latino”–a gaffe Williams turned into a veritable circus of feigned outrage.

Salazar’s choice of words may have left the door open for Williams, but the incident is a useful window into the peculiar brand of “identity politics” Williams not only practices but has relied upon to differentiate himself in Republican politics. Being willing to pose in photos with unabashedly racist national Republican figures like Iowa’s Rep. Steve King (above), combined with rhetoric that mainstream Republicans avoid lest they be lumped in with racists like King, makes Rep. Williams highly appealing to the overwhelmingly white conservative Republican voters he represents. Best of all, if you’re not extremely careful about pointing this out, Williams will turn the contrived indignation on you too! As they say in show business, it’s nice work if you can get it.

Rep. Williams is not unique with this strategy of what you could accurately call reverse identity politics, but in moments like this–when the politically-motivated animus against immigrants reaches a level where decency itself requires everyone to call it out–this is when it looks the very worst.

This is when, if a man like Dave Williams has any shame, he feels it and stops talking.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. itlduso says:

    Lock up the GOP farmers who hired the undocumented worker.  They could have used E Verify to check his status, but didn't.  They argued that they couldn't find US workers to work for them at the wage they were offering.  So, they are also Communists who don't believe in supply and demand. 

  2. mamajama55 says:

    Dave Williams is a bottom feeding scumsucking racist. Hopefully, HD15 voters will give him the same treatment they gave Chaps when he became too great an embrarrassment. 

    • Pseudonymous says:

      Hopefully, HD15 voters will give him the same treatment they gave Chaps when he became too great an embrarrassment [sic].

      Go and find another horrifying asshole for the seat?

      • mamajama55 says:

        Williams ran unopposed in the primary, and still couldn't break 81% of the votes at Assembly. So 20% of El Paso Republicans would rather have "Nobody" or a write-in  than Dave Williams.

        In the primary, he only received 8,000 of EPCO's ~20,000 Republican votes (~40%) . That's not even counting the ACN, Libertarian, and Unaffiliated voters. Whereas the Democratic HD15 candidate, Brenda Krause, received  ~3800 of the available 9,000 Democratic primary ballots. Many people just don't vote the down-ticket races, of course. 

        So Williams may have a bit of an enthusiasm problem, which he is trying to repair by revving up the racist vote. But I think that it will backfire on him the way Chaps' outrages did on him, pushing Chaps to resign his House seat and make a futile run for the state Senate. 

        For sure, Krause will still have an uphill battle in HD15. But I think that the Democratic candidate will do better this year than they ever have before – particularly if she has a decent canvassing and GOTV operation to reach out to unaffiliateds in that district. 

        • Pseudonymous says:

          The 2014 primary, which pitted Williams against Chaps in some sort of asshole death match, had fewer Republican votes (just over six-and-a-half thousand) than the primary last. In 2016, where Williams was the uncontested King of Shit Hill, he garnered a bit under 6,000 primary votes. Both he and Chaps went on to win 2-1 against their Democratic opponents.

          This district is the political equivalent of the tenth circle of Hell, and only nightmares will be raised up from it.

  3. MichaelBowman says:

    King is a veritable Deplorables buffet. The Congressman has an interesting race this cycle, a dynamic young man, J.D. Scholten, who has outraised King, has five district offices and a good ground game

    If you have a little spare change show JD some Colorado love; it doesn't matter what issue you care about: descheduling industrial hemp, ending Prohibition, tackling climate change, The Wall, immigration or marriage equality – this man is on the #MAGAt side of every argument. 

    Remember the days when King couldn't even get any love from our junior senator and the Northern Colorado Tea Party because his views were too extreme for even them? 

    King's hometown newspaper jumped in with an endorsement of JD.  A great read: 

    Maybe this time it's different

    Let's hope they're on to something.

  4. JohnInDenver says:

    The notion that a crime committed by one individual should be evidence against all who share some status OR be used to assume political opponents are at fault is pretty silly.

    I for one would never assume a Republican committing a tax felonies meant ALL Republicans are cheating the government of taxes. Nor that one Republican calling a felon "a good man" meant ALL Republicans are soft on crime, enabling white collar criminals to continue their crime spree without fear of repercussions.

  5. The HD 15 voters care about local issues, like schools, jobs, healthcare costs, roads and protecting Colorado’s environment and they deserve a representative who acts on their concerns. Immigration policy is largely the purview of the Federal Government, not the State Legislature or local governments. 

    Members of Mollie Tibbetts’ family have repeatedly asked that her death not be sensationalized in this way, as it has been by right-wing politicians nationwide.  From President Trump and his son on down, it has been used to stoke anti-immigrant feelings.  I agree with Rob Tibbetts, when he says that it’s unfair to punish all immigrants for a crime they didn’t commit.

    Not only do Rep. Williams’ comments disrespect the wishes of the Tibbitts family, they aren’t accurate either.  Studies have generally found that both legal and undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than people born in the US. 

    As a former mental health professional, I understand that bills like HB18-1094, the “Children and Youth Mental Health Treatment Act” which was passed by the Colorado legislature and signed into Colorado law in May of this year, over Rep. Williams opposition, will help Colorado families.  The bill guarantees young people expanded access to mental health services.  Violence is best addressed through early intervention and treatment.  Instead of voting for legislation that could prevent violence against women, like HB18-1094, Rep. Dave Williams only wants to grandstand against violence when it suits his extreme political agenda.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Thanks for checking in, Brenda, and for taking on HD15. Hopefully , voters in your district will see how much better they could be represented with you in the legislature instead of  Williams. 

      Welcome to Pols, and feel free to write a diary or two about the issues and stories you care about.

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