Remind us to never get between Rep. Steve King and a hunk of char-grilled cow.
The Iowa Republican is all fired up about animal flesh these days, talking trash about vegetarians during a town hall meeting last week and pulling strings to get the House Agriculture Committee to weigh in on the “lean, finely textured beef” fight that’s KO’d Beef Products Inc. in recent weeks.
Let’s begin with the ranting.
Think Progress captured this video of King on Tuesday taking all kinds of credit for “outing” secret vegetarians and exposing an anti-meat agenda during a years-ago House Agriculture subpanel hearing:
It’s unclear whether King just loves hyperbole or if he simply sees red, and not so much reality, when considering vegetarians. Either way, King promulgates multiple inaccuracies in the 72-second spiel:
King sticks it to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Strike 1: No one from PETA testified before the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry hearing on the date (May 8, 2007) in question.
“They confessed they were vegetarians. All of them.” Strike 2: Of the 12 witnesses (sprinkled across three separate panels) invited to testify, the only one who even mentioned his dietary habits — and this was only after being goaded on by then-Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) — was Humane Society CEO and President Wayne Pacelle.
King claims his quip — “I eat concentrated, recycled, enhanced vegetables in the form of meat.” — was the “last word on that particular hearing.” Strike 3: King did deliver the punch line, but it hardly brought down the house. There was actually a whole other panel discussion that followed.
Meanwhile, digging through the transcript of the subcommittee hearing, we were fascinated by some of the other comments King made, including his insistence on setting the record straight about the legality of eating horse meat, as well as the dietary habits of basketball great Bill Walton, whom he incorrectly identified as having played for the Seattle Supersonics.
Meanwhile, back in the present, Food Safety News is reporting that King has asked current House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) to launch an investigation into the “pink slime” scandal that’s caused BPI to temporarily halt production of its controversial beef by-product. As a committee member, King’s plea should have significantly more pull than the generic S.O.S. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad previously sounded.
Neither Lucas’ private office nor Agriculture Committee staff responded to our inquiries regarding King’s request or Lucas’ interest in pursuing any such course of action.
Update: A House Agriculture Committee spokeswoman confirmed that Lucas and King have chatted about the BPI issue, but remained noncommittal on any formal proceedings. “There may be an opportunity to have a hearing. But nothing is scheduled at present,” the Congressional aide told HOH.