Obradovich: Voters aren't holding debate dodgers accountable

Des Moines Register | Kathy Obradovich | 10/15/16

Obradovich: Voters aren't holding debate dodgers accountable

Congressman Steve King spent about an hour speaking and answering questions for an Iowa audience on Thursday who asked him some tough questions.

One woman noted that the high cost of child care is hurting Iowa families and businesses. She wanted to know what King, a Republican seeking an eighth term, could do about it.

He said his family-owned earth-moving business let two employees bring their babies to work. But, he said, he could not support putting the costs of child care on the taxpayers.

King also explained a remark he made on Twitter that warned against “cultural suicide” by means of demographic transformation. That tweet sparked an Iowa-born woman of Indian-American heritage to write a guest commentary in the Register accusing King of xenophobia.

It was an enlightening exchange, but there were some problems with it. One, it occurred in Des Moines, which is not in King’s district. Secondly, King’s Democratic opponent, Kim Weaver, was not a part of the discussion.

That’s no knock on the Greater Des Moines Partnership, which invited the major-party Senate and congressional candidates from all over the state to appear separately to discuss issues with their members. It’s a public service to hold such a forum, and it’s to King’s credit that he attended.

The issue is that King may be the only congressional candidate who has refused to participate in a single debate against his opponent. He told the Sioux City Journal last week he didn’t see the point.

"There's no upside to it. There is nothing to be learned or gained," King said, according to the Journal. "People know where I stand. I don't have people coming up to me, and saying, 'Where are you on Obamacare, where are you on national defense or border security?'"

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