DON’T CLAIM A MANTLE YOU CAN’T CARRY…. As long as the Republican National Committee wants to pretend that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message is “rooted in ideals and principles that the Republican Party has advocated since its inception” — a claim that’s as wrong as it is audacious — perhaps now would be a good time to note the roll call on the vote to honor King as an annual holiday.

The battle of MLK Day went on for years, with state-by-state flare-ups dragging on for years after Senate and House overwhelmingly passed the holiday in Oct. 1983.

President Reagan, who initially opposed it, relented and signed the bill — and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), then a congressman, voted against it. He recanted in 1990 and backed an unsuccessful state referendum to honor the civil rights leader and has since regretted his decision.

A dozen Senators who voted on the measure are still in the upper chamber — ten who voted yes, and two Republicans who voted against the holiday, including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.