STEVE KING’S SUSPECT SYMPATHIES…. Let’s be clear at the outset: I don’t think Republicans are terrorist sympathizers. I find it offensive when Republicans say they want to see their party emulate the Taliban, and I find it bizarre when Republicans inadvertently help al Qaeda’s p.r. strategy, but I don’t think for a second that the GOP is somehow pro-terrorism.

That said, Steve King, a right-wing congressman from Iowa, seems to have a pretty twisted worldview when it comes to these issues.

Last week, Joe Stack crashed a small plane into an office building in Austin, Texas. Stack, apparently a deranged man with a grudge against the government in general, and the Internal Revenue Service in specific, killed at least three people, including himself.

Lee Fang reports that Rep. King seems oddly sympathetic to Stack’s motivation for murdering innocent Americans.

ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) at CPAC to talk about the attack in Texas. Asked if the right-wing anti-tax rhetoric might have motivated the attack, King implicitly agreed, noting that he had been a leading opponent of the IRS for some time. He noted that although the attack was “sad,” “by the same token,” it was justified because once the right succeeds at abolishing the IRS, “it’s going to be a happy day for America.”

He sidestepped the question of the legitimacy of the terrorists’ grievances, but sympathized by saying that “I’ve had a sense of ‘why is the IRS in my kitchen.’ Why do they have their thumb in the middle of my back”.

Asked specifically if Stack had legitimate grievances that led him to murder, King said he didn’t know.

Another report indicated that King told conservative activists he could “empathize” with the suicide bomber, and encouraged his audience to “implode” other IRS offices.

For any American to talk like this is pretty radical. For a member of Congress to say things like this in public points to a truly disturbing development.

Here’s the follow-up for King: if a man with grievances against the United States government flew an airplane into a building, killing innocent Americans, and his name was Ahmed instead of Joe, would you be this sympathetic in trying to understand his crime?

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Steve Benen

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.