|Congressman Peter King (Credit: AP)|
When you go looking for a courageous politician in Washington during this current budget crisis you will find the name of Congressman Peter King.
He appears to be the only one of that rare species these days. Ronald Reagan would be proud of him.
Politico reported that on Monday, as the wild men of the Republican right cheered on their breakneck race to shut down the government, King alone stood up in a packed party meeting and said they were heading in the wrong direction.
He later voted against closing down the government, one of just a handful of Republicans to do so. The Co-Chair of the Irish Caucus in congress had his Irish up.
In a front page article on Wednesday the Washington Post named him “A lonely voice in the right-wing wilderness”
The head Republicans were bent on a mighty showdown with their version of magical thinking that would make Obamacare just disappear into a fairy mist.
King, on the other hand, understood the destructive nature of what they were doing, to his beloved party as well as his country.
As Politico noted, King effectively stood alone but that would not be a new or unique role for the Long Island congressman.
He refused to vote for the impeachment of President Clinton for instance.
That impeachment looks laughable now given that Newt Gingrich, who led that charge, was himself leaving his cancer-stricken wife for another woman.
Pete warned then, as he is warning now, that the GOP is overreaching and will only damage its future prospects even more.
America is essentially a moderate center right country. The Tea Party has dragged the GOP to the extremes.
Years before that King stood alone on the issue of Northern Ireland, telling anyone who would listen in Washington that talking to Sinn Fein, not banning them, was the way forward. He was proven spectacularly right on that one.
He was also, last week, asking the tough questions of the Tea Party and their senate siren Ted Cruz who he called “a fraud.”
When was the last time you saw Speaker Boehner or any of his acolytes ask some tough questions of the Tea Party caucus about how exactly they expect to retain power when they refuse to recognize basic reality?
That reality is that Obamacare passed both Houses of Congress and was vetted and approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. The argument is over, finished, complete.
Mitt Romney ran against it and got his head handed to him in the presidential election, but like Japanese soldiers fighting the long over war, the GOP Tea Party folks insist that the fight goes on.
When I was in Washington a few weeks back for the Paul Ryan immigration breakfast hosted by the Irish lobby groups, I was amazed to learn that almost 50 per cent of the Republicans in the House have only a few years experience of Congress.
Contemptuous of the old guard like King, they want the new rules to be their way or the highway. They have the attention span of gnats and have never made the slightest attempt to stand in the other side’s shoes.
Believe me there are lots of problems on the Democratic side but I have not seen them try to revisit long ago battles like old soldiers who want to endlessly re-fight the war.
There is political fever on the Potomac these days and when it breaks and people see the consequences, it will, in my opinion, leave Republicans at a huge disadvantage.
Peter King retains that innate political ability to see that and to understand the long-term harm to his beloved party. Alas, the Tea Party crowd can hardly see over their teacups filled with bitter brew.
It is the country that will suffer, not the patronizing politicians who mouth the same old guff we are all truly sick of.
I have a strong feeling the electorate will throw the bums out in the next election. As for Peter King he is shaping-up as the voice of conscience and foresight in a party that sadly seems to lack one these days.