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Mon Nov 11, 2019, 06:49 PM

The Moderately Indefensible Career of Rep. Peter King


The Moderately Indefensible Career of Rep. Peter King
By Jim Newell
Nov 11, 20193:23 PM


It is correct to note that King’s voting record is moderate relative to those of his colleagues. He supports gun control measures, including a ban on assault weapons, and was a vocal opponent of Republicans’ 2017 tax cut bill, which was built to bring tax hikes to districts like his own. He was often at odds with the ideological crusaders who dominated House Republican majorities over the decades. He said in the 1990s that then-Speaker Newt Gingrich was turning the GOP into “hillbillies at revival meetings,” and he voted against President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He held a special contempt for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, going back to the Cruz-led 2013 government shutdown. “I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I’ll take cyanide if he ever got the nomination,” King said during the 2016 presidential primaries. The King that Schumer remembers fondly is the one who shared Schumer’s belief that small-government Republican hard-liners made it difficult for government to accomplish its central purpose, securing federal money for New York commuter transit projects.

Admiration for these aspects of King’s relative moderation within the GOP conference, however, is inversely correlated with one’s likelihood to be subject to civil liberties violations. While King may not have shared some of his party’s fanatical opposition to things like refundable tax credits, he went above and beyond many of them in his harassment of minority communities.

When King took back the gavel to the Homeland Security Committee in 2011, one of his first priorities was to hold hearings on “radicalization” within American Muslim communities. Trust in King’s ability to hold such a hearing with anything resembling neutrality was limited, given that this was the same congressman who had claimed in 2007 that there were “too many mosques in this country, too many people that are sympathetic to radical Islam” and had also said that 85 percent of American mosques were controlled by “extremist leadership.” After Trump’s election, King recommended to the president-elect that he establish a federal Muslim surveillance program similar to the shameful, disbanded one run by the New York Police Department following 9/11. (King was unyieldingly defensive of any and every thing that any police officer had ever done, and he once compared NFL players kneeling in protest of police abuse to giving Nazi salutes.)

King’s maximalist approach to terrorism done by Muslims showed none of the nuance he applied in the 1980s to the Troubles. Before he was Longtime GOP Rep. Peter King, he was Long Island Irish Guy Peter King. In that capacity he was a vocal defender of the Irish Republican Army, serving up such spicy moral-relativist takes as: “If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the I.R.A. for it.” This history resurfaced in 2011 as King was prepping his Muslim radicalization hearings, and King defended himself by noting that the IRA’s acts of terrorism were over there.

“I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel,” he said. “The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States.”

This side of King’s record is why many Americans, even those who share his loathing of Ted Cruz and lax firearms regulations, will be pleased to see this figure who “stood head & shoulders above everyone else” return to the south shore of Long Island without a congressional voting card. To the Baileys of Massapequa, the fictional family to whom Chuck Schumer dedicates his politics, he might have been a common-sense solutions guy. It was what the Baileys were willing to overlook that made him such a fright to others.

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Reply The Moderately Indefensible Career of Rep. Peter King (Original post)
babylonsister Nov 11 OP
Gothmog Nov 11 #1
Blue_true Nov 11 #2

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 07:57 PM

1. I am so very glad to see this asshole retire

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 09:02 PM

2. He most likely saw the writing on the wall.

His district has long been a White enclave, but like all such places close to a major city, it is becoming less White and better educated, both conditions are deadly poisons to a republican officeholder.

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