Referring to Christian Nationalists Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), King told ABC News in reference to Hilary Clinton, “I think she’s very strong on foreign policy, and I think that if we nominate someone from our isolationist wing of the party, she’ll destroy them.”
“I’m not a big fan of Ted Cruz,” King said. “He’s too much of an isolationist,” and “has too negative a view.” He also hasn’t forgiven Cruz for voting against relief for Hurricane Sandy victims after raking in big money for Florida disasters.
Yes, this is Peter King accusing another Republican of having too negative a view. And he said it without laughing.
King’s words are not a big surprise. Everyone – except Democrats, that is – is jockeying for position right now to see who is going to win the primary lottery so they get to be the guy to lose to Hilary Clinton. We’ve already seen Ted Cruz kissing up to religious zealots and racists in Iowa.
I say guy because let’s face it, no Republican woman is going to challenge for the presidency. Even before she sank into this legal morass, Michele Bachmann showed about how far a woman can go in the GOP (Palin, tagging along on John McCain’s coattails and dragging him down, doesn’t count).
King calls this phase of the pre-campaign as “feeling out the opponents the first two rounds, throwing jabs and jabs and when they’re not looking, right cross and it’s all over.”
From his words, it’s more a case of measuring them for their metaphorical coffins, planting a seed of doubt in the minds of the base; that “these are not the Republicans you’re looking for.”
Ironically and surprisingly given what we’ve seen since 2001 and from King the Fear-Monger personally, he said that Republican candidates need to participate in “coherent” foreign policy dialogue while avoiding “name calling and pandering to people’s fears.”
Speaking of name-calling and pandering to people’s fears, King wasted no time in going after Muslims again. He told The New York Times,
It bothers me when the leading Republicans out there, someone like Rand Paul, seem more concerned about an American being killed in Starbucks by a CIA drone than he is about Islamic terrorism.
What King is looking for is a Muslim-hating hawk who can get behind some truly Bushian and ruinous, economy-destroying defense spending:
“Ever since the days of Eisenhower, Republicans have been the party of strong national defense. Right now, the main potential candidates — such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz — are isolationists who barely mention the threat of Islamic terrorism. I don’t want isolationism to be emblematic of the national Republican Party.”
Islamic terrorism has become the Republican shibboleth. But as Jason Easley wrote here in April,
The statistics as of April 2012 tell us that 56% of domestic terror threats came from right wing extremists. Just 12% of domestic terror threats came from Muslim extremists. It would be bad public policy, and a waste of resources to devote law enforcement to going after Muslims.
Republicans tend to overlook the second part of “all enemies foreign and domestic” and for good reason: they’re the domestic enemies the Founding Fathers warned us about.
As far as the rest of the potential Republican field, the New York Republican says he likes Paul Ryan:
I like Paul, but as far as defense, Paul hasn’t really spoken out. So far, no one is out there talking about national defense. The economy is important, immigration’s important, but the fact is if we don’t survive as a nation, none of that matters.
But, he pointed out, Ryan has 3-4 years to articulate a foreign policy position. It is to be hoped Ryan proves more adept at foreign policy positions than economic, because he has been an utter failure on that front.
On the other hand, though he had nothing bad to say about Ryan, King called Chris Christie “the strongest candidate I see out there right now,” and said he and Christie were on the same page, reminding viewers that he had asked Christie to run in 2012.
King is right to fear Hilary Clinton. She has a incredible approval rating among Americans even after the contrived Republican Benghazi witch hunt, and he is right to fear her foreign policy credentials.
In the end, Republican hawks seem like nothing so much as Cold War relics, living in the halcyon days of Reagan’s “evil empire” rhetoric. But Americans are tired of ruinous wars and they’re tired of seeing their sons, daughters, and brothers, killed and maimed in wars that don’t have to be fought; wars that resulted in the first place from Republican foreign-policy incompetence.
What King is offering America is more of the same. And I suspect in 2016 Americans will say, resoundingly, “No thank you.”
Should he run for president, Peter King, Republican of New York, will not be running only against Hilary Clinton, but against the tides of history.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.