Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.
Rep. Peter King's latest presidential "musings" have all the appearances of another attention-grabbing, risk-free political sideshow.
So far, the other major-party politicos seem to have no problem with it.
King (R-Seaford) has a pattern of letting the concept of "Governor King," "Senator King," and "President King" be floated. King's friends and colleagues, much of the news media, and most instrumentally, King himself, all indulge the exercise.
Why wouldn't they? A King "candidacy," to a disinterested observer, might well promise less absurdity than some that have actually transpired. This body politic has seen GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota run for president, former Rep. Anthony Weiner run for New York City mayor, and "mad-as-hell" businessman Carl Paladino run for governor of New York.
For King, of course, high-office talk keeps his name in the news without needing to raise or spend a dime. It gives perceived weight to points he wants to make. "Prospective presidential hopeful Peter King vowed today to etc." has an impressive ring around the district, no matter what he "vowed" to do.
The King buzz creates local interest, too. This includes, but is not limited to, those who'd like to win the Long Island congressional seat he's held since 1993.
Presidential talk makes for fundraising letters with spicier messages than, say, "Let's Keep Pete."
King may be viewed through a conventional Washington lens as a hawkish Republican.
But such top New York Democrats as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer habitually deem him a useful ally on funding matters wherever the GOP-controlled House has a say. At times Cuomo paid more heed to convening with King than with his own party's delegation, insiders say.
All the recent presidential patter may end up paling beside the attention King received in beating the drum and prodding his party for federal superstorm Sandy aid.
For allies in the Nassau GOP, even a fantasy-league King "candidacy" has its appeal with the creation of a "favorite son" for 2016. If King "drops out" to endorse another candidate, all the more chits inure to him if his favorite wins.
Come to think of it, making ripples with talk of a run may be more fun for a professional politician than defending in front of the nation everything he's ever said, done or proposed.
"Not ruling it out" is always the easy part.