For many Northeastern Republicans in the House of Representatives, life isn't so easy.
They’re caught in the middle. To have genuine influence, they must go along to get along, often with hard-liners in the party who can seem angry about everything these days -- about government, about the president, about modern life in general. Some play the go-along game better than others.
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), as it turns out, doesn’t play it well at all -- and good for him. Sometimes the awful truth is worth shouting from the rooftops even if it is less than politick.
This is one of those times. On Wednesday, King bucked the Republican leadership and opposed a bill that would postpone the federal debt limit vote until May. As he explained his reasons -- which were technical and arcane -- he also mentioned that he might not support the federal budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, and backed by the Republican leadership.
“You know, Paul Ryan and the people he’s working closely with -- they all voted not only against the [$51 billion in superstorm] Sandy relief, but against the [$9 billion in] flood insurance,” King was quoted as saying by the website Capital New York. “That’s taking us for granted in New York.”
“The vote on Sandy has had a real impact on me,” he went on. “More than 80 percent of the Republicans voted against it -- and that to me is an indication of where their thinking is.”
He warned that the vote on Sandy assistance “was a harbinger of what’s to come in [the Ryan] budget as far as New York is concerned.”
“I want to have a good personal relationship with John Boehner,” he said. “I want him to be the speaker. And Eric [Cantor] did deliver. I just felt that you can only be a punching bag for so long.”
Most moderate House Republicans resort to unctuous equivocation when asked about their conservative wing. It’s reassuring to know someone is willing to call it as he sees it.