I don’t need to tell conservatives that Peter King is poison. But the recent story in Politico.com gives us a pretty clear picture about what is wrong with him. It also might provide us with a window into Obama’s recent temper tantrum in using government money to shut down national parks as part of the “shutdown.”
“His current breach with the national GOP stems from a profoundly resonant local issue: aid for Hurricane Sandy, aid for which the House delayed approving and ultimately cleared against opposition from dozens of his Republican colleagues. At the time, King called on New York donors to snub the National Republican Congressional Committee; he has denounced Republican opponents of Sandy aid, such as Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who have visited the Empire State since then. That wound is clearly still raw for King, who alluded in the interview to how ‘politicians walk around with their arms around each other saying how much they love their colleague, like guys always did to me until they screwed me on Sandy.’ He noted that Colorado Republicans who opposed Sandy relief didn’t have any reservations about seeking federal money for flood aid in their state.”
I actually sympathize with King about watching Colorado appeal for aid. Of course, New York actually did get federal aid—just not as much as fast as King wanted. So the comparison doesn’t sound as dire to me as it does to him. Still I can see why it feels galling. There are real and/or perceived regional injustices behind King’s words and actions. His backer, former Senator Al D’Amato is quoted as saying, “the Northeast in particular [isn’t] held in high esteem by some of our Republican colleagues.”
OK, but so what?
King isn’t supposed to be governing according to his resentments. He is supposed to be ruling for the good of the country and, yes, New York State. Turning the Federal Government into a money fountain for every state is just as unsustainable as social security or Obamacare. The “the working-class, middle-of-the-road voters” are not going to prosper when the government’s debt-load leads to a national and world implosion. Anyone can look at Greece and see that working-class people are not thriving in the midst of a financial crisis.
But none of this matters to King. He’ll be retired by then and will be preaching to us how to help while he pretends his own policies were not part of the problem that led to the suffering. He doesn’t think that way, of course. He thinks his anger is righteous indignation. But it is really just slavery. St. Augustine diagnosed the problem over a thousand years ago:
“the good man, although he is a slave, is free; but the bad man, even if he reigns, is a slave, and that not of one man, but, what is far more grievous, of as many masters as he has vices; of which vices when the divine Scripture treats, it says, ‘For of whom any man is overcome, to the same he is also the bond-slave’ (2 Peter 2:19).”
People often think of vices or passions as sinful sexual habits, but that is not accurate. King’s resentments, King’s trust that his hurt feelings over the free money his state didn’t get gives him a just cause—all of this is toxic to good government.
Yet King and many others boast in their bitter resentments and their demands for a share of the shrinking pie as if such behavior is heroic.