The intra-party battle among Republicans is no secret, with Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie sniping at one another for months now. But Representative Peter King (R-NY) took it one step further on Sunday, January 5th when he said the following on Fox News:
This isn’t the first time King has had harsh words for his Congressional colleague. Back in July, King stated that Senator Paul reminded him of “the isolationists and the Charles Lindberghs saying we should appease Hitler[.]” Godwin’s Law violation aside, it’s no surprise that King is perpetuating the GOP’s civil war with similarly scathing sound bites. His melodramatic claims that Senator Paul would be okay with “hundreds of New Yorkers” dying is par for the course for King.
But while freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism, this time King has taken a step too far.
Certainly there are people who agree with Peter King to an extent. They don’t want Edward Snowden to be given any leniency. They disagree with Senator Paul suing the Obama administration over the NSA’s domestic surveillance of citizens without warrants. Or perhaps they’re not concerned about the scope of the NSA’s power at all, holding on to the belief that blatant violations of the Fourth Amendment are an appropriate price for national security.
Whatever the case may be, there’s always room for disagreement on the right. It’s a point of pride among many conservatives: we don’t encourage the same uniformity of opinion that the left demands. We prize an individual’s right to criticize whatever and whomever without repercussion from the government. For some people this extends to employment too, as the Duck Dynasty drama showed.
To suggest that someone does not deserve the office s/he was rightfully elected to over a disagreement goes against the entire conservative creed. Senator Paul was voted in by his constituents in Kentucky because he was the best candidate for them. By the same token, Representative King was given the same mandate by the people he represents in upstate New York.
Conservatism is a philosophy of freedom: speech, autonomy, The individual, and all the rest. It seems that King doesn’t remember that stuff. What’s truly “disgraceful” to one’s office is stating that someone is anti-American – or suggesting that Rand Paul is cool with people being killed by terrorists – for raising concerns about the current state of governance.
Well how about this, Representative King? Perhaps you do not deserve to be in Congress.
Despite the temptation to call King’s office to say those exact words, that too deludes the conservative spirit. Peter King’s real “crime” is not his opinion of Senator Paul, but his encouraging the currently toxic state of political discourse in the United States. As stated earlier, one of the finer things about conservatism is that we do not force one another to be in complete agreement.
Conservatives should be the true bearers of the “new tone” that the Democrats promised and immediately cast aside. We should be able to quibble among ourselves and to battle the looming Reaper of Big Government without being caricatures. Governor Jindal is able to disagree with the President while explicitly rejecting calls for impeachment. At the very least, King should be able to disagree with Senator Paul’s stance without insinuating that the latter wants Americans to die.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Like it or not, there are a lot of people to disagree with out there – whether it be fellow citizens or elected officials. Let the Left flounder in a cesspool of venom while we take the higher road. Think about what you say to your friends. Think about what you say to your enemies.
Don’t be a Peter King.