In many team sports, it's good strategy to occasionally send in a player whose principal job is to hurt an opponent. In basketball, a star player who's scoring well might be slowed down by someone sent in off the other team's bench who hasn't begun amassing his game quota of fouls, and whose job it is to hack away at the star and slow him down. Hockey has the enforcer, the player who specializes in hard hits on opposing players. And, of course, in football there has been the "bounty hunter" phenomenon, most notoriously in recent years in the New Orleans Saints organization: it paid bonuses to players who hit opponents hard enough to force them out of the game.
This is a long way of saying that I don't think Peter King is really running for president -- he's talking about getting into the presidential race because somebody wants him to put a hit on skeptics of foreign policy toughness:
Rep. Peter King says he's dead serious about exploring a bid for the White House, even as GOP strategists and consultants offer steep and potentially insurmountable odds for the New York Republican.Yeah, but King has very little name recognition nationwide, and he's been a high-profile apostate: when Bill Clinton was impeached, he voted no on all four articles of impeachment, and recently he urged donors to withhold money from the National Republican Congressional Committee when Hurricane Sandy aid was held up. (You can stay in the good graces of the GOP base while bashing the GOP, but you'd better bash the party for doing too much social spending, not for failing to do enough.)
"This is not a game I'm playing, I'm serious," King told The Hill after spending the earlier part of this week in New Hampshire meeting with voters....
King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a member of the highly secretive Intelligence panel, has become a leading voice on television news shows espousing his views on the issue of national security and criticizing the Obama administration.
The issue has become his central platform and initial message to voters, as he tries to guide his party away from the libertarian foreign policy and defense positions held by other potential GOP presidential candidates, such as Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas).
"This has nothing to do with Rand Paul personally, but I definitely want to keep the party from going the route of what I call the 'Rand Paul isolationist wing' of the party," King said....
So if King is in there as a bounty hunter, who's going to be paying the bounty? I'll venture a guess:
According to Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington (CREW), King has voted "disproportionately in agreement with the industries regulated by the Homeland Security Committee." As he rose in committee seniority, contributions from the homeland security industries nearly tripled.Yeah, there'll be people who'll pony up to get him to put a hit on Rand.
During the 2006 election cycle -- the first election cycle after Rep. King assumed a leadership position on the commitee —--contributions from homeland security industries to his campaign committee and PAC increased by 434 percent over the previous cycle, from $34,150 to $182,449.Among King's biggest campaign contributors are defense contractors Northrop Grumman, General Dynamic, and the Raytheon Co., according to The Center For Responsive Politics. The security firm FJC is also a major contributor.
In contract, total contributions increased by 151 percent during the same period, from $610,412 to $1,530,735.
During the 2010 election cycle, homeland security industries accounted for 13 percent of the $1,713,917 in total contributions received by Rep. King’s campaign committee.
Among the earmarks he's lobbied for -- federal money awarded to businesses and other interests -- the largest sums have gone to New York University, the Webb Institute and American Defense Systems for defense spending, according to statistics from The Center.