Peter King: I'm a RINO? You're the frickin' RINOs!
REP. PETER KING (R-NY): ... We cannot allow our party to be taken over by the likes of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. I mean, these are people, isolationists, I consider them RINOs, because they don't represent traditional Republican principles....Well, it's clever of King to turn the RINO epithet back on these guys, given the harm they (or at least Cruz and the shutdown crowd) seem to be doing to the party for the time being.
But I'm also struck by the fact that what King is doing is working his own grift, a mirror image of Cruz's grift.
Being the anti-Cruz has made King much more visible. I'm sure he'll see a significant long-term increase in his TV bookings. He'll probably get a really nice book deal out of this crusade, probably from a big-name publishing imprint that's not in the habit of signing up Republicans. And while he won't get anywhere in his bid to be the GOP's 2016 presidential nominee, I bet a long of Chamber of Commerce types will be happy to fund his campaign, just to have his voice out there.
Now, I've hesitated to buy the notion that the craziest teabaggers are only in it for the money -- there's an ego factor as well. The money's good, but I think they all -- Palin, Cruz, Allen West -- want to imagine themselves as the president of Real (i.e., White Right-Wing) America. But I'd call that ego grifting. They're not doing this for the country. They're doing this for the cash and/or the (perceived) glory.
I don't see anything like this among Democrats. Hillary Clinton wants to be the actual president of the United States. So, I guess, do Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo and Martin O'Malley. They actually seem to want to get the job and then actually do it. They're not keeping themselves in the public eye just to be the darling of some media wing or other. A couple of Democrats -- Anthony Weiner and Alan Grayson -- have played that game, not terribly successfully. In the GOP, it seems to be the main event.