Political Hay

Peter King’s Political Fraud

Cruz GOP critic allies with socialist, Communist favorites.

By 10.10.13

UPI
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Senator Ted Cruz is a “fraud" and a "medicine man selling goods he knows are phony goods." -- New York Republican Congressman Peter King.

So.

Is New York Republican Congressman Peter King a political fraud?

What exactly is the endgame for GOP moderates?

What is the strategy for Ted Cruz’s GOP opponents when it comes to the age old GOP mantra of limited government?

Having raised the question repeatedly about Senator Cruz, (in the words of one brave anonymous GOP senator, “Cruz doesn’t have a strategy -– he never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the endgame was”) it’s time to turn the tables and ask of the Cruz critics: What next in your supposed fight for limited government? What is your “endgame,” your “strategy”?

Or are the Cruz/Lee GOP critics themselves just selling “snake oil” (in the words of the anonymous senator again to the Republican/conservative base)? 

Talking the happy talk about limited government and being a “Reagan conservative” when in fact they have not only no intention whatsoever to cut the size of government -- but are actively working to increase it.

In Mr. King’s case, working with House members actively identified as socialists -- and literally praised by the Communist Party USA.

Really. You can’t make it up. 

Of the many contributions Senator Cruz and Senator Mike Lee have made by bringing the Obamacare defunding issue front and center, one of them is most certainly raising the issue of how much government is too much. In a nation with a $17 trillion debt and $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities, when is enough -- enough? The Chinese government (aka the credit card issuer) -- is now sending warnings to America to pay its bills, as here in the New York Daily News

“We naturally are paying attention to financial deadlock in the U.S. and reasonably demand that the U.S. guarantee the safety of Chinese investment there,” said Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao. “On the question of the debt ceiling, the Chinese side feels the U.S. needs to take realistic and resolute steps to ensure against default on the national debt,” he added. 

Since the Cruz and Lee GOP critics have become so vocal about the Cruz and Lee “endgame” and “strategy,” let’s take a look at the record of one of the most outspoken of those GOP critics.

That would be Congressman Peter King of New York, he who has been racing to television cameras to call Senator Cruz “a fraud” and a “phony.”

A trip to the website of Mr. King -- the self-proclaimed “Reagan conservative” -- shows how this Cruz Republican critic plays the game. 

Remember the GOP mantra? Limited government and all of that?

It turns out that Mr. King is the prime sponsor of a jewel called the Elder Abuse Act of 2013. Here is the description of King’s bill as provided by the Congressional Research Service with a link from Mr. King’s website:

Establishes within the Department of Justice (DOJ) an Office of Elder Justice, which shall address issues relating to elder abuse. Requires the Director of such Office to: (1) provide information, training, and technical assistance to assist states and local governments in preventing, investigating, prosecuting, and mitigating the impact of elder abuse, exploitation, and neglect and in addressing the physical and psychological trauma to victims of such abuse; (2) evaluate the efficacy of measures intended to prevent, detect, respond to, or redress elder abuse and the extent to which the needs of the victims in each state are met by crime victim services, programs, and sources of funding; (3) evaluate training models to determine best practices for investigating elder abuse, addressing evidentiary and legal issues, and interacting with victims; and (4) conduct, and regularly update, a study of state laws and practices relating to elder abuse.

Got that?

Peter King’s strategic endgame as a “Reagan conservative” (a description of which he boasted the other day in a television interview) supporting limited government is to set up yet another federal bureaucracy -- this one inside the Department of Justice and dedicated to involving the federal government in elder abuse. No word on King’s site as to the cost, of course. Much less -- and notably -- any explanation about what in the Constitution suggests the federal government of the United States should be doing getting itself involved in an issue that should be dealt with by local and state governments if not private non-profits.

Laughably, King does have a section that attempts to cite the relevance of his demand for “Elder Justice” to the Constitution. It reads as follows:

Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following:

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

What King is about here is precisely what Mark Levin has described as follows in his bestseller Liberty and Tyranny. Levin could have been describing this King political fraud exactly when he wrote of the FDR era;

The federal government began passing laws and creating administrative agencies at a dizzying pace, increasing its control over economic activity and, hence, individual liberty. It used taxes not merely to fund constitutionally legitimate governmental activities, but also to redistribute wealth, finance welfare programs… 

Notably, Mr. King has seven House cosponsors (his Senate counterpart is the liberal Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow)  for his decidedly un-Reaganesque bill to expand the size, scope and cost of government in search of what he calls, in fashionable liberal lingo “Elder Justice.” Only one, Chris Collins of New York, is a Republican. The remaining six, Democrats all, include one of the most left-wing members of the Congress: Jan Schakowsky. 

Let’s stop here a moment and focus on Schakowsky. Specifically, let’s focus on this profile of her written over at National Review in October of 2010 by Stanley Kurtz. Mr. Kurtz had come across Schakowsky while doing his research for his book Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.

Wrote Kurtz, bold print for emphasis:

While researching my forthcoming book, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, I came across documentary evidence showing that, at the start of her political career, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

… Back in the late 1980′s, Schakowsky was an influential official in the Midwest Academy network, a group I have a lot to say about in my book. In that era, the Midwest Academy was treated by the press as a bulwark of Democratic Party liberalism–a counterweight of sorts to the more centrist Democratic Leadership Council. In 1987, all six official or prospective Democratic presidential candidates addressed the Midwest Academy’s annual retreat, seeking support. It would have seemed a wild exaggeration at the time to call the Midwest Academy socialist. Yet as I document in detail in Radical-in-Chief, the Midwest Academy’s leadership, including Jan Schakowsky, really was socialist. Precisely in order to retain their growing influence within the Democratic Party, the Midwest Academy’s leaders kept the full extent of their leftism hidden.

Then there’s Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the famously Muslim member of Congress. On the eve of his election to Congress, Ellison, now co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was praised to the stars by the People’s World, which describes itself as follows, bold print for emphasis:

The editorial mission is partisan to the working class, people of color, women, young people, seniors, LGBT community, to international solidarity; to popularize the ideas of Marxism and Bill of Rights socialism. The websites enjoy a special relationship with the Communist Party USA, founded in 1919, and publish its news and views.

Ellison, gushed this Communist Party house organ, would be a “fresh progressive voice” in Congress, and it looked forward to his election. 

Another of King’s seven co-sponsors is Democrat Raul Grijalva of Arizona. Like Ellison, Grijalva has won praise in the pages of the Communist Party’s People’s World.

Now. Let’s be clear.

The socialism of Representatives Schakowsky, Ellison, and Gijalva and the praise and high marks for the latter two in the pages of the Communist Party USA are the business of their constituents. No challenge to that here. 

Nor is there the slightest inference here that somehow Peter King is a Communist, a Communist sympathizer or anything remotely unpatriotic. Congressman King is first on the line as an American patriot. 

The problem here is that Congressman King’s repeated allegation that Senator Cruz is a “fraud” -- coupled with all these angry yips and yaps from other Republican senators and House members that Cruz and Lee have no “endgame,” no “strategy” -- raises the very exact question about Mr. King himself -- and the rest of his fellow GOP Cruz critics as well.

What Peter King’s record reveals is that he is, to use the word re-popularized by Mark Levin, a “statist.” King is well out there not, as he claimed the other day, as a “Reagan conservative” who believes in limited government. He has no Reaganesque bills to, say, abolish the Department of Education or the Department of Energy, much less to use the leverage of the current stand-off to push for abolishing either. To the contrary, King is well out there as a solid statist with plans to expand the size, scope, reach and cost of the federal government. And in fact his plans for increasing government are so admired by the far-left that he has attracted as co-sponsors for his legislation three members of Congress who have been well-identified as socialists and progressives, with two winning praise in the pages of the literal house organ of the Communist Party USA.

So what we have here is a Republican member of Congress -- boasting of himself as a “Reagan conservative” while slamming Ted Cruz as a “fraud” -- but who is in fact totally at home not only increasing the size, scope, reach and cost of the federal government but is so convincing at it that socialists and Communist Party favorites eagerly sign on to help him.

Can you say “end game”? Can you say “strategy?” Can you say “fraud”?

This, not to put too fine a point on it, is one example of an endless list of moderate Republicans who love to talk the talk but when it comes time to walk the walk -- and the curtain is pulled back -- aren’t even close to being revealed as the real thing. They have no end game to shrink the size of government, they have no strategy to stop the spending orgy that has now made even the Chinese credit card holders so anxious -- other than endlessly talking the talk while quietly doing exactly the opposite of what they profess to believe. And, as with Peter King, adding to the bill.

To the point: they are the real “fraud” in Washington. To apply another King description of Cruz to King himself, the New York Republican congressman is a "medicine man selling goods he knows are phony goods."

Let’s be candid, shall we?

That $17 trillion in debt is not just the fault of liberals. Let’s run through some examples old and new of other Republicans who have played or do play right this minute the very same game as does Pete King.

In 2012, several Republican presidential candidates promised they would eliminate various Cabinet departments. What was not mentioned was that several of the departments cited as targets for abolition were in fact the creation of Republican presidents. The Commerce and Labor departments were brought to life by Theodore Roosevelt, originally as one department. They were separated into individual Cabinet departments by his Republican successor, William Howard Taft. What is now the Department of Health and Human Services, now in charge of Obamacare, was originally created as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare by Dwight Eisenhower. The Environmental Protection Agency, its role and abuses much discussed in 2012, was created by Richard Nixon.

The difference within the GOP itself on the central issue of the role of government is vividly illustrated by Ronald Reagan’s effort to abolish the Department of Education, a Jimmy Carter creation. Reagan failed. By the time George W. Bush took office the Republican Party was committed by Bush and aides like Karl Rove not to abolishing the department but instead doing the exact opposite -- expanding the federal role in education with the No Child Left Behind program. 

In all of the furor of the last ten days surrounding Senator Cruz and his push to defund Obamacare and draw a laser beam’s worth of attention to the size and cost of a federal government careening at high speed towards a fiscal cliff, Republicans like Peter King have been vocal in their criticism. 

Nowhere is there a suggestion of what the moderate GOP end game really is.

Why? Because as Peter King so vividly illustrates that game is in fact the Statist status quo. 

Since Mr. King has brought up the issue of political fraud, saying that Cruz is a "medicine man selling goods he knows are phony goods" it is past time to note that the real political fraud here are GOP politicians who do what Peter King does -- talk the big talk while quietly doing exactly the opposite.

And the schtick is always the same. Let’s recall the topic at hand with King -- “elder abuse.” Is this a problem in America? Doubtless there are those who believe that it is. It may well be -- let’s concede the point for the sake of the argument.

The question here is why exactly elder abuse is a job for the federal government. In fact, this is exactly the formula that is a left-wing favorite. X is a problem, therefore we must open up a bureau in the federal government, staff it with $100,000 a year bureaucrats who will write regulations and busily set about creating utopia. A utopia that can only be reached with the creation of a federal program that deals with X. Elder Justice today or… fill in the blank with the name of your favorite cause.

Recall North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr? The GOP Senator who called defunding Obamacare “the dumbest idea I've ever heard”? Senator Burr has taken a good, hard look at the size of government and come up with the genius idea of taking the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor -- and merging them into the Department of Commerce and the Workforce.

Really.

Some might call Burr’s idea one of the dumbest ideas ever heard. In fact, what Burr is about is another Washington Establishment favorite that amounts to, as they say, re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. There is a national debt of $17 trillion sinking the country -- and Mr. Burr comes up with the bright idea of merging two government behemoths -- each with a budget over $10 billion and a combined almost 60,000 employees - into one even bigger government behemoth. How about abolishing one or both departments? Outright?

Can you imagine the outcry? Oh the agony!

Which brings us back to where we began.

With Peter King and his charge that Senator Cruz is a “fraud.”

The real fraud here is the number of Republicans who have long since sold their political souls to buy into the Statist conception of America. They have long since surrendered to the left-wing notion of what Mark Levin in his classic Liberty and Tyranny calls “the all-powerful state.”

Mr. King is himself one of the chief sellers of this particular brand of Statist snake oil -- and worse he invokes Ronald Reagan’s name to do it. 

America is $17 trillion in debt, the Chinese are knocking on the door for their money, the Wall Street Journal is running stories that illustrate in detail that the American financial house is on fire (“the question is not if the United States will default but when and on which of its rapidly spiraling liabilities”) -- and Peter King’s response is to seek out House members with a documented history as socialists or who win praise from the Communist Party USA to set up yet another federal government bureau, this one on elder abuse.

Elder abuse?

The real abuse here is Mr. King’s charade about Senator Cruz, Senator Lee, and their colleagues who have moved heaven and earth to bring America back from the financial brink of disaster.

A financial brink that is a direct result of the political fraud repeatedly perpetrated by Republicans like Mr. King -- pretending to one thing when they are quietly doing something else.

The opposite, in fact.

You want a definition of political fraud?

Peter King will suffice.

Photo:UPI

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.