The Republican Party’s enormous victory in the House of Representatives means that the city’s veteran Democratic representatives are back to minority status–not a good thing. It figures to be a frustrating two years for Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Elliot Engel, Anthony Weiner and other city Democrats in the House.
But there is good news for the city, in the form of a tough-talking Republican from Long Island who will become chair of the House Homeland Security Committee in the new Congress. Peter King may represent the heart of Long Island suburbia, but he has proven to be a champion of the region as a whole, and the city in particular, when it comes to setting homeland security priorities.
Mr. King has earned bipartisan respect for his intellectual integrity and aggressive advocacy. In fact, President Obama called the congressman on Nov. 3, the day after the Republican victories in the House, to chat him up. Mr. King praised the president’s handling of the cargo-bomb scare, but made it clear that he disagrees with other White House positions, including plans to try suspects terrorists in civilian, not military, courts.
But those are legitimate and intellectually defensible disagreements. What’s astonishing, because it is so rare these days, is that the president and the congressman can have an amicable relationship even though they represent different parties and divergent views. That bodes well, too, for the congressman’s standing in the coming debates in Washington.
Congressman King figures to be the city’s watchdog over the expenditure of homeland security funds and the setting of security priorities. He knows as well as anyone that New York City remains a high-priority target for those who wish us harm. And he is nothing if not frank in describing the ideological threats that confront us.
The city’s security interests are in good hands with this suburban Republican congressman.