Thursday, February 28, 2013

Peter King Declares Civil War Against Southern Republicans

Elspeth Reeve

Many people have noticed the GOP is increasingly becoming a southern party. So has New York Republican Peter King. The congressman is getting tired of his colleagues insulting his state and then begging it for money. On Thursday, he complained of two new slights: Sen. Marco Rubio raising money on Wall Street, and CPAC not inviting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to its big annual event. Republicans "are more and more taking on this anti-Northeast attitude," King told Politicker. "We say fine, if you want to be anti-Northeast, then the Northeast is going to be anti-them."

When House Republicans initially voted down an aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy in January, King said New Yorkers' campaign donations should dry up in return. "Anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds," King said

"Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans." King has not forgiven them, and is reminding Rubio of that. The Florida senator, who's recently been on a presidential candidate-style tour meeting Middle Eastern leaders and Wall Street donors, voted against the Sandy bill. King named Rubio, and told Politicker, "It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, 'We screwed you now make us president?'"

As for the Conservative Political Action Conference, King told The Hill's Cameron Joseph he was clad Christie wasn't invited. "If Republicans had any brains they'd stay away from CPAC," King told The Hill. "The thought that he's being penalized because he sought to get the aid for Sandy relief is disgraceful regional bias. To hold that out against him shows a narrow-minded bigotry from the party." Still, CPAC's decision makes the GOP "look like a narrow regional party."

King is not the only one who's noticed increasing tension in the GOP's regional divide. Of his 231 Republican colleagues in the House, 110 are from the South. The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reported earlier this week: 
Nan Hayworth, a Tea Party representative from upstate New York who lost to a Democrat in November, told me about a Southern Republican who once tried to win her support for a colleague on some internal conference position. “He’s a good Christian man,” the congressman told her, assuming that was the first thing she needed to know. She responded, “Well, I’m married to a good Jewish man.”
The Southerners are aware, too. Georgia Rep. Tom Price told The New Yorker how a northern colleague was okay with raising taxes on the wealthy. "It hit me that what he was hearing when he’s going home to a Republican district in a blue state is completely different than what I’m hearing when I go home to a Republican district in a red state," Price said. "My folks are livid about this stuff. His folks clearly weren’t. And so we weren’t even starting from the same premise."

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