Wednesday morning (August 12) offered a rare moment of political clarity and common sense on Long Island.
Congressman Peter King was addressing a breakfast gathering of the Advancement for Commerce, Industry & Technology at the Huntington Hilton. King is the lone Republican member of Congress from Long Island, and one of only three GOP House members from New York.
He touched on a variety of important topics.
On homeland security and terrorism, King noted that the New York City-Long Island region remains the top terrorist target in the U.S. And King declared that the next attack - hopefully a foiled attack - would be plotted in the suburbs and brought into the city. He is concerned that the fight against terrorists is being pushed aside by other issues in Washington.
King also made clear that he disagreed with the President's decision to close Guantanamo. The Long Island congressman said that the President did not realize the consequences, and now the administration does not know what to do with the "hardest of the hard core."
As for Iraq, King, who is heading back to that nation later this month, was pleased that Obama effectively has not changed our policy in Iraq, despite what was pledged on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, Rep. King noted that the "almost Medieval" Afghanistan was going to be "very difficult." But he emphasized how important it was as a place to attack al Qaeda. The Afghan-Pakistan border is the place where terrorists from the West are trained, according to King. He predicted that Obama would double the number of U.S. troops there.
King touched on Israel and Iran as well. He expects no peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until Palestinian leaders "can deliver on peace."
On Iran, interestingly, he noted that polls of Iranians show majority support for the U.S., and opposition to the Iranian leadership. Regarding the nation's pursuit of nuclear weapons, King believes sanctions are needed.
Moving to domestic issues, King made clear his opposition to most of what the President has pursued. He voted against the stimulus plan because it lacked tax relief that would truly help small business and the economy. He fears that the energy bill, featuring a cap-and-trade regulatory scheme, would chase business away to places like India and China. And on health care, he was critical of the President setting a short deadline to ram through an effort meant to restructure 17 percent of the U.S. economy. King sees areas for improvement in health care, but believes that issues should be addressed and debated incrementally.
To sum up, King made clear the need to fight terrorists, rogue nations, and misguided, big government schemes. Again, some rare policy clarity and common sense from a Long Island politician, but not too rare coming from Congressman King.