Splits in GOP put spotlight on Pete King

King admitted that he had been approached by Republicans nationally as well as in New York about running for high office because he doesn't see anyone at the national level speaking about national security and he hopes the GOP is not defined by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), two potential 2016 contenders who have questioned military spending, foreign aide, drone use and intervention.

"The big debate that Republicans seem to have in the Senate on foreign policy is whether or not, you know, the CIA was going to use a drone to kill an American in Starbucks," King said.

House Republicans are divided over the farm bill. Senate Republicans are divided over the filibuster and a debt agreement. The whole party is divided over immigration and gay marriage. Now the Paul/Cruz bandwagon seems to have enough gas in it that GOP hawks are worried it might actually get too far out there.

ADVERTISEMENT
It's not just King who has decided to go public. Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol said this week he thinks Cruz and Paul are "anti-military." Kristol pointed to the senators' support for a bill from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to address sexual assault in the military that Kristol said would "undermine the military chain of command," like the two senators did with "their last bold intervention in national security policy, when they raised the alarm about the dire threat of drones attacks on Americans sitting in cafes."

The Republican Party has stayed awfully silent on the Obama administration's decision to depart Afghanistan completely next year, which King opposes. King isn't likely to take the race to the finish line, but he is likely to force a conversation if he sticks with it. Which GOP 2016 wannabe will be the first to side with King? Any?

DOES THE GOP STILL SUPPORT A STRONG NATIONAL DEFENSE? AskAB returns Tuesday July 30th. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and answers to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.

More in Defense

NY rep: Obama must ‘put the fear of God in ISIS’

Read more »