Losing Congressman King…

Endemic Anti Americanism is one of the key reasons that Congressman Peter King cites for cooling off on Ireland, and in particular in his support for Sinn Fein and the IRA. According to Ed Moloney, he hasn’t set foot in Ireland since before 11th September 2001. It is hard to read whether it has more to do with the Bush charm offensive towards the liberal finge of the Republican party and the internal repercussions of offering public support to anti government guerrillas overseas, than with a singular disillusion with the Irish Republican project per se.

However since the Northern Bank raids, he is clear what future the IRA should choose:

“I would still support Sinn Fein’s right to be part of the peace process,” Mr. King said, “but I would be very critical of the IRA for not disbanding. No, they have to disband. Northern Ireland is at the threshold of being a democratic society.” What will he do if, as is now speculated in Ireland, the IRA refuses to disband? “With the IRA, I will reconsider my relationship,” he said. “The IRA really has to disband. Whether they do it this week or next week, they have to do it pretty soon, and if they don’t, I will consider speaking out against them.”

  • Irish in America

    Bush charm offensive towards the liberal finge of the Republican party
    There is no charm offensive towards the liberal fringe of the GOP. The current White House has refused to reach out to them.

  • Alan McDonald

    Not only is there no charm offensive, Pete King is definitely NOT a liberal Republican.

    None other than Niall O’Dowd in this piece, Irish Congressman Sealed Clinton’s Fate, from back in 1998 describes King as:
    the New York congressman who was also holding out on impeachment but who, given his much more conservative views, had none of the ties to the moderates.

    In 2000, when King was thinking of running against Hillary Clinton for the US Senate, he said on “Meet the Press”
    I would have a very good shot at [being endorsed by] the Conservative, Right-To-Life and Independent parties, the only one who could get all three of those.

  • Jacko

    I think we shouldn’t lose sight of the point of the piece, which is his distancing himself from the provos.
    Seems like his attitude to terrorism quickly changed after it was brought to his own backyard.

  • Alan McDonald

    You’re right, Jacko. I wrote my reply to Irish in America before reading Moloney’s piece.

    I grew up in Queens and most of my family moved to Long Island, just like Pete King. While I do not know him, I can certainly picture him in various New York bars I visited in the 1980’s, where the NORAID collection bucket was always prominently displayed.

    You are probably right that it’s the terrorists hitting home that caused the change in attitude, but I chalk it up to King’s political skill rather than to any honest soul searching. I didn’t see anywhere in the article any apology or sign of contrition for 25 years of IRA support.

  • Aaron D

    Contrary to popular belief, terrorist attacks had occured against the US before the attacks on September 11, 2001. Civilians were deliberately targeted in the these attacks and there were no phoned in warnings. I think if the “backyard theory” were true, he would have cooled off long ago. I’d say that the “changed stance for political reasons” is probably more consistent.

  • Jacko

    Aaron D

    Yes, I am well aware of attacks previous to 9/11. The bomb in the underground carpark etc. But you have to acknowledge that it was only after 9/11 that ordinary people in America began to take the whole thing seriously and realise just how vulnerable any liberal democratic society is to this type of thing.
    Many then began to empathise more with victims around the world than “freedom fighting” perpetrators and take a more critical look at peoeple like the IRA and Sinn Fein. They also learnt at first hand just how good some of these groups are at media manipulation and it surely can’t have escaped their notice either that, like Britain for decades, suddenly the USA was being painted as “always the bad guy”.
    Neither would I underestimate the damage done to SF’s support in the USA by their connections to the FARC cocaine-terrorists in Colombia.

  • Young Fogey

    the New York congressman who was also holding out on impeachment but who, given his much more conservative views, had none of the ties to the moderates.

    King is no liberal, but he represents a Democrat-leaning swing district which voted narrowly for Gore in 2000 and heavily for Clinton in 1992 and 1996. (Can’t find figures for 2004.) Although he has built up a big personal vote, this means he still has to be careful not to offend his constituents, but at core he’s a rock solid Conservative GOOPer.