If Republicans don't quash the libertarian streak shown recently by some of their members they risk following the destructive lead of Democrats in the 1960s, says GOP Rep. Peter King of New York.
"When you have Rand Paul actually comparing [NSA leaker Edward] Snowden to Martin Luther King or Henry David Thoreau, this is madness," King said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "This is the anti-war left-wing Democrats of the 1960s that nominated George McGovern and destroyed their party for almost 20 years. I don't want that happening to our party."
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King has said he is considering a run for president in 2016 because he fears where Republicans such as Paul, a Kentucky Republican, are taking the party.
King said he favors a healthy debate in 2016 between two legitimate candidates, "not fringes like Rand Paul."
Republicans are split on multiple issues, including the NSA leaks, raising the debt ceiling, immigration and a possible government shutdown over funding for Obamacare. That's left many from outside the party questioning whether the GOP is a party with an identity crisis.
King said healthy debate within the party can be good, but said it is "absolutely disgraceful" that 94 Republicans voted to defund the National Security Agency in a close vote in the House last week.
"This is an isolationist streak that's in our party," King said. "It goes totally against the party of Eisenhower and Reagan, Bush. We are a party of national defense."
King said he'd like to see Republicans reach out to labor unions of construction workers, police and firefighters. "These are people that are socially conservative and want to agree with us, and too many people in our party drive them away," he said.
King may be in the same party, serve in the same chamber of Congress and share a last name with Rep. Steve King of Iowa but he made it clear that he doesn't agree with the words his colleague used when talking about illegal immigrants in a recent Newsmax TV interview.
Steve King told Newsmax that those pushing immigration reform are painting an inaccurate picture of illegal immigrants as a monolithic group by noting that some children of illegals have become valedictorians of their classes. He also said in the Newsmax interview that for every valedictorian there are 100 "hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."
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GOP leaders including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced Steve King's words, but he has refused to back down from them, saying that the numbers back him up.
Peter King told CNN that Republicans have to address the immigration issue in "an intelligent way and a humane way."
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