This is more of a palate cleanser than actual news but it made me laugh, so here you go. Is King still, er, running for president, by the way? He was as of last month, but I feel like we’re perpetually a week away from having him announce with a heavy heart that a path to the nomination simply doesn’t exist. (If it doesn’t exist for Jon Huntsman, it doesn’t exist for this guy.) It’d be an honest shame if he decided against it. I want him in, just because he’d be the first true “troll” candidate I can remember to participate in a national primary. Some people run because they’re passionate about a single issue, a la Tom Tancredo in 2008; some people run because their policy vision for the party is sharply different from the rest of the field’s, a la Ron Paul; some people run because they know they can capitalize on the celebrity that comes with the campaign, a la Herman Cain; and some people run because they’ve convinced themselves that the public wants an unknown this time, a la Ben Carson (if he runs). King isn’t any of those types. And hawks certainly won’t be lacking a champion onstage. Either Christie or Rubio or both will be there to handle that. If you want to be charitable, you could say that he’s thinking of running as a sort of centrist version of Ron Paul, the guy who’s going to challenge the conventional conservative wisdom on an array of policies — the shutdown, gun control, and whether Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are a cancer on America. If you don’t want to be charitable, you could see him as a pure troll. He’s going to get up onstage, call Paul and Cruz de facto terrorists, and otherwise run interference for Christie, Rubio, and the more credible hawks. And then Cruz and Paul are going to remind him of his old comments about the IRA, and then the fun will really begin.
The question for establishmentarians is whether they really want this guy onstage doing the dirty work. Ideally they’d like the more serious centrist contenders to stay above the fray versus Paul and Cruz so that conservatives don’t end up harboring hard feelings towards the centrists, but maybe King is so unlikable that that would backfire. You don’t want persuadable voters equating the hawkish position with over-the-top nastiness, but he may give them no alternative. Exit question: How funny is it going to be when Cruz joins forces with King in attacking Paul for being weak on foreign policy?