“I don’t consider these guys conservatives. I think the party is going in an isolationist trend. It’s appealing to the lowest common denominator in many ways. And this whole threat of defunding the government, to me, is not conservative at all,” said King, who added later: “Maybe we do live in different worlds. These guys from the Ted Cruz wing live in their own echo chamber.”…

His current breach with the national GOP stems from a profoundly resonant local issue: aid for Hurricane Sandy, aid for which the House delayed approving and ultimately cleared against opposition from dozens of his Republican colleagues. At the time, King called on New York donors to snub the National Republican Congressional Committee; he has denounced Republican opponents of Sandy aid, such as Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who have visited the Empire State since then…

“Peter’s perspective, given his background, given the fact that he’s from Long Island and New York — a Reagan Democrat is how I’d describe him — means he’s right a lot more often than he’s wrong in terms of the trend for Republicans,” said former Democratic Congressman Marty Meehan, now the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell…

“Oh, Peter’s an old Irishman,” Rangel said. “If he was in our party, he would be doing the same thing — terribly independent and honest and sincere.”