Peter King for president. No kidding.

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Texas has two men who want to be king of the hill. In case you forgot, it was freshman Senator Cruz who encouraged his fellow members of the House of Representatives to shut down the country. It doesn’t take much courage to tell someone else to commit political suicide. Once the shutdown happened, Cruz distanced himself from the wounded warriors in the House.

Perry is still the governor of Texas. He chases the Tea Party to get its unlimited support, so he isn’t electable in 2016. There are other potential nominees, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey’s Chris Christie. Their problem is that they’re too much in the center of the political world, and might not survive the primary process.

So why Peter King?

For the better part of his congressional career, he has been labeled very conservative. His positions on some issues might please the Tea Party, but he doesn’t kiss up to it. King marches to the beat of his own drummer. He ripped into Rubio for his opposition to Sandy funding, and urged Wall Street fat cats not to give Rubio one dime. He attacked his party’s leaders for shutting down the country, and hasn’t held back when it comes to Paul. Republican or Democrat, he has spared no one.

It’s hard to believe that anyone could be on television as often as Sen. Chuck Schumer, but King runs a close second. He is the go-to person on national security issues, and has a vast knowledge of how government works — and doesn’t work. His success in helping secure peace in Northern Ireland is legendary. He has proved time and time again that he can work with the opposition party. You can verify that with Bill Clinton.

I don’t buy into everything King supports, but he is a breath of fresh air in a political climate that has been poisoned by a long roster of conservative nut jobs. King will be re-elected this November, but after the election he should jump into the presidential race and see what happens.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?

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