On Saturday night, Rep. Peter King of New York duked it out in a boxing match against New York State’s boxing champion, Josh Foley. While it’s nice to see that even politicians don’t take themselves too seriously, it’s surprising that while about 1,000 people were expected to watch the match, the event wasn't held for charity despite the fact that parts of Long Island were severely destroyed late last year during Superstorm Sandy.
It’s also odd that while King was touted for stepping outside of his professional role and having fun despite the issues Long Island constituents face following the Superstorm, President Obama has come under fire for doing just that countless times in the past.
According to King, he agreed to the two round exhibit after his trainer, Chris Cardona suggested he actually try out for a spar. Although the congressman has been training for nine years, and currently weighs in at 230 pounds, he doesn't quite expect to beat his professional counterpart.
"If anyone is going to get knocked out, it will be me. I can tell you that much," King said.
Regardless of the outcome of the match, it would have been prudent for the Congressman to hold the event as a charity event, considering the damages the area faced last year. Just in Nassau and Suffolk alone, 95,534 buildings had been destroyed and 10% of all the homes in those two counties faced flooding or storm damage. Constituents of Long Island, including Wantagh, where the match was held, would have clearly benefited more from the match if the proceeds had gone back to them rather than the pub where everyone had gathered to witness this spar.
Moreover, although President Obama’s love for golf has recently come under fire as Republicans maintain that he should cancel his golf outings rather than White House tours, he has been criticized for playing the golf for much longer. The criticism, however, doesn't say much because it seems that the president is vulnerable to criticism from the other side of the aisle regardless of what he does. What is notable, however, is that other than a few snide remarks from Long Island constituents who believe that their congressman should be doing more valuable things with his time – or at least raising money for them while also having fun – there is no criticism to be heard against King.
I understand that King isn't the president, and undoubtedly has much fewer responsibilities. However, as Long Island has still yet to recover from the Superstorm and constituents continually face economic hardships as they work to piece their lives back together, it is unfair to let King go without any criticism. Constituents of Long Island don’t need to watch their congressman spar a boxing champion for fun; they need him to help them get their lives back on track and this case, he missed the chance to do so.