Angus King, the independent senator-elect from Maine, said on CNN Wednesday, Nov. 7, that he hopes to bring bi-partisanship to Washington by facilitating opposing political parties in finding common ground through compromise. However, he has yet to select a party with which to caucus, or with which to select leaders and determine strategy, which he is required to do by the time he takes office next year.
Although King has not publically selected the party with which he will caucus, members of both the Democratic and the Republican parties expect that he will choose to caucus with Democrats. King’s position on the “fiscal cliff,” or on the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect, aligns most closely with that of the Democrats. The spending cuts and the tax increases that will result from the act will be partially solved by spending cuts and tax increases themselves, according to King, while Republicans are opposed to tax increases.
King said to CNN, however, that he needs to meet with chamber’s top Democrat and top Republican before deciding on the party with which he will caucus.
“There are really two criteria that I’ve honed it down to, and one is the extent I can maintain my independence and the second is how effective I can be on behalf of Maine,” he said.
Hence, a key factor in King’s decision will be which party will allow him to stay truest to the principles of the Independent Party as he defines them: the lack of an obligation to special interest groups, and the abundance of an obligation to the members within his community.
King is the former governor of Maine, where he was hugely popular in office from 1995 to 2003. King demonstrates that it is a misconception to think that all independent candidates are indecisive and unknowledgeable.
Rather, they are decisive about the fact that leaders must be free from the manipulation of special interest groups in order to conduct business in a manner that will best serve the needs of their community.