In the Valley of Elephants, RINOs are King
By Chuck Muth
Talk about pulling the rug out from under you. Talk about sucking the air out of your balloon. Talk about killing a rally. Talk about “Republican” U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.
Congressional Republicans got their keisters kicked at the ballot box last November. They were depressed. Lethargic. Apathetic. There wasn’t enough Xanax, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Prozac and Paxil combined in the Capitol to service everybody. Heck, they almost had to start re-importing some from Canada just to handle the demand.
Then Obama was sworn in and the floodgates of spending on every Democrat pet program under the sun – including contraceptives and sod – were opened. Bingo! A “trillion dollar turkey” spending bill disguised as a catastrophe-avoiding “stimulus” bill.
And then suddenly…Republicans in the House of Representatives re-discovered fiscal conservatism. I mean, it was like the Grinch suddenly discovering that Christmas had nothing to do with spending money on gifts and presents and earmarks and bridges to nowhere.
“Being Republican,” they thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Being Republican, perhaps, means a little bit more! And what happened then? Well, in Washington they say, The GOP’s small spine, Grew three sizes that day!”
House Republicans knew they didn’t have the votes to stop the Obama Spending Express. But that wasn’t their challenge. Their challenge was to see if they could all band together and vote unanimously against the “trillion dollar turkey” – the way Republicans banded together and unanimously embraced the Contract With America way back in ’94.
And they did.
I don’t know how they ever pulled it off, but it was a thing of beauty. It drove the Democrats and the mainstream media cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. How could Republicans stand united on principle and in opposition to the great and powerful Obamessiah? HOW DARE THEY?!!
But they did. Not only was it the right vote to cast from a public policy standpoint, it was the right vote politically, as well. It was a mega-shot of adrenaline in the arm of GOP grassroots activists and party leaders. I know. I was at the Republican National Committee meeting in Washington the week of that vote and it was the talk of the town. Happy days were here again!
“Can you believe the Republicans actually stood united? Maybe there’s hope for us after all!”
But then…the issue went over to the Senate.
Unlike in the House, if Senate Republicans were to stand united in opposition to this bloated, larded-up spending bill – they could actually STOP it. Because unlike in the House, the 41 Republican senators could filibuster this bill. And, oh, what a political blow that would be to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi – in addition to doing what’s right for the country!
Alas, three “moderate” Republicans on Friday turned this lemonade into a lemon. It was like being first-and-goal from the two-yard line in the Super Bowl and throwing an interception which gets run back 100 yards for a touchdown by the opposing team – not that that would ever happen.
Specter, Collins and Snowe sold out their 38 GOP colleagues and every Republican member of the House by cutting a deal and giving Harry Reid the 60 votes he needed for this “trillion dollar turkey” to go through. In doing so, they not only assured the socialist-Democrats now running the country a huge and expensive political and legislative victory, but they stopped dead in its tracks the momentum Republicans had been successfully building with the American people against this proposal.
Why, oh why, did we ever stop the practice of tar-and-feathering?
Folks, this was nothing short of giving aid-and-comfort to the opposition. And these three “Republicans In Name Only” (RINOs) have done this sort of thing over and over and over again for many, many years. But this was a big one. Huge. When will the party finally say “enough is enough”? Why is the GOP allowing a handful of RINOs to control the party’s direction and future?
Yes, I fully understand the political reality that majorities get to lead – and you gain majorities by addition, not subtraction. But what about all of the fiscally conservative voters the GOP is losing thanks to RINOs like Specter, Collins and Snowe undermining the party’s message and ruining the “brand”?
It’s a painful dilemma to be sure. So the question naturally arises, “What would Ronald Reagan do?” Fortunately, we have his CPAC speech from 1975 to guide us:
“A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers. . . . And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.”
If these three RINOs want to be independent, throw their Republican colleagues under the bus, and vote however they want – even on bills as contradictory to the fundamental principles of the GOP as this BS “stimulus” bill – then they should go their own way and run for election as independents, not Republicans.
Why should these RINOs benefit at the ballot box by having an “R” next to their name? Why should they benefit from the volunteers and grassroots activists who slug it out in the trenches each and every day doing the grunt work of voter registration and get-out-the-vote? Why should they benefit from all the money people all over the country donate to the Republican Party?
It’ll be a rare thing for me to agree with Barack Obama on just about anything over the next four years, but I have to agree with him on this: If company executives take taxpayer bailout money to prop up their businesses, then those executives should be subjected to “strings,” such as caps on executive compensation.
If you take our money, you take our conditions. It’s that simple. It’s the Golden Rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.
Ditto RINOs who constantly stab the Republican Party in the back – like Specter, Collins and Snowe. If they can’t get with the party’s program, fine. But they shouldn’t expect to get the party’s support and money. They shouldn’t be allowed to have it both ways. If they want to be independent, then run as independents. Like Joe Lieberman.
But if they want the benefits of running as a Republican, then sometimes they need to suck it up and be a Republican. And if they can’t or won’t, the GOP – for its own sake and the fiscal sake of the nation – needs to cull these RINOs from the elephant herd. No money. No endorsement. No volunteers. No nothing.
Until they bring back tar-and-feathering.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at: email@example.com.