RINOS To The Left Of Me

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Candidates Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney are RINOs seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for the Presidency.

Recently, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-The Tanning Bed) played golf with President Barack Obama (D-George Soros’ pocket). In and of itself, a little time on the links is hard to criticize. We all know the old saw: A day on the golf course is better than a day listening to Obama read Alinskyite babble off the nearest teleprompter. I say that with the expectation that Obama probably sandbags the hell out of his opponents: from each according to his proximity to scratch, to each according to his 20+ handicap.

But Boehner has been playing a lot more than golf with Obama; and instead of a foursome, he’s been playing in a huge scramble with the Democrats. The tide of conservatism (created at least in part by a rising taxpayer recognition that the Democrats’ only plan for the nation appears to involve embittered rhetoric and assignation of blame) gave Boehner his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Yet Boehner is developing a far cozier relationship with the people who drove the nation into the ditch than he is with the people who have to winch it out. Whether it’s a vote against defunding the war in which Obama has not embroiled the United States (honest!) or dithering on raising the debt ceiling, Boehner seems to be ignoring the reality that 2010 was not a national referendum on Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, but a referendum on the increasingly unhinged liberalism of Pelosi, Obama and the Democratic Party.

The people want a conservative partner in Washington, not necessarily a Republican partner. That’s an important distinction, my friends. While Boehner has occasionally demonstrated a backbone, he has also too often run with the RINO herd. Before any of my dear readers respond with condemnations of my refusal to search for across-the-board bipartisanship, allow me to preempt your indignation:

  1. The 2010 turnover had nothing to do with bipartisanship. Voters went to polls across the Nation and told the Democrats (to paraphrase the President): “Sit down and have a Slurpee.” Recent polls indicate voters have even less faith in the Democratic Party now than they did then.
  2. I couldn’t help but notice bipartisanship suddenly became enormously important just moments after the Democrats in the House started having to beg for legislative scraps at the back door.
  3. The Democrats define bipartisanship strangely. As our own Chip Wood pointed out in his column Tossing Grandma off the Cliff and Other Democratic Lies, as opposition to Obamacare solidified, the liberal Democrat group Agenda Project produced a charming TV ad claiming the Republicans were planning the political equivalent of a mob hit on Medicare. The spot in question crossed a new Rubicon in the Democrats’ race to the bottom of the barrel. It depicted a reasonably well-groomed young fellow (whom we know to be a soulless conservative, since he’s wearing a suit, his hair is combed and he appears to have bathed) taking a wheelchair-bound old lady for a leisurely stroll — and pushing her off a cliff. If insinuating that conservatives are out to whack grandma is a Democrat’s idea of bipartisanship, then I’ll pass on the next Congressional love-in, thanks. It is worth noting that the Democrats are the ones pushing Obamacare’s death panels. And while they seem comfortable accusing conservatives of Medicare/Grandmama-cide, I can’t help but wonder where their plan to save Medicare might be. Maybe it fell off a cliff. Their rhetoric has grown exponentially more hysterical as their position has become more tenuous. I suppose hurling hate-filled tirades beats formulating a budget, a coherent foreign policy or a plan for improving the fortunes of people who don’t dine with Oprah Winfrey.

While Boehner and some members of the GOP have been putting from the Democrats’ rough at the Congressional level, another RINO has pushed to the front of the Presidential herd. Ambassador Jon Huntsman has left his post as the Nation’s envoy to the People’s Republic of China to challenge his boss for the big boy chair in the Oval Office. A former Governor of Utah, Huntsman is a well-connected, politically astute and telegenic candidate. While he remains an unknown quantity to many Republican voters (thanks in no small part to a campaign that started more slowly than my mother backing the truck out of the barn), he has access to some well-heeled financiers. And his pre-campaign hype was louder than a Who concert. (For the kiddies who don’t know who The Who is, think Lady Gaga with real instruments, real talent and real… clothing.)

Huntsman is an interesting study in the Revenge of the RINOS, if only because the hype surrounding his will-he, won’t-he, will-he campaign (he will, as it turns out) was generated without any real backing from any identifiable conservatives. In fact, the highest profile endorsement I heard directed toward Huntsman was offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): “…if I had a choice, I’d favor Huntsman” (And if I had a choice, Senator Reid, you would be making little stick figures of Sharron Angle while your ghostwriter worked on your memoirs.) While Huntsman served as Ambassador to China at the pleasure of the President of the United States, he did so not under President George W. Bush, but under President Obama. Given our increasingly lopsided relationship with the ChiComs, I hardly think that serving as the Beijing mouthpiece for Obama’s appeasement-at-all-costs-unless-you-look-like-an-easy-win foreign policy is much of a resume highlight for someone trying to convince voting Republicans that he’s the right man for the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, the man who would come in second in the “Harry Reid Endorsement Sweepstakes” is dragging his own RINO baggage. Say hello to Governor Mitt Romney, who still leads in the increasingly tight race for the GOP Presidential nomination. Romney is hardly the standard-bearer for the wave of conservatism which swept the nation in 2010. In 1994, Romney said: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” Romney now says his position has changed, of course. But he’s in his second race for the White House. My Bravo Sierra detector has an odd tendency to light up like a Christmas tree (how non-p.c. of me, apologies) — Winter Solstice tree — every time a RINO like Romney starts professing his passage to the right side of the political spectrum. Granted, Romney is to Obama as the Four Seasons is to the Super 8. Of course, in Obama’s America the rest of us can’t afford the Super 8 — and we can’t even get in the door of the Four Seasons (Mrs. Obama doesn’t like the riffraff getting too close, you know). But Romney has touted his adherence to the global-warming dogma, and there’s that nagging little matter with Obamacare’s older brother. It strikes me that the same conservative revolution which gave candidates like Romney a chance against Obama can do better than candidates like Romney.

“Better than candidates like Romney” excludes a certain former Speaker of the House. Newt Gingrich is astute, shrewd and easily the best debater of the GOP candidates. But it’s hard to vouch for the conservative credentials of a guy who plays footsie with a parasite like Al Sharpton. And while he was the more attractive of the two people in that “together we can solve it” global-warming promo he did with Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California Society of Plastic Surgeons), the fact that he did the spot speaks volumes. Tell you what, Mr. Speaker, you and Nancy go solve “it.” Let someone else handle the real issues.

It’s a bit early for me to offer an endorsement in the GOP’s 2012 horse race. Also, no one actually asked me. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m still mildly depressed that neither former Representative Tom Tancredo (R-really not Mexico) nor Governor Chris Christie (R-Joisey) came out of the gate this time around. But there are some roses among the candidate thorns. Herman Cain continues to impress me, although evidently he dents Bob Schieffer’s memory less deeply. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-liberal nightmares) has proven herself early on to be a candidate to watch, and her Tea Party Caucus leadership bespeaks the kind of sound conservative thinking the Nation desperately needs. As an added bonus, she makes liberals do that spit-when-they-talk thing; that always gives me a chuckle. Now, if someone could just get her to stop mistaking the Duke and the Killer Clown, she could really open for business.

Governor Sarah Palin (R-the Grizzly Den) has that same effect on liberals, and she may well be the most unfairly maligned political figure in recent memory. But sometimes, I can’t tell if Palin’s kidding. Of course, I keep hoping that Obama has been kidding for the past few years. And then, there’s Representative Ron Paul (R-Grassroots America). I know I am going to suffer a few slings and arrows (again) from his rather… er… spirited supporters, but I don’t see a President when I see Ron Paul. I see the economics professor I wish Obama had had in college instead of whichever Keynesian moron he listened to. I sincerely hope the Republican who wins in 2012 names Paul Secretary of the Treasury to replace Secretary “Turbo-tax™” Geithner. Paul may oppose punitive and overly Byzantine taxes, but at least we know he pays them.

The 2012 Presidential campaign has a long way to go. In the meantime, it’s a jungle out there, kids. Let’s not mistake the RINOs for the elephants.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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