The Musings of

Something full of magic, religion, bullsh*t.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Reclaiming the High Ground: How I Got This Way

RINOs. Republicans in Name Only. I can't remember when I first heard that acronym. I remember I was in New Hampshire, but actually tracking down the year I was there would require me tracking backwards through the states, the campaigns, and the legislative sessions. Whenever. It was a brilliant idea. It finally allowed Conservatives to pin a tail on the Republican donkeys.

Who are RINOs? Well, generally they are politician who self identify as "Republican," but who are more than willing to ignore the party platform in the name of expediency. They are the ones who, faced with a choice to the right and one to the left will generally take the greater of two evils. They believe in regulation, as long as it's good regulation; who believe that Social Conservatives are, well, extreme; they are those who believe that they can actually legislate answers to problems because they are smart.

Like obscenity, you know them when you see them. For me it all came clear one day sitting in a committee room in one of the House office buildings. I wasn't even supposed to be there. I was a STATE legislative guy, but our congressional lobbyist had a tummy ache, so I had to haul my happy ass over to Ego Central to attend an oversight hearing dealing with the unions. I don't remember much about the hearing other than one exchange. Then-Congressman Snowbarger (R-KS) got into a sniping match with Rep. Bernie Sanders (CCCP-VT). Silly Sanders suggested that he was looking forward to introducing legislation repealing the law that allowed states to pass Right to Work laws.

Not many people pay close attention to Right to Work laws because, well, they're not sexy. They are, however, what I refer to as "bellwether" laws -- laws that separate the Conservatives from the tools of the union bosses. Simply put, Right to Work laws state that no worker can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment. What could be more Republican than that???

Anyway, Snowbarger shoots back that he hoped Mr. Sanders would continue to pay homage to the union bosses because it only meant that more business would be fleeing Volvo Country for the freedom of Kansas. This, of course, got old whackjob Sanders all hot an bothered, but to the bored citizen stuck in the uncomfortable committee room seats, it was all good.

It was then that my epiphany took place. Rep. Christopher Shays (douche "R"-CT) was chairing the hearing, and he took the opportunity to cut in with his limp-wristed Yankee whine he addressed the assembled masses, and here's what he said:
Ladies and gentlemen, sometimes I think that politicians on each side get a little strident in their views on issues such as this. Our Democratic friends have traditional relationships with the unions, so they tend to see how things affect their union constituents, while the Republicans tend to have developed relationships with business and look at things from that point of view. The answer, I believe, lies in the middle. I will now suck my thumb.
OK, so I am paraphrasing. My first thought was, "Oh my God. This guy actually calls himself a Republican." My second thought was, "Oh my God. I am a Republican! What if people actually think I have something in common with this bowl of cold soup? I will never get a date!" THAT was the moment that I used the beautiful transitive property to do a little math. It looked something like this:
Rep. Shays = GOP; Rep. Shays = Tool; therefore, GOP = Tool. Or at leastSome of the GOP = Tool, and that's enough for me.
This was my tipping point. I went home, called my family and a few friends and came out of the closet -- "I . . . am an Independent." It has gotten much easier to say over the years. Now I just tell people I'm a "flaming Conservative nut." What's funny is I always get the same response from people who know me, but don't know my politics: "No you're not! You're very rational." Ah, but it's all a ruse.

Of course, that still doesn't explaing why RINOs are evil, does it? Wow, this is getting to be like LOST -- a lot of story, but there don't appear to be any answers. Those must me . . . later.
Centinel 9:23 PM #


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