Whatever comes of gridlock on Iraq and everything else, here's a rule of thumb: When the flak flies, don't jump into a foxhole with a Republican. Quite simply, Republicans are a menace, at least to other Republicans.
Take Mel Martinez, the Republican senator from Florida President Bush tapped to become Republican National Committee chairman. Best known for cheering on amnesty for illegals by the millions (i.e, for supporting President Bush's "comprehensive" immigration plan), Martinez marked his RNC nomination by baiting some large number of Republicans who would like to see the government secure the nation's borders instead. Equating what he called "border security only" with "harshness only," Martinez referred to Republican electoral losses and said: "It's not about bashing people; it's about presenting a hopeful face." Too bad it's not about presenting a "hopeful face" to all those Republicans Martinez was bashing.
Where can bashed Republicans go? The modern GOP is about as politically correct and prey to special interest groups as the Democratic Party. I say this following a shameful party purge in Florida. There, the state Republican Party, up to and including Gov. Jeb Bush, came down ton-of-bricks-like on two Hernando County Republicans who publicly decried Islam as a "hateful and frightening religion."
Actually, it was Mary Ann Hogan who used the language in a blistering, pre-election letter to Hernando Today complaining about county employees being used to ferry children's games to a mosque celebrating the end of Ramadan (a holiday, she noted, that "Muslims in Iraq" marked by killing more American soldiers than we had lost in a long time). When asked to apologize, her husband, County Commissioner Tom Hogan Sr., steadfastly echoed his wife's opinion: "Overall, worldwide, it certainly is," said Hogan, a founder of the county GOP. "Don't you read your own paper?"
Faster than you can say "Stalinist show trial," the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Gov. Bush to fire Hogan, whose term, as it happened, expired this week. I wish I could report that Gov. Bush, outraged, sent CAIR -- the Hamas-linked group, several of whose associates have been convicted or deported on terrorism-related charges -- packing. But he didn't. He condemned the couple, triggering a chain of condemnations from the state GOP chairman, the Republican gubernatorial candidate (now Gov.-elect Charlie Crist), and, of course, in the local media. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate condemned them, too, and Crist dropped Mrs. Hogan from his campaign organization, Women for Crist. When CAIR calls, the GOP jumps.
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