It's time to go RINO hunting

Posted: Jun 07, 2006 12:05 PM
The split in the majority party between conservatives and RINOs – Republicans in Name Only – first became apparent during last year’s debate over proposals to restructure the Social Security program. The chasm has only deepened this session in debates and votes in Congress on immigration, tax policy, spending and judicial nominees. Whether we agree or not with all aspects of President Bush’s agenda, we at least know his positions. Conversely, Congressional Republicans are like a lost ship adrift at sea with no captain or compass.

President Bush’s policy agenda focuses primarily on the following five key issues: ensuring our national security, strengthening the economy, restructuring Social Security, approving spending increases on seemingly every government program and budget request, and enacting a so-called “comprehensive” immigration policy. That policy ultimately provides amnesty for illegal aliens, although the president, RINOs and Democrats deny it.

The Republicans’ agenda in Congress is much harder to determine. When Republicans seized majority status just 12 years ago, they were united by the principles contained in the Contract with America and guided by the leadership of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. When Gingrich left Congress, the rudder fell off the Republican ship. Today, it may be easier to predict what the first Martian who lands on Earth will order for breakfast than the Congressional Republicans’ policy agenda.

For example, the Senate recently voted 62-36 to pass the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.” Twenty-three RINOs joined 38 Democrats and one Independent in support of the legislation. Five of those RINOs are oft-mentioned presidential wannabes, including Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). What message does it send to the Republican Party’s base when their Senate Majority Leader votes with 38 Democrats in support of a seriously flawed immigration reform bill? And just like the runaway costs of the misguided prescription drug bill, the senators have no idea what this bill will cost us in increased taxes and compromises to national security.

The message is clear. They take our votes for granted, and are trying to gain favor with those who are not even legal voting citizens yet, if ever.

President Bush last month signed the “Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act,” a bill that will surely continue our strong and growing economy. Unfortunately, Congress missed a rare opportunity to enact landmark tax policy change. The bill only extends by two years the 15 percent tax rate on dividends and capital gains, and lifts for an additional year the Alternative Minimum Tax burden on middle-income families. Congress failed to lessen or completely eliminate the taxes on incomes, dividends, capital gains, estates or businesses. If a Democrat or RINO becomes president, we may not see significant tax policy change for generations, and we may never again see an economy this strong.

One reason Democrats and RINOs are aligned on so many issues is that the RINOs – especially those likely to run for president in 2008 – want to control the Republican Party and the policy agenda. They will move the party to the ideological left – and even risk losing majority status – to achieve their goals. The Democrats and RINOs see conservatives as the enemy, and all voters as pawns in a political chess game. Maybe the RINOs were never Republicans at all. They run as Republicans to get elected, then ignore the voters until the next election.

We can no longer look at the world of politics as merely a war between Republicans and Democrats. Ideological factions of growing size and influence exist within each party. It is these factions that are trying to determine the direction of policy for the foreseeable future.

Conservative and Republican voters must raise their collective voices to stop the RINO stampede and this “love fest” with liberal Democrats. First, we must continue to contact our members of Congress and the White House to let them know we are watching their votes and actions. Phone, email or fax your House representative and senators. Let them know where you stand on the common sense House immigration bill, and the key economic issues identified by the president.

Second, get involved in primary races. Primaries are often the only opportunity to determine the party’s candidate in states and districts where the Republican nominee is virtually guaranteed victory in the general election. Find conservatives to challenge RINO incumbents in the primary and work to help them get elected. You may not receive support from the local or state party apparatus, but you may more than make up for that with the voices of grassroots support.

A clear line of demarcation runs through the ranks of Republicans in Congress, threatening our ability to ever enact real solutions to our biggest problems. It’s time to go RINO hunting.

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