You, dear reader, you and I are the RINOs.
We can now stop calling the crony capitalists and their legislative puppets RINO. They are the TRUE Republicans. It’s their party; a lobbyist bought it for them, not for us. They own it. We are the impostors, the fakes, the interlopers into an intimate mating dance between the masters of manipulation and the TBTF banks and corporate overlords.
Step back. Take a breath.
We Had It Backwards
I understand why you think the Roy Blunts and Thad Cochrans of the world are the impostors. I used to think so, too. I read the Republican platform. I listened to the Republican speeches. I read the Republican position papers. And mostly I agreed.
Then I watched the Big Republican Names–the Establishment–go out day after day and do the opposite. Or, more often, the Big Republicans would slither between the carefully crafted text of its documents to a position that felt comfy and consistent. To them, at least.
Do you know what “is” is?
When I saw their inconsistencies–what others less charitable than I might call “hypocrisies”–I said, “Wait a minute. That’s not the Republican way! We don’t grant favors to donors. We don’t take one person’s property and give it to someone with more clout. We play referee and let the players decide the outcome of the game.”
But when I railed against Republican inconsistencies, I was forgetting an important lesson–a lesson I learned from my mom and dad and the Dominican Sisters at Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Grade School, God rest its soul. I forgot that words don’t matter. I forgot this most valuable lesson:
We are what we do consistently.
Yes, I believe in lex orandi, lex credendi: the law of praying [is] the law of believing. But it only works if we pray a lot and let the prayers work their magic. It doesn’t work if we pray with bad intent. We can stop the magic of prayer. And if we pray for two minutes a day and sin for 20 hours, we become the sin, not the prayer.
Identifying Marks of a Republican
So what do the Big Republicans do consistently? They grant favors for friends with power and money. Doing favors for powerful and rich friends is what it means to be Republican. It’s what they’ve become through consist behavior. A party exists to preserve and grow its own party, not to save the country.
That’s the whole issue in the Export-Import Bank case. Eric Cantor and his myrmidons in the House kept the Ex-Im alive to help their rich and powerful friends at Boeing and Caterpillar.
And it’s the issue with guys like Senator Cochran. Thad Cochran, every day, finds ways to take money from people in other states and give it to voters in Mississippi.
And then there’s the Missouri Republican legislators grant $800,000,000 in benefits to donors on the last day of the session.
True Republicans take from everybody and give to the rich and powerful. It’s not what they say; it’s what they do. (Tom Delay, anyone?)
We who work for the Tea Party and Campaign for Liberty and all the other groups who fight for level playing fields and the rule of law and Constitutional limits to power–we’re the weirdos. We’re deviants who violate the spirit of Republicanism.
Again, it’s an easy mistake to make. Many of us remember Reagan. Many of us studied Goldwater. We all read William F. Buckley. And we assume that Republicanism is what Reagan, Goldwater, and Buckley stood for. But it wasn’t.
Like us, Reagan, Goldwater, and Buckley were political deviants. They violated the spirit of Republican Party law. They may have influenced the party’s platform, but the platform is only words. The Party is the sum of its deeds, not the sum of its glittering generalities.
How to Change the Party: Leverage
Can we change the party? Sure. But it takes a long time. And we need leverage. And the party has to want to change.
We’ve tried using primaries as a lever, but that’s like David playing Goliath’s game. Primaries are what Republicans and Democrats do best. They invented the system, for God’s sake; do you really think you’ll beat them at their game? Hell, no.
Tea Party Inc. (FreedomWorks, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots) are good people and all, but they operate just like the Chamber of Commerce. They try to beat the Establishment at the Establishment’s game, and they get their asses kicked almost every time.
Maybe Reagan and Buckley could commandeer the party now and then, but Reagan and Buckley were kinds of geniuses. We’re not. At least, I’m sure as hell no genius.
We are Davids, and Davids fight a different game if they want to win. Davids don’t rush Goliath with a boastful yell. They find a new weapon, new tactics, new fields of battle. Or they repurpose old ones.
But There’s a New Dichotomy in Town
When I write about the new American political dichotomy, I’m writing about our slingshot. That slingshot is our lever.
Political party survival depends on having a large block of voters it can take for granted. People who vote for the party no matter what. People who lie say terrible things about the party and its leaders, then go out and vote for that party anyway.
For Democrats, it’s African-Americans. The Democrats can do or say anything and still get 90% of the black vote. Anything at all.
For Republicans, conservatives and conservitarians serve the role of sycophant. No matter how badly the GOP violates our principles, we’ll vote Republican because the Democrats are even worse.
A sycophant sucks up to someone in power to gain an advantage or favor. Conservatives, libertarians, and blacks have been sucking up to Republican and Democrat power for decades. Do we get favor? No. We get scraps, pats on the head, and kicks in the teeth.
But what if the sycophants de-sycophantify? What if the abused people of both parties say, “screw this?” What if the taken-for-granted plebeians wake up and realize that we have more in common with other plebeians than we have in common with either of the two Big Parties?
Then David fractures Goliath’s freakishly big skull with a rock, and Goliath collapses in a heap.
And then David better be prepared to run things well, because David will soon be king.
You can be a RINO or you can be David, but you can’t be a Republican. Not now, anyway. It’s a closed club.
Call me David.