Thursday, December 07, 2006

An endangered species

The RINO alert

The American Conservative Union is angry that John Bolton—a great statesman in their rheumy eyes—was denied confirmation by the U.S. Senate in the final days of the unlamented 109th Congress. Bolton's fate was naturally sealed by the Democratic sweep of both houses of congress in the November election, but the ACU has its own idiosyncratic take on the meaning of the rout of the Republicans. The electorate, you see, is champing at the bit for more ... conservatism. Here's how the ACU put it in a recent missive to its e-mail distribution list:
Republicans in the U.S. Senate could have—SHOULD HAVE—confirmed John Bolton! They had the majority in the Senate and a majority of Senators supported John Bolton.

Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Republicans could have played hard-ball. They had the power to bring the nomination out of committee and to the Senate floor, where Bolton would have been easily confirmed.

Yet they did NOTHING. They cringed behind their desks, determined to sneak out of Washington this week, tails between their legs!

Last month, the American people went to the polls, turned about two dozen RINOs OUT OF office and DEMANDED conservative government! And unfortunately in the process, the GOP lost its majority and a few good men like Rick Santorum, Jim Talent and George Allen.

But apparently our leaders did not get the message!

Days ago, both parties held leadership elections. The GOP had a chance to infuse some new blood into the leadership—THEY DIDN'T

Apparently our leaders did not get the message!

Our leaders had yet another opportunity to show us they had the right stuff. They could have put RINOs like lame-duck Lincoln Chafee in their place and force a fair up-or-down vote on the Bolton nomination—THEY FAILED TO ACT!

Apparently our leaders did not get the message!

The people supposedly want right-wing government because they kicked out the RINOs, who are now on the verge of extinction. A “RINO”—in case you didn't know—is a term from the conservative lexicon that stands for “Republican In Name Only.” Lincoln Chafee, the recently defeated Republican senator from Rhode Island, might be considered the epitome of a RINO, especially in the eyes of rock-ribbed conservatives who disdain their party's moderates. In their view, a true member of the GOP must be a right-winger.

There are obviously certain small problems with the ACU narrative explaining the meaning of the November election. The Democrats who replaced the defeated Republicans were uniformly less conservative (dare I say it?—more liberal) than their vanquished rivals. Even the ACU has to trim its sails while admitting that the blue wave washed away such reactionary stalwarts as Santorum and Allen. These are strong counterexamples to the thesis that American voters were asking for anything like conservatism.


Anonymous said...

Zeno, I agree with your critique of ACU’s interpretation of the ’06 elections, but you've missed something. The ACU presents a most convincing, if ultimately flawed, argument that quite frankly betters the best efforts of Socrates, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Kennedy. I count seven exclamation points. Most rhetoricians agree that five exclamation points is enough to convince most people of anything.


Zeno said...

Thank you for your observation, PiD. Now I feel bad that I didn't post the entire e-mail message from ACU. There were several more exclamation points! (And more free use of ALL CAPS.) It was just that I feared how persuasive it might be if I presented it in its full exclamatory glory. I couldn't risk exposing my sensitive readers to such vile but seductive propaganda.

I'll give them this, though: The ACU never descended to the use of multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence. Thank goodness!!