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January 27, 2010

Sarah Palin and RINO-ization by Association

More from the litmus test crowd.

Sorry guys, but I continue to find this line of "reasoning" problematic on a number of levels.

Posted by Cassandra at January 27, 2010 10:54 AM

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What is it about this woman that makes everyone want to insist she's either a villain or a saint? (That's directed at your link, C, not at you.) I myself consider McCain a RINO, and I'm a little sorry she's supporting him, but I'm sure she has reasons that seem good to her, including loyalty, gratitude, and personal friendship. I never expected to agree with her on everything.

Given a choice between McCain and a real conservative, I'd almost always back the real conservative. McCain is someone I support only when he's running against the left wing. Does that make me a victim of "purity politics"? I think it just makes me someone who supports the closest candidate I can find to my own views.

There are primaries, and then there are general elections. Even in primaries, I may support someone who seems to have a much better chance in the general election over someone who exactly agrees with me, but that strategy can backfire and give us senators like Snowe, Collins, and Specter, who may or may not do more harm than good in the long run. It's a crapshoot, electing a wobbly Republican when you might have succeeded with the more conservative candidate you were afraid to take a chance on.

Scott Brown is probably a RINO. If he were running against Jim DeMint, I'd vote for DeMint. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to see him beat Coakley.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 27, 2010 11:15 AM

Given a choice between McCain and a real conservative, I'd almost always back the real conservative. McCain is someone I support only when he's running against the left wing. Does that make me a victim of "purity politics"? I think it just makes me someone who supports the closest candidate I can find to my own views.

That's entirely reasonable to me.

What I think is funny is the "RINO-ization by association". Who knew it was contagious? :p

Posted by: Kurt Cobain at January 27, 2010 11:21 AM

Well, apparently she's only three steps from that Ned Lamont character. McCain, Leiberman, Lamont. I mean, how close can you get?

Posted by: Grim at January 27, 2010 11:29 AM


Posted by: Cassandra at January 27, 2010 12:56 PM

I continue to find this...problematic on a number of levels.

Not the least of which is that tacky chocolate-sepia rendition of the flag on TP's masthead.

*masterfully restraining self from elucidating the blatantly obvious connection*

Posted by: BillT at January 27, 2010 01:18 PM

Well, for me there's not much to choose between supporting non-conservative ideas and supporting a RINO. Either way, if what people wanted from you was an uncompromising conservative outlook, you've disappointed them. So in that sense, of course RINO-ism is contagious. All we're talking about is what basket of ideas someone espouses. If too many eggs in the basket are rotten, we're going to say this person is not in the camp we prefer.

If there's anything wrong with rabid anti-RINOism, it should be that the "Republican" outlook is flawed and some of its planks would be better replaced with other planks (more left, more libertarian, more fresh, more practical, more compassionate, whatever). For people who believe that the Republican platform is almost uniformly correct, why should we be surprised if they object to any candidate that strays from that platform? Especially if they believe they have available candidates who have not strayed and who have a good chance to win?

Posted by: Texan99 at January 27, 2010 01:20 PM

Republican is not necessarily 'conservative', and a 'conservative' is not necessarily a Republican.

One is a political party, the other a philosophy or personal outlook.

The Republican Party was originally founded as a party of Federal Nationalists, as opposed to the Democratic Party of the 1850's, which was at that time primarily a party of sectional interest and factionalism.
In the 1850's and 1860's, the Republicans were very much a party of the Transcontinental railroad, which in certain analysis could be seen as corporatist or socialist. Conservative or Liberal, or progressive??
Some of the Republicans in the time of Reconstruction (1866 - 1878) favored women's suffrage, and frankly women's suffrage occurred first in the West, in primarily Republican states (such as Wyoming and Montana). Conservative, Liberal or Progressive??

Up through the New Deal and the Great Society, the Democrats continued to be a party of factionalism. Sectional interest in the US has somewhat faded in the present (as opposed to ante-bellum America), as a result of the conclusion of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Westward expansion and the resulting World Wars we have been in.

So McCain, in my mind, is very much a Republican, and not a RINO, as it were. He is just not as conservative as some would wish. He is very much a nationalist, and does not particularly appeal to the factional interests, as opposed to Obama, who raises the specter of the class war every time he opens his big yap.

My single biggest disapointment with McCain was Campaign Finance Reform (re: McCain - Feingold), because time has now shown us that it abridged free speech (political speech), which betrays basic Constitutional principles.
Being friends and willing to compromise with Joe Lieberman on certain issues does not a RINO make.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 27, 2010 01:41 PM

Exactly -- so we conservatives would be more accurate to complain about CINOs. But the fact remains that there's a legitimate reason to be upset with someone who holds himself out as a member of a particular movement but breaks ranks with it. I totally take your point that to call a non-conservative a RINO is to be presumptious about how "true" Republicanism necessarily equates to conservatism.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 27, 2010 03:53 PM

Yeah, I'm a little disappointed in her, but come on, let's have a little reality check here. What's she gonna do? Stab McCain in the back? Not gonna happen.

Can you imagine the headline?

Palin BiPolar Disorder: McCain for President - Good, McCain for Senate - Bad!

Politically she has no other choice.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 27, 2010 05:59 PM

"The personal attacks against me during the primary finally became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: 'Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.' It's a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since." -Ronald Reagan, discussing his political campaign for Governor of California, in 1966.

So there's that, too.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 27, 2010 07:12 PM

I would surmise that it boils down to personal loyalty; nothing more, nothing less...

Posted by: camojack at January 28, 2010 03:41 AM

When I look over the array of elected republicans I see more who would be considered RINOs than not. As Ron Paul said during the 08 primary season, the Republican party has lost its way. After all, it was they who gave us the prescription drug plan, No Child Left Behind, and a huge deficit. It was they who said they had to violate the free market in order to save it. Perhaps the term should be reversed, and that its the truly conservative pols who are the RINOs, because the bulk of the elected republicans don't seem conservative at all.

Posted by: Glen at January 28, 2010 11:59 AM

I don't think we're all using the word "conservative" to mean the same thing. For me, if the Republican Party isn't about conservatism, then I've lost track of what it's about. But that could be because by "conservatism" I mean a bunch of small-government stuff. Others may view conservatism as including a lot of anti-libertarian "social conservative" prescriptions that they're not comfortable with. I get that, because although I'm privately very conservative socially in most ways, I don't think the government has a legitimate role in every single one of those areas. Or they may mean a particular national defense outlook, typically hawkish.

I guess I see conservative politics as ones in which the government is minimized within reason, and very little taxpayer-funded effort is expended to rescue people from the results of their own choices. By that standard, not very many elected Republicans are conservative under pressure. They just tend to be considerably more conservative than Democrats under pressure.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 28, 2010 05:27 PM

My comment is tangential to the discussion, but still, I think, germane.

I lived in Alaska for 2-1/2 years in the late '80s, and spent a lot of time in Wasilla looking for a house. The place had potential and some nice places around the lakes, but a lot of it was a bit of a dump. Had a Carr's (grocery store), a McDonald's, Spenard Builder's Supply (an Alaskan company) and a few restaurants and local stores. It was typically Alaskan, though. Some nice neighborhoods, right next to real blight. Alaskans hate zoning laws.

There are some very strange people who migrate to Alaska - the sort who settle on acres of land along the Old Glenn Highway, with the most spectacular scenic beauty surrounding them on every side, but they build a hut out of old ammo boxes, put up a crappy barbed-wire fence, leave seven junked and rusting cars right by the road, and put up a sign that says "Trespassers Will Be Shot". And they mean it.

Into this town and mindset comes Sarah Palin, Mayor. She believed there could be growth and improvement of land use, and especially, that you could build without leaving ugly blight right by the highway. She improved the roads in the Mat-Su Valley, and put in a great interchange that made getting to Wasilla a less harrowing experience.

I was there a few weeks ago, and my best friend, who served on a board with Palin a while back, showed me all that Palin had done for Wasilla. Without enacting zoning laws, she listened to people's concerns, and convinced them that building nice shopping centers and controlling blight was in the interest of Wasilla's growth and future. She brought Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, WalMart, Chili's, Applebee's, Office Depot and many more chains from the Lower 48 to town. My friend lamented that during the presidential campaign the MSM wanted to speak only of her pregnant daughter and call her an airhead and a lightweight, but refused to highlight the massive changes she made to Wasilla. I gotta tell you, the change is remarkable and impressive, and it was done, according to my friend, by persuasion and compromise. The change to Wasilla is so remarkable and successful, that beyond the Wasilla city limits, her ideas about keeping blight away from the main roads is being adopted as the area grows and the small burgs grow together, now in a more orderly fashion.

My friend took me to see her house, and it's just a house on a street with neighbors directly next to and behind her. The only thing that has changed is they had to put up a fence. My friend said Todd and the family built the house themselves. When you see her interviewed at home, and they go outside, it appears that they own all of Lake Lucille and have about 15 acres, but that is just skillful choice of camera angles. It's a house on a street.

I don't know if she should be hung in effigy for supporting a RINO, but I know what Alaska looked like before and after Sarah Palin, Mayor. As my friend said, she's the real deal. She's as good as her word, and she's probably loyal to John McCain, even though John McCain could have supported her (IMHO) after the election by speaking in support of her when his campaign crew was trashing her.

She's also much more petite than you expect. We were boarding in Salt Lake for Anchorage, in cattle class, and a woman walked by who looked so much like her it was remarkable. Then the guy who followed her looked so much like Todd that I finally figured out they were on our flight. This was the day of her Glenn Beck interview. When I saw it later, I recognized the boots she was wearing when she boarded. Didn't get to thank her, unfortunately.

Posted by: MathMom at February 2, 2010 08:07 PM


"Persuasion and cooperation" are how most things get done in a world where people have competing interests.

I have no use for folks who expect that their side should always prevail and no one who disagrees with them should *ever* get anything they want. Who in their right mind would live under such a government if you're on the "losing" side all the time?

It's a sad, sad day when we judge people - not by their own beliefs and actions - but by some derivative formula that essentially penalizes them for seeking common interest with anyone who isn't "pure".

re: McCain, I think Don has it about right. People lose sight of the big picture.

I don't even know what to say about it all anymore.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 2, 2010 08:22 PM


I wasn't trying to take anything away from Palin and what she did for Wasilla. I was trying to say how very important I believe that ability to be, and how much we need it.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 2, 2010 08:23 PM

I understood, but thanks for the clarification.

Posted by: MathMom at February 3, 2010 09:26 PM