2008 Presidential Politics And RINO Pipedreams
©2007 Christopher G. Adamo
It was a weekend of shameless pandering. In Selma Alabama, the forty-second anniversary of the famous voting rights march was commemorated in a most ignoble manner. Pandering shamelessly, Democrat presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attempted to relate to largely black church congregations by speaking with what they obviously hoped would be interpreted as convincing southern drawls.
In the end, they came off sounding like second-rate impersonations of Foghorn Leghorn and Aunt Jemima respectively. Such transparent posturing proves that the speakers regard their audiences as ignorant and backward chattel, who are easily impressed by a little effort at forced “down home” talk.
Fortunately for Clinton and Obama, their latest antics, while generating a good deal of dismay and disgust among their political opposition, are not likely to exact any political cost from the liberal base. Liberalism is what it is, and few if any among the “faithful” are really surprised by it.
Those on the left know full well that their presumed leaders are not genuine, nor are they ever expected to be. Rather, they need merely to toe the party line and, when in a position to do so, dole out pork barrel “goodies” to their favored constituencies. Even in the all-too-common situation where they are required to support disparate and competing causes, the end result will be satisfaction of both constituencies, if they are provided their desired portions from the public trough.
Thus, aside from occasional issues such as the Iraq War in which leftists do indeed subscribe to an ideological agenda, all other topics and concerns can be effectively addressed monetarily. And with the annual federal budget soon to top three trillion dollars, the nation’s coffers contain plenty of money to go around.
But across the aisle on the Republican side, fundamental differences in the workings of the Party render it completely counterproductive to try to mimic the Democrats. As a result, Republican “moderates” (read: liberals) look longingly at their Democrat counterparts, wishing always that they could reform the GOP into an insipid likeness of them. Sadly, the “moderate” wing of the Republican Party currently finds itself in a position where it believes it can accomplish just that.
In reality however, it will have no more success this time around than it ever has. For in stark contrast to the Democrats, the bulk of the Republican base is comprised of individuals who are driven by a guiding philosophy that had been derived from a set of principles. And, those principles are ultimately much higher and more immutable than any party platform.
Worse yet from the perspective of the RINO crowd, true conservatives scorn the very nature of governmental handouts by which Democrat constituencies are bought off and their leaders empowered. Thus are “moderates” deprived of the sort of inducements that might lure individuals at the grassroots into compromise with the Party elite. These circumstances present GOP “moderates” with a particular dilemma going into the next presidential election.
It is incredible that, out of an inordinate fear of Hillary, Republicans are attempting in vain to rally around John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Guiliani, three presumed “frontrunners” even though the first primary is almost a year in the future.
Despite fervent efforts to put a positive “spin” on this abysmal situation, none of the three can lay claim to a past performance that is even remotely “conservative.” In fact, their track records all reflect nothing short of an ardent and enduring disdain for conservative principles. The lack of a true conservative among the currently anointed Republican “frontrunners” means that each must work to portray himself as the rightful bearer of Ronald Reagan’s torch.
As a sad counterpart to the charade at Selma, the other episode of shameless pandering this past weekend takes on a much greater significance than that of Hillary or Obama.
For while those Democrat presidential wannabes were attempting to court the black vote by relishing the glory days of the civil rights movement in the South, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington presented Republican Presidential hopefuls with an opportunity to do their own tap-dancing and conservative impersonations for those on the right.
John McCain was a “no show” at the conference, to nobody’s real surprise. Mitt Romney “talked the conservative talk” rather admirably, considering that such rhetoric constitutes a complete departure from his governing actions of even the very recent past.
Worse yet is Rudy Guiliani, whose defenders attempted to laud as a far better choice for conservatives on the ludicrous grounds of his frank “honesty” when expressing his unwavering devotion to a flaming liberal ideology. Out of this, we are happily promised the appointment of pro-constitution judges.
Some speakers, such as former Virginia Governor James Gilmore, enthusiastically trumpeted their conservative pedigree, and their proven loyalty to the conservative agenda on all fronts. Yet they currently lag in the crucial areas of fundraising and name recognition.
With the primaries looming, the hurdles facing candidates such as Gilmore are admittedly great. Yet he represents a burgeoning dissatisfaction among real conservatives at the grassroots who feel disenchanted over the possibility that the Republican ticket has already been predetermined for them.
Nevertheless, many within the RINO camp are hopeful that the CPAC spotlight, along with the South Carolina straw poll, will sufficiently cement the leads of the three presumed “frontrunners,” thus ensuring that the party must move to the political “center” in order to accommodate its prospective leader.
Sadly, the election of McCain, Romney, or Guiliani might indeed serve as capstone of this effort. But any jubilation over such a victory would be short lived. For even in the unlikely event that they prevail in the short term, they will deal a setback to Reagan conservatism of unfathomable proportions.
Attempts at broadening Republican Party appeal among northeastern liberals by abandoning or diluting its core conservative principles have never worked, and never will. A party-wide move to the political center is a move towards irrelevancy.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and the former editor of "The Wyoming Christian," state newsletter for Christian Coalition of Wyoming. Chris is also a member of the Wyoming Republican Central Committee. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and resides in Wyoming. Archives of his articles are available at www.chrisadamo.com .