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PARISI: RINO treachery
Moderate Republicans have a history of slaying their own
• Sen. James “Judas” Jeffords, Vermont RINO, in May 2001, just six months after winning re-election as a Republican, struck a deal with then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, switching to independent but caucusing with Democrats, in effect handing control of an evenly divided Senate to the Democrats.
• Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia RINO, in 1994 endorsed Marshall Coleman, a Republican-turned-independent, over Oliver North, who lost his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Charles S. Robb 46 percent to 43 percent, with Mr. Coleman getting 11 percent.
• When Mr. Chafee — who had survived a strong conservative challenge in the Republican primary — lost his re-election bid in November 2006, he was asked by the Associated Press whether he felt that his loss might have helped the country by tipping control of power in the Senate to the Democrats. He replied: “To be honest, yes.” Mr. Chafee is now running a third-party bid for governor of Rhode Island. It would be karma indeed if his candidacy tipped the race to the Republican nominee.
• Former Rep. Joe Scarborough of Florida was a solid conservative while in the House, but now, as a talk-show host on liberal MSNBC, he appears to have fallen victim to Stockholm syndrome and regularly trashes conservatives.
• The week before last, former Sen. Al D’Amato, New York RINO, joined two former New York Democratic officeholders in trashing that state’s Tea Party-backed Republican gubernatorial nominee, Carl Palladino. “[Palladino] is dangerous; at the least, he is mean-spirited, and he tries to divide people.” Mr. D’Amato told WCBS Radio. Mr.Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, fired back that the three men were career politicians who only wanted to preserve their insider access. “You would expect that kind of rhetoric from pigs whose heads are being pulled from the trough,” Mr. Caputo said, not putting too fine a point on it.
At the root of it, RINOs are part of a bipartisan political clique that Angelo M. Codevilla, in a lengthy piece in the American Spectator in July, dubbed “the ruling class,” which views elective office as an entitlement program of their own, for which Tea Party types like Ms. O'Donnell and her counterpart in Nevada, Sharron Angle - “the country class” - need not apply.
If Mr. Obama and the Democrats’ mantra this election cycle is that the Republicans drove the economy into the ditch, it could be more easily argued that Senate RINOs have ridden shotgun as the 60th votes as the Obama agenda has driven the economy off the cliff, a la “Thelma & Louise.”
I recently challenged a RINO-defending Republican friend of mine who lives in Florida and is inexplicably infatuated with Mr. Crist to come up with a single comparable example, other than Mr. DeMint, of conservative treachery toward RINOs. The best she could do was to hearken back to 1962, claiming that Richard Nixon blamed California conservatives’ sitting on their hands for his losing the governorship that year. Note that she had to go back a half-century for a single example.
Similarly, if there are any examples of Democrats cannibalizing their own, they don’t readily spring to mind. The closest parallel might be Mr. Lieberman’s re-election bid in 2006 in Connecticut. Thrown overboard in the primary in favor of a left-wing insurgent, Mr. Lieberman ran as an independent and won — and was quickly welcomed back into the Senate Democratic caucus. The far left fielded a challenger to Sen. Blanche Lincoln this year, but she prevailed in the Arkansas Democratic primary, and I’m unaware of any big-name Democrats backing her Republican opponent.
In short, Democrats never, ever back-stab members of their own party — at least not publicly — the way RINOs do. Karl Rove would do well to take note.
• Peter Parisi is an editor for The Washington Times. E-mail him at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
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