- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2022

The Kentucky General Assembly on April 13 overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of a week earlier of a bill enacted by nearly 3-to-1 margins in both houses of the Republican-controlled legislature. The new law bars biological males from competing in girls’ and women’s sports from grade six through college in the Bluegrass State.
 
On April 28, the Kansas House of Representatives narrowly failed to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of similar legislation aimed at protecting girls and women’s athletics from inherently unfair competition from transgender “females.”
 
On June 6, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards opted not to veto legislation barring born-male transgender athletes from participating in girls’ and women’s sports, allowing it to become law on Aug. 1.
 
He did so despite vetoing similar legislation last year, with the legislature narrowly failing to override. “That bill was going to become law, regardless of what I did,” Mr. Edwards explained.
 
What do these three cases all have in common, apart from the governors’ unwillingness to protect girls and women from unfair athletic competition? Beshear, Kelly, and Edwards are all liberal Democrats elected as governors of conservative Republican states.
 
They also serve as Exhibits A, B, and C to refute the shallow, vapid argument advanced by former Reagan administration official Peter Wallison in an Aug. 27 column, “Why Democrats Don’t Cry ‘DINO,’” he wrote for the “never-Trump” National Review.
 
For the uninitiated, a “DINO” is a “Democrat in Name Only,” the partisan counterpoint to a “RINO,” the epithet “Republican in Name Only.” While “RINO” is a term of derision that’s arguably overused in intraparty GOP ideological skirmishing, the simple answer to Mr. Wallison’s rhetorical question about why Democrats don’t use the comparable pejorative is simply this: Because there are no “DINOs.”
 
Mr. Beshear’s, Mrs. Kelly’s and Mr. Edwards’ reflexive toeing of the Democratic Party line on transgender “rights,” despite serving as governors of red states, underscores the point. (Mrs. Kelly’s veto is likely to come back to bite her, because she’s up for re-election in November. Her GOP opponent, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, is rightly hitting her hard on the issue.)
 
All three governors are co-belligerents in Democrats’ radical war on (real) women. In fact, as far as we can tell, not so much as a single Democratic senator, congressman, or governor has criticized President Joe Biden’s disgraceful bid to impose the far left transgender agenda upon the nation’s public schools through threats to withhold federal funding for school lunch programs.
 
Ignoring all that, and instead citing the presence in Congress of Democratic representatives and senators from red states, such as Arizona and Montana, Mr. Wallison unpersuasively argues that “[t]he Democratic Party is at least as divided politically as the Republican Party, but we don’t hear Democrats routinely denounce one another as fakes.”
 
The second half of that sentence is true. The first half clearly is not.

Being from a red state, ipso facto, hardly makes Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona or Jon Tester of Montana “DINOs,” much less ideological apostates from liberal Democratic orthodoxy. (Ms. Sinema commendably opposes the far left’s call for abolishing the filibuster, but that’s the only high-profile issue we’re aware of where she doesn’t hew to the party line.)
 
That brings us, inexorably, to Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who Mr. Wallison cites as his (only) example of a Democrat who could have been disparaged by others in his party as a “DINO,” but hasn’t been.
 
Yes, Mr. Manchin held out against Mr. Biden’s $5 trillion Build Back Better boondoggle, but in the end, the West Virginian ultimately caved, enabling the pared-down $739 billion version to pass with the votes of all 48 Senate Democrats and the two nominal “independents” who caucus with them. None of them objected, not even to the provision that calls for the hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents.
 
The same 50—including the purportedly centrist Mr. Manchin—also voted in lockstep for the gun control bill in June and for the pork-barrel $550 billion infrastructure bill in August 2021. (By contrast, 15 GOP senators broke ranks and voted for the former, 19 for the latter.)
 
Nor has a single Senate Democrat voted against even one of Mr. Biden’s executive or judicial appointments, regardless of how far out of the mainstream they are—not even Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel (nee Richard) Levine.
 
If there ever were any, “DINOs,” like the centrist Blue Dog Democrats of the late 20th century, are now extinct. There are no House or Senate Democrats that come even remotely close to bucking the party line the way Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska do with regularity.
 
The Blue Dogs have been replaced by centipedes, who all march in leftist lockstep. That’s the real reason “why Democrats don’t cry ‘DINO.’”

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