Conservatives have tried defining RINOs the past couple of election cycles without much success. While conservatives wouldn’t argue that Chuckie Hagel or Linc Chaffee are RINOs, plenty of conservatives would argue about others who’ve been tagged with that label.

I don’t know of any GOP activists who’d say that Tom Emmer, Laura Brod or Mark Buesgens are RINOs. Nonetheless, some hardline conservatives haven’t hesitated in calling Mike Beard and Steve Gottwalt RINOs. I find that type of namecalling totally assinine.

This ast session, both men voted against each of the DFL’s tax increases, then voted to sustain Gov. Pawlenty’s vetoes of those tax increases. Both men have voted for and/or proposed market-based health care reforms. Both men voted against the DFL’s original set of irresponsible omnibus spending bills, then voted to sustain Gov. Pawlenty’s vetoes of those irresponsible spending bills.

Sue Jeffers is the quintessential portrait of a hardline ‘RINOhunter’. This week, she accused Rep. Gottwalt of being a RINO because he voted for the smoking ban. I’ve told Steve that I didn’t agree with him on that vote. I also told Steve that that wouldn’t prevent me from enthusiastically supporting his re-election campaign.

Sue Jeffers hasn’t bothered letting facts get in the way of her opinions. That’s why it’s easy for people like Ms. Jeffers to throw around the RINO tag. It’s also why it’s easy for people like Jason Lewis to call Norm Coleman and Dave Senjem elitists for not supporting a convicted criminal’s Senate campaign. What’s tragic about Lewis’ diatribe is that he chose to ignore the fact that Alison Krueger defeated Mark Olson in the SD-16 primary.

When Lewis ignored the will of the people in SD-16, he became the elitist. When Ms. Jeffers ignored the conservative, market-based policies that Steve Gottwalt advocated and instead focused on a single vote, Ms. Jeffers’ credibility disappeared.

It’s time that thinking conservatives ignored the hyperbolic rants of hardliners like Ms. Jeffers and Mr. Lewis until they start consistently thinking things through.

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7 Responses to “Hunting RINOhunters”

  • Brad S says:

    Jason Lewis, at some point in the next 4-6 years, is going to have to “put up or shut up.” Especially if he’s considering going for a Senate run against either Klobuchar or Franken. This means being significantly more willing to support fellow GOPers that would do anything to support a celebrity candidacy like Jason’s would be.

    Put down the RINO bazookas, folks. You can’t afford to do that right now.

  • J. Ewing says:

    The term “Republican in Name Only” ought to be only of passing interest. In my opinion, anyone willing to call THEMSELVES a Republican deserves all the support that other Republicans can give, especially if they are willing to suffer the outrageous assault the Democrats give any Republican running for office. The only people who are /objectionably/ Republicans in Name Only are those who call themselves conservative first and Republicans second. There is a conservative party, if that’s what you want to call yourself. If you want to be a Republican, then quit sniping at the rest of us.

    Now, after they take office, we ought to expect them to agree with republican principles and policies (like the rest of the party) more often than not. And we ought to do more than just call them names during campaign season. If you didn’t tell them what you wanted all through the session, what did you expect them to do? It’s your fault!

  • eric z says:

    Two thoughts – I think that pejorative view has been expressed against Mike Huckabee, and I wonder how that fits the post. Second, the Dems have had to deal with Lieberman and his choices. He votes with them on organizing. It is the same with Oberstar – quite close to “moderate” Republican in ways, but voting with the Dems on organizing. And less a gadfly than Lieberman, clearly.

    But Lieberman and Huckabee – any thoughts, Gary?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, there’s a huge difference between Sen. Lieberman & Gov. Huckabee. Sen. Lieberman votes with Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer & Hillary Clinton the vast, vast majority of the time. His lone ‘sin’ against liberalism was that he was pro-victory in Iraq. He was solidly in the mainstream of the Democratic party on education, global warming, taxes & health care reform.

    When he was governor, Huckabee CHEERFULLY raised taxes, supported sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants, thought that the underlying principles behind Reaganite conservatism were antiquated & spent like a Washington politician.

    The most accurate description of Gov. Huckabee is that he’s a pro-life socialist. That’s hardly in step with GOP activists.

  • J. Ewing says:

    You’ve given several good reasons why Huckabee should not have been the nominee for President. But similar things can and have been said about McCain, and he was the nominee. I didn’t vote for Huckabee in the caucuses, but I did vote for McCain in the general. Had Huckabee won the nomination, I would have voted for him. In short, any Republican is better than any Democrat, if only as a “place holder” until we can find a better Republican to put in their stead. As Vince Lombardi said, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

  • Tom says:

    May I suggest that while I would not call Representative Buesgens a “RINO” (whatever that may mean to whoever is defining the term), what concerns me more is the effectiveness of his representation as I am one of his constituents. For example, for his term 2007-8, he chief authored 14 pieces of legislation and did not have a single hearing on any of the proposed legislation. And as a conservative, I have great philosophical trouble in accepting his efforts to expand gambling in our county — or for that matter anywhere in the state of Minnesota.
    In regard to J. Ewings contribution, I have found that there is a Republican Party that has a platform that all “conservatives” may not be able to support each position (like no expansion to gambling!) yet they should not feel that they cannot compete for the votes of party delegates; nor should the party impede the ability of any interested public service minded person to present himself or herself to a political party seeking to represent the constituency affected.

  • “May I suggest that while I would not call Representative Buesgens a “RINO” …”

    You say you are not going to call him a RINO and yet you bring him into a discussion on “RINO”s…To put Mark Buesgens (of all people) in the same paragraph as RINO is laughable in and of itself. I don’t think that there is ANYONE in this state on either side of the aisle who would call Mark a RINO – except you Tom.

    To get this back to the discussion at hand, there is a time and a place for “RINO hunting” and that is NOW. Until we get endorsements in hand we are fine to have these discussion, but after endorsements we have to start thinking strategically if we are EVER going to take the House back.


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