In Rinocracy.com, we generally avoid giddy optimism, but we may have gone slightly astray in our recent Special Bulletin titled “Surprise: Republicans May Know How to Govern After All.” On the positive side, the Senate did pass and send on to the House the Trade Promotion Authority as we had urged. On the other hand, the Senate has created yet another serio-comic drama over the NSA Metadata program. And it has again settled for kicking the can down the highway in funding the Highway Trust Fund. Continue reading
As anyone with even a casual interest in politics must be aware, Jeb Bush had a difficult time last week dealing with self-inflicted wounds on the delicate subject of the Iraq invasion. It is delicate, of course, because the war is widely regarded as a disaster and one for which his brother George bears major responsibility. The first wound was inflicted on Monday when Bush apparently misheard a question and indicated that, even knowing what we now know, he would have approved the invasion. That mistake could have been quickly repaired and soon forgotten, but on Tuesday and Wednesday Bush dug the hole a bit deeper by saying that he had misheard the earlier question but was now declining to answer a “hypothetical” question. Only on Thursday did Bush get it right: “Knowing what we know now, I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.” Continue reading
It is still early days, but there are some encouraging signs that Republican leaders in the Senate and House have found the ability to get things done—actually legislate—despite Democratic opposition and the Oozlums of the right gnawing at their ankles.
The first major milestone came two months ago when Republicans abandoned the quixotic attempt to block the President’s executive actions with respect to immigration. While we had disapproved of those actions, the response of holding up funding for Homeland Security seemed to us to make as much sense as treating a toothache by hitting yourself on the head with a hammer. Continue reading
The death of Freddie Gray and the ensuing riots became the perplexing kind of event for which the response to many, perhaps most, observations might be “Yes (or perhaps), but….” For example:
Did Gray’s death appear to indicate negligence or worse on the part of the police? Yes, but the exact cause of his fatal injury is still unclear and the explanation of the accused officers remains to be heard. Legal analysts disagree as to whether the case was “over-charged” by the prosecutor. Continue reading
On Saturday, extensive protests in Baltimore arose in response to the death from a spinal cord injury that a young black man, Freddie Gray, sustained while in police custody. Although Gray’s arrest was captured on video, the exact cause of his injury is yet to be determined. Police, however, have acknowledged that, at a minimum, proper procedures had not been followed. Gray’s death on April 19 came on the heels of the fatal shooting in South Carolina of Walter Scott, also an unarmed black man, on April 11. Continue reading
On April 17, President Obama called for “creative negotiations” that would allow the Iranian negotiators “to make a presentation to their body politic that is more acceptable.” He might have added that negotiations will have to be at least as creative to find a formula that will also acceptable to the American body politic. Critics of the previously announced framework might be forgiven for describing the process as “creative cosmetology in porcine beautification” aka putting lipstick on a pig. We would not be quite so harsh, but remain skeptical that the agreement with Iran, whatever its final terms might be, will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. At the same time, we are also skeptical that rejecting the agreement, or attempting to significantly renegotiate its basic terms, would be any more effective in seeking that end.
We assume that the name of Margaret McGirr is as unfamiliar to readers of RINOcracy.com as it was to us. But Ms. McGirr had a letter published in today’s New York Times that was so well-stated that we thought it deserved recognition. The Letters section of the Times is not a place we ordinarily go looking for RINOs, but you never know. Continue reading
On Sunday and Monday, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio announced their candidacies for president. In the nature of such things, neither announcement came as a surprise. (The Economist had quipped shortly before the Clinton announcement that “For most Americans this will be as surprising as the news that Cinco de Mayo will once again be on May 5th.”) Similarly, both announcements offered little in the way of substance. Indeed, Clinton’s may have broken all previous records for airiness, consisting almost entirely of brief videos of a predictably diverse and uniformly attractive collection of citizens. Continue reading
We Republicans, even including RINOs, tend to associate demagoguery—vague promises and appeals to emotion, fear and prejudice—with the Democrats. The rhetoric of such promises and appeals is sometimes lofty but often banal. Sadly, the first two announced contenders for the Republican nomination for President, Senators Cruz and Paul, have amply demonstrated that the disease is bi-partisan. Continue reading
Although we have indicated our tentative support for Jeb Bush to be the Republican nominee, it is still early days: Bush has yet to articulate his position on several major issues and the dynamics of the primary campaign, including the debates among the candidates – sometimes entertaining and sometimes dismaying – lie well down the road. We are in agreement with Bush on the two issues with which he has been most clearly identified and most sharply criticized from the right – immigration reform and Common Core. More generally, we have favored Bush for reasons suggested in a March 30 New York Times analysis, “Jeb Bush and Scott Walker Point G.O.P. To Contrary Paths.” A principal point was Bush’s distaste for paralyzing polarization: Continue reading