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This is a website for RINOs.
For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the political world, RINO is a term sometimes applied to Republicans who are deemed insufficiently committed to this or that “principle” of the current Republican Party. Hence, in their view: Republicans In Name Only. While intended as a term of derision (or worse), it is a label I bear proudly. As I wrote in a letter to the New York Times published in April 2013, my motto is: “RINOs, let us unite and put our hides on the line to save our party from itself.” Bold words, I later thought, but apart from the occasional letter to the editor, what am I doing about it? This blog is the answer. A very small step indeed, but possibly one that might encourage others. Continue reading

Blog 59. The State of the Union Address: Barack Obama’s Parallel Universe and the Challenge for Republicans

On the day of the President’s State of the Union address, a writer in The Washington Post was moved to wonder “Do we even need a State of the Union address anymore?” It is unlikely that the writer’s doubts were assuaged by the President’s performance that evening. The President assured us on the one hand that everything was really quite splendid both at home and abroad, but also insisted that our domestic tranquility requires a lengthy and expensive set of initiatives. Indeed, listening to the address, one had the feeling that it might have been titled “No Proposal Left Behind.” In fact, however, the President declined to renew many of the proposals that he had presented a year ago and which had been largely ignored by the 113th Congress. (A PBS NewsHour analysis indicated that out of 18 proposals urged in 2014, only 2 rather minor ones had been adopted.) Now that Republicans control the Senate as well as the House, and enjoy an even larger majority in the House, the President’s prospects for legislative achievements are hardly brighter. Continue reading

Blog No. 58 Charlie Hebdo, Barack Obama, and Radical Islam

In the wake of the murderous assault on Charlie Hebdo and other attacks in Paris, President Obama was been robustly criticized for his failure to attend the rally of solidarity in Paris, or even to send a high level representative. We believe that the criticism was justified. Indeed, even the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, acknowledged that a mistake had been made, a remarkable admission for a White House from which mea culpas do not escape easily. Earnest, however, did not offer any credible explanation of how or why the mistake had been made. It may be plausible to claim that adequate security for the President could not be provided on short notice, but presumably the security needs of Vice President Biden could have been satisfied by the arrangements put in place for forty world leaders. And one of the more curious footnotes was the unexplained failure to attend even by Attorney General Holder who was already in Paris. Continue reading

Blog No. 57 Charlotte’s Web, Medical Marijuana and the Vagaries of the Law

There has been considerable movement afoot in the world of marijuana in the past year. In November, voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia passed referenda authorizing and regulating the sale and use of marijuana. They joined Colorado and Washington State, which had previously adopted such laws. In Florida, a referendum authorizing the use of medical marijuana drew the support of a majority of voters but failed to gain the required approval of 60%. In June, however, the Florida legislature, had passed  a narrower law authorizing only a specific, non-euphoric, form of medical marijuana, known as Charlotte’s Web. A total of 22 states have now adopted laws authorizing some form of medical marijuana. Continue reading

Blog No. 56 The Unveiling of Jeb Bush

Actually, the unveiling of Jeb Bush has only just begun. Speculation about Bush’s possible candidacy  reached something of a mini-crescendo when he announced before Christmas that he would be “actively exploring” a run for the Presidency. That did not come as a great surprise—Candy Crowley on CNN remarked that it was what she had thought he was doing all along over the past many months. Nevertheless, the making of a formal statement made it seem unlikely that Bush would decide that the whole thing was not a good idea. Continue reading

Christmas 2014: “A Carol for Children”

One year ago, we posted “A Carol for Children,” an Ogden Nash poem published in The New Yorker in December, 1935 and reprinted by The New York Times as its lead editorial on Christmas Day, 1978. The poem spoke to the troubled times of those years and we felt that it was equally appropriate to 2013. Twelve months later, we cannot escape the feeling that its message is more fitting than ever.

A Carol for Children

God rest you, merry Innocents,
Let nothing you dismay,
Let nothing wound an eager heart
Upon this Christmas Day. Continue reading

Blog No. 55 The 113th Congress RIP (With Reflections on the CIA and the Omnibus Spending Bill)

Few will mourn the passing of the 113th Congress. Senator Joe Manchin no doubt spoke for many when he said “Thank God! It’s over.” Still, Congress ended not as some expected, with only the whimper of lame ducks, but with a pair of modest bangs. The first bang was the release by a Senate Committee of its long-awaited (and in some cases, perhaps, dreaded) report on the interrogation techniques employed by the CIA following 9/11. The other bang was provided by the passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill over opposition from the more extreme elements of both parties. Further bangs will doubtless come in the next Congress, but what they will turn out to be remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, we offer some thoughts on the work of Congress in the final weeks of 2014. Continue reading

Blog No. 54 After Hagel: Who and What?

For several days, the media was awash in stories about the dismissal (half-heartedly disguised as a resignation) of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. In the usual blend of reporting from anonymous sources and outright speculation, various theories were advanced as the reasons for his departure. While such theories commanded a certain amount of gossipy interest, they were largely beside the point. We often see things rather differently from both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, but this time we think they each had it right. Continue reading

Blog No. 53. The Flames of Ferguson and the Grilling of the DA

The scenes of burning buildings in Ferguson, immediately following a Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, were appalling and depressing. They were all the more so because they were not all that surprising. Could they have been avoided or contained? Perhaps. The threat of violence had been widely anticipated, and despite advance pleas for calm from community leaders, clergy and the Brown family, the anticipation may have become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. There were numerous factors contributing to the violent upheaval, but one of them may have been a basic misunderstanding of the criminal justice process. Continue reading

Blog No. 52 Immigration: The Scrap Between President Obama and the Republicans and a Calmer View

A starting place for discussing the current furor over President Obama’s actions on immigration is to understand that the President and many Republicans have, each for their own political purposes, exaggerated the impact of those actions. Speaking on Fox News Sunday on November 16, in anticipation of the President’s announcement, George Will wisely observed that: “It’s going to shield from deportation millions of people who actually face no realistic prospect of deportation. He’s going to give work permits to millions of people who are already working.”

Will went on to describe the proposed policy as one about which intelligent people could agree or disagree. He focused his criticism on the process, which he described as “execrable” and a violation of the “etiquette of democracy.” In a somewhat similar vein, we had observed in Blog No. 50 that:

We sympathize with the President’s goals in this area and understand his impatience, but we believe that creating protections for illegal immigrants that the law does not authorize, and that Congress has thus far declined to provide, would be a serious mistake. Although we support comprehensive immigration reform generally, and in particular the bill passed by the Senate, we think that acting outside the law and in defiance of Congress would be a major setback to reaching agreement on immigration, and most likely, a range of other issues.

Nothing in the President’s actions, or the reaction to them, has changed our mind. Continue reading

Blog No. 51 Postscript: An All-Star Panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum

 

On November 15, 2014, a remarkable panel was assembled at the Reagan National Defense Forum to discuss a variety of national defense issues. The panel consisted of:

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama

Steven Hadley, National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush

Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense under President Obama

Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

John McCain, soon to be Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee

The panelists not only gave illuminating vignettes of their personal experiences in dealing with national security matters, but expressed candid views on current issues including ISIS, Ukraine, and the impact of sequestration and reductions to the military budget. It was a cogent and compelling presentation. Rather than attempting to summarize the observations of the participants, we would strongly urge readers of RINOcracy.com to view the discussion at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bk0CdVe6IQ&list=PLHNOi2zcxo7vZiUKL2WytZJzAhd2f5KA_&index=3

The entire presentation lasts approximately an hour and a half, but we believe it is worth watching from start to finish. For those who cannot spare that much time, we would particularly recommend the comments of Secretary Panetta at 33:33 and 54:35, Steven Hadley at 43:24, and 1:06:08, Secretary Gates at 49:05 and Secretary Johnson at 1:05:30.