Combs Spouts Off

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Cobb on who’s a RINO

Posted by Richard on October 22, 2005

Cobb put up an interesting post on Tuesday (10/18) in which he redefined RINO (Republican in Name Only). He began with a quote from former Senator John Danforth:

“During the 18 years I served in the Senate, Republicans often disagreed with each other. But there was much that held us together. We believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive. We believed that judges should interpret the law, not legislate. We were internationalists who supported an engaged foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade. These were principles shared by virtually all Republicans. But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.” — John Danforth, moderate Republican and former U.S. Senator and ambassador.

Mind you, I don’t recall Danforth being a great defender of limited government or light taxation and regulation, but maybe my memory’s failing me. In any case, it’s a great quote. Cobb acknowledged not paying much attention to the domestic agenda in the past. But as he became more focused on it, he grew increasingly unhappy with the lack of fiscal restraint and especially with the pandering to evangelicals (emphasis in original):

I’ve long placed the blame on Karl Rove for his master strategems and his overplaying of niche manipulation. He’s the one whose campaign tricks have made the Christian Right feel that it is more central to Republicanism than it actually is. But I have not been willing up to this point to place blame on the President, primarily because of his righteousness on Iraq and the War on Terror. But I think I’m coming around to a more concrete sense that his agenda is less secular than it seems and that his steadfast refusal to veto any appropriations from Congress is a serious problem.

The real RINOs, from Cobb’s perspective, are the people who’ve discarded much of what Republicans have traditionally — if far too imperfectly — stood for in order to focus completely on the goals of the evangelical Christians.

Cobb argued that this is a Christian country, but not in the way Bush seems to see it:

So the question is whether this Bush understands where the soul of America is, and what kind of Christianity is the Christianity of this Christian nation. It’s the Christianity of Christmas. The Christianity of Norman Rockwell and a moment of silence. It’s the Christianity of the ‘C’ in YMCA. It’s not the Evangelical Christianity of those awaiting the Rapture or those of the Chick tracts. It’s not the Christianity of Operation Rescue, and like it or not, it is not the Christianity of political opportunity. So I have to ask very seriously if this president sees himself as the leader of the Republican Party or of a Born Again Nation, because a lot of us are not ready to blur the line between Church and State.

After giving Bush a series of middling grades for various domestic agencies, Cobb summed up his current state of mind:

That’s not good. It’s adequate. But my priorities have not been domestic. Now I’m turning that way and it doesn’t look good for this crop of Republicans. The more happy evangelicals are with their influence on the GOP, the less happy I am.

That’s about the way I feel.

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