In my last post, I referenced the old comic-strip character, Fearless Fosdick, and I am sure that some of you had no idea what I was talking about. But some of you of a certain age (or those of you who, out of curiosity, googled “Fearless Fosdick”) will remember him as the comic-strip hero of Lil’ Abner—a one-track minded detective who unwittingly spread his own mayhem as he tried to find and catch criminals in his never-ending effort to protect the citizens of his city.
In one memorable storyline, Fosdick determined that the mastermind of a crime wave of murders and robberies was a Chippendale Chair (yes, a chair), and he destroyed every Chippendale chair he encountered in his quest to bring the one, elusive criminal to justice—leaving a lot of maimed furniture and ruined living rooms in his wake. Eventually, it became hard to tell which spree caused the worst damage: the crime wave spread by the rogue chair; or the pursuit of the lone chair by Fosdick.
Of course, because it was a comic strip, the storyline ended with the absurd capture, interrogation and execution of the gangster chair. But we don’t live in a comic-strip, and the times we face require actions that don’t destroy more than they fix. We can not afford to destroy the “new” Republican Party that Reagan tried to form—a party and a philosophy this country desperately needs at this time—just to purify our party of people with whom we don’t agree on every issue, priority, tactic or strategy.
This leads me to the folly of the great “RINO” hunt that some people, even some leaders and elected officials, have advocated in order to cleanse the GOP of impure members. Like the episode of the “Chippendale Chair,” the problem facing anyone who calls for this hunt is that the elusive RINO looks, talks, acts and votes—not like a rhinoceros (or a jackass)—but just like the rest of us elephants. Of course, we’ve been told that we will be able to detect this mutant in our herd because he or she won’t agree with us on every issue or priority, or with the pet issues and priorities of this or that self-proclaimed leader of our party. But if that is the test for detecting a RINO, are there any “real” elephants among us?
Think about that friend you sit with and work with in your local Republican club, or that person you block-walk with, or that candidate you’ve worked for—even if you seem to agree on the same general issues, and generally support the same causes and candidates, remember those few disagreements you’ve had over a few issues and priorities? Are they the RINOs, or are you the RINO?
If the RINO is sitting there with you in the same club, or working with you on the same campaign, isn’t it your duty to hunt him or her down and cull them from the herd? If the RINO is you, isn’t it your duty to leave the herd? Once we cull every potential RINO, will there be a herd left? If we disperse the herd, who will be the last elephant standing? Goodness, could it be that the dastardly RINO had enough cunning (or ammunition) to be the last elephant standing? Regardless of the identity of the last elephant, how in the world will he or she be able to keep the jackasses from keeping or regaining control of our politics and government?
Do you get how silly this has all become?
Unlike the “Chippendale Chair” comic-strip episode, the havoc that we are wreaking on the GOP by continuing the folly of the RINO hunt isn’t ending well, and it’s interesting to see who is getting shot in the hunt. Why did Chris Christie and Sarah Palin not run for President—could it be that one or both of them didn’t want the RINO bullseye on their back? And what of our own Governor Perry, who a fortnight ago was the darling of conservatives across the country, but who now has been impaled by the spear of immigration, and whose carcass now carries the brand of “RINO” to many in our herd?
For the sake of American Conservatism, for the sake of Reagan’s visions of a “new” Republican Party and of this country’s future, and for the sake of our children’s future, we need to stop following those who advocate comic-book approaches to our politics and our party. That is not to say that we don’t need to remove ineffective elected officials who’ve run as Republicans but governed like Democrats, but the primary battles needed to defeat such candidates should be fought on substance not silliness. If we are to regain a mature control of this nation based on its first principles, we need to look in the mirror and regain a maturity in our approach to conservatism.
To this end, over the coming months I will continue to identify any and all of our fellow Republicans who continue to advocate silliness and self-destruction as the “Fearless Fosdicks” they show themselves to be. Maybe, if they are shown the error of their ways, they will stop fighting their own teammates and start fighting their real opponents. We can’t afford to lose another election.