Thursday, May 04, 2006

Of Genghis Kahn and a Horde of RINO's

Ralph Luker has called attention to an incident in which he took issue with my usage of the term "RINO" within the context of a Conservativenet discussion (threads 8-11 contain the entire, larger discussion) regarding RI politics and Sen. Lincoln Chafee.

Ralph said that:
As a charter member of the Republican Left and a proto-RINO, I blanched at and objected to Marc's use of the term [RINO] as the stigmata those of us to the left of Genghis Khan and David Horowitz must bear these days.
While noting the irony of Ralph taking exception to the usage of RINO while implying that anyone to his right is akin to Genghis Khan, here's a bit more on the subject.

Here's where I mentioned the "R" word (with some context):
I agree that it is unrealistic to attempt to achieve some sort of conservative purity within the Republican Party, especially in a liberal state like Rhode Island. But it is certainly not delusional for a party's base to want to elect someone closer to them on the issues, is it? For example, Sen. Chafee was the only Republican Sen. to vote against Justice Alito and then only after all of the other votes were counted (so to speak). Of the so-called moderate Republicans, he is by far the most liberal. When having the luxury of looking at RI from afar, it's easy to think that RI Republicans should be content to even have 1 Republican in Congress--even if he is a "RINO"--and that any attempt by them to get a more conservative candidate is too risky.
To which Ralph replied:
Readers at Conservativenet surely understand that the label "RINO" is obnoxious, an excuse to create a Republican Party in which dissent is not even tolerated. I am surprised, perplexed and disappointed that my friend Marc Comtois uses it. I have yet to label him an un-Republican.
The title of the the discussion thread--"the Galluping Rino Syndrome"--was not created by me, which--among other things--I explained to Ralph in my response:

First, let me say that, as I understand it, this is "Conservativenet" and not "Republicannet" and though the intersection of conservatism and Republicanism is obvious, they are not necessarily one and the same. As such, I don't mind if Ralph decides to label me an un-Republican so long as he doesn't call me un-conservative!

I'm a big boy, spent a stint in the Merchant Marine and have been called much worse. But the thickness of my skin isn't the issue, I guess. I was unaware that "RINO" was so offensive (incidentally, I only mentioned it in "scare quotes" once and I didn't provide the title to this post thread). I was also unaware that usage of the term carried with it the implication of the stifling of internal party debate characterized by Ralph.

I understand that the usage of such shortcut terms is often done to marginalize dissident voices within a group. Additionally--despite the convenience of using such shortcut terminology--it is probably also intellectually lazy to fall back on such terms....
Mea culpa, Ralph.

Now I'll get back to the Mongol Horde.

No comments: