Sunday, February 21, 2010

RINO season? More like OPEN season

This political season conjures memories of a particularly silly night back in those days many of us would just as soon forget.

The occasion was the Michigan-Seton Hall national championship game in men's basketball. A friend and I watched at a bar and, before tip-off, for reasons even NASA would not be able to figure out, we decided to drink a shot for every three-point basket made by Michigan.

Nevermind that Michigan was rather adept in this area. Had it been ninth-grade girls basketball, this would have been a bad idea.

Before halftime, our vision and attention span had regressed to the point we were drinking if a shooter was anywhere near the three-point line. Just to be safe, mind you.

At some point in the second half, we apparently lost the ability to keep track of which team was shooting.

The Tea Party movement specifically and conservatives in general are fast approaching a similar state.

I'm all for the grass roots thing. Getting people interested, and in some cases involved, in politics for the first time is a very good thing.

And I'm all for rooting out the RINOs. People like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, John McCain, Lindsey Graham ... it's past time to retire them or, at the very least, send them the way of Arlen Specter.

Problem is, far too many people who embarked on this RINO hunt became drunk on a handful of victories the past year and began shooting at any large animal.

Now, it's come to the point they're taking aim at anything on four legs.

I've not known in my lifetime of a politician with whom I've agreed 100 percent. Or 90 percent. Probably not even 80 percent.

Conservatism's Godfather, Ronald Reagan, thought amnesty for illegal aliens a grand idea, for crying out loud. And that was front and center for everyone to see.

Wonder if we dug below the surface what we could find to not like about Ol' Ronnie?

The point is this: Give me any politician with at least a four-year stay in office, and I'll bet you your house I can pick through those four years, day by day, line by line, and find something I don't like. Something that just "isn't conservative enough." Something that smacks of "cronyism" or "good-old-boy politics."

Now that isn't to say people shouldn't have favorites. Or even least-favorites.

Many have crossed the line, though, in supporting one over another.

The infighting among "conservatives" has reached a crescendo, particularly here in Texas, where Debra Medina supporters talk about Republican incumbent governor Rick Perry the way I would about Nancy Pelosi.

No matter. Not yet, anyway.

Most telling will be after the primaries, after some of these Tea Party candidates lose their races, will their supporters line up behind the victors to defeat the real enemies?

How this spring, summer and fall play out in that regard will give us a good indication of how 2012 will come together for the Republican Party.

Because the presidential field is bound to be crowded. Battle lines already are being drawn by a lot of folks who seemingly are as adamant in their devotion to certain candidates as some are to their gods.

When all is said and done in the primary, though, will bitterness leave this party fractured and scuttle the Republican nominee's chances?

Or will a united front emerge to complete a very necessary undertaking?

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