NPR’s Crocodile Tears
An NPR piece spotlights Rep. Inglis, a South Carolina Republican facing primary competition after being targeted as a RINO. I don’t know much about Inglis, so I’m not going to get into the merits of whether or not he is a RINO. But I do want to point out the utter shallowness and one-sided nature of NPR’s analysis.
The article repeatedly points out the risks of targeting moderate GOPers. If the RINOs are ousted, the party will be too small to compete, they claim. There is a basis for this concern, as obviously there must be a balancing act between enforcement of principles and inclusion. But they present a false choice when they make it seem as if Republicans can either have a smaller, more principled party or a larger one which includes a few squishy moderates. There are in fact other possibilities. Disillusioned conservatives that stayed home the last few elections could be persuaded to return if the party more consistently represents its stated principles. Likewise, if they continue to stray too far from them, even more might abandon the GOP.
What they completely ignore while fretting about the costs of ousting a few RINOs is that the party has already shrunk, and it did it by being too much like the Democrats. Republicans didn’t lose the House, the Senate and the White House by purging the party of moderates, they lost it by being moderate – i.e. by proposing big government solutions to things like education and prescription drugs, and just generally spending like there was no tomorrow.
But the public is fed up, and there is a strong anti-incumbent, anti-government movement brewing. If the Republicans are able to capture this movement, a feat that is not at all certain, it is likely to work to their benefit. But in order to do so, it will necessarily mean replacing some old Washington incumbents with new, more principled blood.