The Corner

Re: Re: Senate Con Job

Avik Roy’s post is specious. I try not to do the RINO thing since it gives Republicans too much credit: Being a Republican nowadays does not have much to do with favoring limited, constitutional government. So to say someone is a Republican “in name only” is to say nothing. “Racist,” on the other hand, is a real slander.

Even if Avik were correct that “RINO” and “racist” were being used equally freely by, respectively, conservatives and “liberals” (I think he means “leftists”), so what? As an epithet, RINO really means “conservative in name only”; many who are called RINOs are actually delighted to have others distance them from conservative philosophy without having to renounce it themselves. On the other hand, no one likes to be called a racist.

I’d also be more persuaded if Avik were more even-handed in his criticism. He faults supporters of defunding Obamacare for ignoring “serious arguments” against their position. I haven’t ignored them – I’ve tried to address them. One can disagree, but to say it’s all name-calling is absurd. What’s more, the main proponents of the defunding position have been accused of running a con job. I can understand the argument against the defunding strategy, but why attack the proponents’ good faith? We now know that Republican senators who are attacking the defunding strategy were embracing it only six months ago. Now, when it’s time to stand up and be counted, they pretend that six months ago never happened. How is that not a con job?

Ramesh, I don’t know Senator Corker – never met him. So I can’t say whether I’d like him or not – as if that were relevant to anything. I do know that I don’t like the notion of our government’s providing material support to al-Qaeda terrorists, something that Senator Corker is prepared to overlook. And I know I don’t like it when a senator votes for something (like defunding Obamacare) when the vote is obviously symbolic but then, six months later, not only positions himself to vote against what he used to tell us he was for, but portrays his prior position (which he obviously hopes no one notices he recently held) as moronic.

While I disagree with Republicans who oppose the defunding strategy, I don’t think the calculation that there may be more to lose than to gain is frivolous. I just think the people who’ve made that calculation should have been honest about it from the start. Instead, they voted to defund Obamacare until . . . it mattered. Now, they mock the defunding position – the position they purported to hold – as theater. This is what nauseates people about Washington (and conservatives about Republicans).

The point is not that Senate Republicans are “taking a different view from Andy.” It’s that Senate Republicans are taking a different view from the one they themselves took six months ago, now that it is time to be accountable for that view. Ramesh says he’s “not sure” such gamesmanship makes one “a Washington game-player.” I am sure.

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