Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman was generally considered a RINO’s (Republican In Name Only) RINO while in office. Not only did she harbor and advance decidedly liberal notions of government, she actively worked against conservative candidates in her own party. Then she went to the Environmental Protection Agency in George W’s first term and did … well, I’m not quite sure what she did there, but at least it got her out of New Jersey.
Since leaving Washington, Whitman has written a book titled, "It’s My Party, Too," which chronicles, I guess (you don’t think I actually READ the thing, do you?), her ongoing battles with conservatives in the Republican Party. And now, in an effort to further water down the GOP’s principles (what few they have left), Whitman has created a new It’s My Party Political Action Committee (IMP-PAC) to help moderates (liberals) "assert themselves" and take their "rightful place" in the Republican Party.
Wonderful. Just what the rudderless S.S. GOP needs these days.
IMP-PAC’s advisory board is a who’s-who of hard-core, die-hard, non-ideological, wishy-washy, mamby-pamby Republicans. The kind you can pretty much depend on going south on you just when the chips are down. This partial list alone will give you a pretty good idea of what this dying-out wing of the GOP is really all about. Consider…
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (New York)
Former Sen. Robert J. Dole (Kansas)
Former President Gerald R. Ford (Michigan)
Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (Maryland)
Former Gov. Bill Graves (Kansas)
Former Rep. Amo Houghton (New York)
Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker (Kansas)
Former Gov. Tom Kean (New Jersey)
Rep. Christopher Shays (Connecticut)
Sen. Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania)
Former Gov. William Weld (Massachusetts)
Now, on the surface, I can be somewhat sympathetic to PART of Whitman’s argument. She definitely has a problem with the more extreme elements of the social conservative wing of the party, a position I sometimes share. After all, one need not hate gays or think government has a proper and rightful place in one’s bedroom to be a true limited-government conservative.
But Whitman’s brand of Republicanism extends well beyond differences on social issues. It includes tree-hugging, gun-grabbing and tax-raising. Whitman Republicans are all for higher and higher government spending, as long as THEY’RE the ones spending it. It is Big Government Republicanism (if only that were an oxymoron).
There is, indeed, a battle going on for the "soul" of the Republican Party these days. The RINOs are an endangered species in the GOP, and that’s not really a bad thing. They aren’t "moderates." They’re liberals.
If they were consistent "libertarians" with divergent views on various social issues, I’d say OK. There’s definitely a place for them at the limited-government/leave-us-alone table. But these Whitman Republicans aren’t cut from that cloth. They are government activists with little or no solid grounding in the constitutional principles of our Founders. They’re all about "doing good," not protecting rights. For example, about the only thing IMP-PAC advisory board member Shays is known for as a congressman is his authorship of the House version of the anti-First Amendment McCain/Feingold law.
With "Republicans" like that, who needs Democrats?
Absolutely, there’s a party out there for Christie Todd Whitman-like politicians. But it ain’t the party of Ronald Reagan. It’s the party of Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy.