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RINOs, DINOs and WINOs. Oh My!

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Message John DeFelice

There is a certain, evil little part of me that takes delight in the Democratic hand wringing going on in Democrat circles after the Massachusetts election. Certainly, we do deserve a little anguish when a campaign blows a thirty percent lead and sets up a red state island in New England, right in Ted Kennedy's old chair. Democrats don't even have to run around warning their supporters that the sky is falling. Very loud Republicans are doing that for them with reckless abandon. It seems like Sister Sarah was having the closest thing ever to an orgasm ever when she sent out her twitter message. The joys of red flags are waving just like old days in Red Square in Moscow! Huzzah!

But actually, this is the probably the best thing: yes the best thing that could happen for the Democrats in preparation for 2010. Democrats learned not to assume. But more importantly, Democrats got a hard dose of reality, one that that has been needed for a full year. They've been WINOs because of DINOs.

Now everyone knows what a RINO is, or at least what the letters stand for: Republican in Name Only. The actually definition is slippery. I remember back when I was still a moderate Republican, we applied it to the right wing extremists that seemed to take over the party steadily from the Nixon years on, with their allies from the religious right; those oddball Neocons awash in John Bircher ideology and religious fervor drove realists up the wall. By 2004 they owned the party and applied the term gleefully to the Last Surviving Republican Moderates, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow. Never has a coup been so successful. And yes, I am including in my calculations the exodus of Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party years ago.

Now on to DINOs, which, as you expect, means Democrats in Name Only. Nelson and Stupak come to mind. Nelson, only supporting health care when he grabbed a big bag of candy for Nebraska, certainly is one. And Stupak, with his "no abortion" rider to the health care bil,l is another. Nelson made the health care bill stink for progressives in the so called era of "Change." And Stupak's constituency seems to be limited to the C-Street religious cult known as "The Family." In that case the DINO is really appropriate. Flat Earthers for Stupak! Hooray! And of course there are others. I'd even include Lieberman in this, but right now I'm not sure what the Hell he is!

In other words, the so-called supermajority has been a myth from the beginning. I saw this. Others saw this, but the DNC trumpets blared victory anyway. Hence the term WINO: Winners in Name Only. Because if Democrats were not WINOs, the Health Care bill would be far more robust, far more sweeping, with far less pork and with a robust public option. In sense, it is a bipartisan bill as it stands right now. The Democrats compromised it for the sake of the "Conservadems," yes indeed, donkeys with elephant trunks, DINOs of the worst order.

Do I sympathize? I do a little. Mostly with those who voted for change and clearly didn't get it. A little less for Democrats in the House and Senate who kept on tripping over DINO elephant trunks, but clearly should have seen them in the way. And I have the least sympathy for all those policy wonks that assumed that sixty Democrats really is a super majority. What the Hell were they thinking? And I have none for those who continue to think that a super majority is the only way to pass bills.

This brings again me to the term WINO: a delightfully bipartisan term that has a bit of a twist to it. Let's run ahead and use a crystal ball
(just to get Dobson mad) and predict that in January 2011 a lot of Republicans get sworn in. Let's give Sister Sarah another orgasm and pretend that the Elephant Party now has a super majority or something very close to it. Huzzah again! The tea baggers win! The Family and Pat Robertson win! The John Birch Society wins! Now they too become WINOs. And we'll go another four years with lame-assed religious right legislation, anti-deregulation legislation and a Mercenaries Bill of Rights amendment stalled, compromised and neutered for the next few years. Because now the Democrats will use the filibuster and demand that all things must pass with a super majority as well. It's just tit for tat, after all. I kill your mandate. You kill my mandate. Crisscross! (My apologies to Hitchcock)

But the ultimate losesr will be the Democrats. Because the goal of the extreme right is to prove that government doesn't work. And what better way to prove it doesn't work that to have Democrats do their work for them? It's diabolically clever! Another decade of super majority gridlock, sabotage, and frustration overcome only by shady, questionable pork giveaways and absurd compromises. Indeed, just like in Massachusetts, the nation will turn away and perhaps now will be be willing to vote to make the government "small enough to drown in a bath tub."

So why do I write this? It is time to end the misuse of the filibuster. This relic from the Bush administration must go. It must be a top priority to end this abuse. Or in the end, the best Democrats can be are WINOs. Is there a chance of this happening? Not without a lot of work. But if we don't start now, the consequences become more self-evident every day.

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I live a quiet life in Maine, teaching for the past decade or so within the University System. I was at one time a Republican and a Pentecostal, but I grew up! My passion? Maintaining the separation of church and state to save America from the (more...)
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