Saturday, August 6, 2011


Recent events in Washington DC have shown yet again that there are Republicans who apparently do not share the principles on which the the Grand Old Party was founded.  Of course it also might be said that the Republican party has itself largely mislaid, mostly forgotten, or completely ignored the fundamental precepts on which it was established.  Certainly anyone taking an objective look at what this party has done at the national level in much of the 20th Century might question whether this is still the party of smaller government and fiscal responsibility. 

This apparent disparity between theory and practice became apparent yet again during the latter days of the Debt Ceiling debate in the House of Representatives; when there seemed to be 'Tea Party' Republicans, 'Mainstream Republicans, and RINO's; each of which had different ideas on how these canons should influence voting. Now for those of you who aren't 'inside baseball' enough to recognize this last term, it stands for 'Republicans In Name Only'

There is little doubt based on their records, that there are those in the national legislature who could be called RINO's, claiming GOP membership while often voting more in keeping with the dogma of Democrats; but since I am not a Republican, I see no reason to call out these 'sheep in wolves clothing' or disparage them individually.  Quite frankly the difference between the two parties is becoming so insignificant these days that the accusation is all but meaningless, and the petty problems of Republicans or Democrats are of little interest to me.

What is of great concern to me however is the direction that this country is going, one which many of the current brand of elected officials seem unwilling or incapable of dealing with.  It's not because they are RINO's confused over how party postulates influence their decisions however, but because they are RHINOs.  This may also be a term that you are unfamiliar with (quite possibly because I just made it up); but stands, fittingly enough, for Representatives Having Inadequate Nerve in Office.

(Some of the editorial staff at JBS suggested that 'Nads be used in place of Nerve.  Inconsistent anatomical references to body parts mentioned later in this piece, and an unwillingness to use street slang won out, but only just.  Both references however, appear to be accurate.) 

Now some may find this comparison amusing, since the Rhinoceros is known as a rather stubborn, belligerent, and cantankerous animal; almost incapable of getting along with anything (even other Rhinos)RHINOs in Congress however, seem to be their polar opposites, being easy-going to the point of being almost placid (kind of like cows with a hard, pointy noses). One might go so far as to say that the only thing that the animal and these politicians share in common is a predilection for short-sightedness.  This apparent 'Hyde-Jekyll' transformation seems to occur to RHINOs somewhere between running for office and accepting it.

Apparently all of the stump speeches made on the campaign trail about mom, apple pie, and (dare I say it?) God become meaningless once election is achieved.  All pronouncements about strongly-held principles seem to weaken once many of these leaders walk up the steps of the Capitol Building.  Indoctrinated in the schools of bi-partisanship and compromise, many of those entering their respective branch of the national legislature get a 'spine-ectomy' performed as part of the House and Senate induction ceremonies.

Witnessing this transformation into the equivalent of jellyfish or flatworms, the only confusion that most of us in 'fly-over country' have these days is this: 
Is the House is worse for watering down every attempt to get the national proclivity for overspending under control through double-dip, double-entry, and double-dealing tricks long found in the 'Big Book of Govt Budgets'; or is it the Senate that's worse for sitting idly by on their well-padded chairs, on their well-padded asses while proposing as a solution to the nation's problems ... absolutely nothing.

This "Thelma & Louise" mentality, where the two major political parties (or the two houses of the legislature) do little more than argue about which one is to blame for the direction they're going or how fast they're driving off the cliff, has made it increasingly difficult to find anything other than 'the lesser of two evils' when going to the polls.  Small wonder, since there is seldom enough difference between the offerings of the two major parties, that so few go to the polls each election.  

Recently elected Tea Party freshmen in both Houses have been a breath of fresh air in these turbulent times however.  Say what you will about them, you must admit whether you agree with them or not that they at least appear willing to stand by their principles (and constituents); even when attacked by those around them for doing so.  They are currently but a vocal minority however, and one cannot help but wonder if they too will eventually be corrupted by a system ripe with the effluvia of pestilence that permeates Washington.

Until Congress realizes that it cannot spend itself out of debt, cannot continue to turn compromise into capitulation, and cannot continue to abandon its responsibilities to an out of control and unelected bureaucracy, we are looking at some dark days ahead.  It's likewise apparent that unless we begin funding the Congressional medical plan for spinal replacement therapy, we will be at the mercy of far too many RHINOs.  

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