RINOs: The new liberals?

Democrats must be hoping to inherit the earth.

Take a look at Washington right now. The president is denouncing the free press, White House aides are saying the president will not be questioned, and the Republican congress is silent in its role as a check on presidential power.

Where are the Democrats? Where is the Democratic voice stepping in to rally the oceans of opposition mounting against Donald Trump’s policies? The party is in disarray, a sham. This is not a time to be meek.

But the only dissent gaining any ground are not Democrats. Dissent is that within the Republican Party. Republicans like Sen. Susan Collins, for example.

Yes, it’s sad, but Sen. Collins is currently the most effective opposition in Trump’s America. Many Mainers bristle at her name — in their eyes she’s still part of the Republican horde, RINO (Republican In Name Only) or no, she’s part of the problem — but these days are different. 2016 left Democrats sent to their room like bad children, and for some reason they’re going. Instead of channeling the chorus of voices opposed to President Trump into a movement, Democrats are sad, silent and obedient. They are beaten and pathetic. So the movement is moving without them. Fragmented and leaderless, it has energy, but not Democratic energy.

So where is its voice? Collins is a speaking out. She is quietly but consistently offering pushback against a president who is clearly in need of restraint. Just last week Collins expressed willingness to request President Trump’s tax returns through the Senate Intelligence Committee. If a Democrat said it it would be an impotent claim. No one would care. But a RINO has power.

Her vote was not enough to stop the president’s nominees to head the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency from taking office, but it was resistance, more resistance. In the ever-right-drifting American political conversation, RINOs have become the last voice of progressive politics. It’s sad, but the alternative, Democrats, are no voice at all.

Maine has been unwilling to send a Democrat to the U.S. Senate for decades. Voters take Independents and RINOs, but not D’s. Which makes sense, as this backslip of the Democratic Party has been unfolding for years. We’ve been watching the weak-kneed politics of the Ds for a generation. Republicans have held the floor since the 1990s. They have been the idea generators, leaving Democrats scrambling to mount a counter-attack. Republican tenets like limited government and increased privatization formed the framework of government, and though might unfold with disastrous consequences, as the only party with ideas to buy they won the day. Theirs were the ideas sold.

So now in 2017, RINOs, not Democrats, are the real opposition.

It was Sen. John McCain, after all, who spoke out forcefully on the president’s travel ban, saying it will “give ISIS some more propaganda.” Another RINO, a Republican, offering Trump resistance. Where were the Democrats? Nowhere special. Nowhere important. Who even remembers Democrats anymore?

Democrats should lead the charge right now. The energy to RESIST is everywhere, but the Democrats aren’t. They are languishing, lost, a party of the past. Trump has sparked a movement in his opposition, but it remains unfocused. The “opposition party” offers that might be a rallying point is a joke. There is no real opposition party.

And so there are the RINOs. As imperfect as Collins’ political persuasion may be, it stands far stronger and far better than the ineffectual laments of today’s Democrat.

Where is the counter-vision to Trump’s America? Every American on the streets holding signs in opposition to the wall, the ban, deportations, and pipelines knows it exists, but they are waiting for a party able to articulate it. So far, however, that has not been the Democratic Party.

Which leaves us with RINOs. They have become sanity’s best ally. And until Democrats make a move towards reclaiming the mantle of a party of ideas, until they offer something more than an air of defeat, the protest is a vote for Collins.

Sad.

Last modified onTuesday, 14 March 2017 20:29