Monday, September 27, 2010

R.I.N.O.s vs E.I.P.O.s...

The upcoming midterm Congressional race seems to be growing more and more ominous as we get more information about who is bankrolling the rightwing.  We’ve written before about the 501(c)4 organizations which are being used as conduits to funnel huge amounts of money to various conservative activities--rallies, ad campaigns and so on. 
Yes, it is distressing to think that the Democrats might lose control of the House and even the Senate, but, more important, is the question to whom the Democrats might actually lose and why.  My fear is that if the Democrats lose control of Congress, they will lose to a Republican Party that is Republican in name only.  What we all--Republicans, Democrats, and Tea Partyers--are in danger of losing is our national identity, lock, stock and barrel, to the large international corporationists.  
This year the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened the floodgates for corporations to engage in direct election activity through unrestrained corporate funding of ad campaigns.  (And how else do we learn about our candidates?)  Mr. Deeds-- Jimmy Stewart--who wants to be elected and who should be elected, has little hope today against Mr. Moneybags who is backed by seemingly limitless corporate money and who can run political ads night and day.
There are a few hopeful signs, though.  Salon, the online progressive magazine, posted a fascinating analysis by radio host, tv pundit, and until a few months ago, Republican, Michael Smerconish.  [Here] He writes about a war that is currently being waged within the GOP between what Smerconish calls the RINOs and the EIPOs.  (RINOs are Republican In Name Only and EIPOs are Electable In Primaries Only.) 
It’s a fascinating point of view.  I bet you could fill out the dance cards.  Prominent RINOs are politicians such as ex-Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, soon-to-be ex-Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania, and Rep. Mike Castle of Pennsylvania.  Smerconish slipped in this interesting historical reminder: [Here]
When Sen. Specter first arrived in the U.S. Senate in 1980, the Wednesday Lunch Club, a weekly meeting of moderate legislators, included: Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood of Oregon, Bob Stafford of Vermont, Lowell Weicker of Connecticut, Bill Cohen of Maine, Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, Alan Simpson of Wyoming, Jack Danforth of Missouri, Charles Percy of Illinois, and Charles Mathias of Maryland.
(Just the inclusion of some of these boys in today’s Senate would be refreshing, with the exception of Alan Simpson from whom we shall soon hear far too much.)
Smerconish says that the likes of these men (yep, all men), have disappeared from the national GOP scene, certainly from the Senate’s GOP.  Many have now been replaced by EIPOs.  A case in point, of course, is in Delaware where Christine O’Donnell has beaten Rep. Mike Castle in the GOP primary.  All polls indicated that Mike Castle would have beaten the Democratic nominee Chris Coons for the Senate seat, but that is a might-have-been.  Smerconish quotes a very recent CNN/Time poll that has Coons beating McDonnell by 16 points.  (Yes, indeed, EIPO--Electable In Primary Only.)
Thus, as the GOP turns to the right and the Tea Party billionaire backers swallow the GOP, the electorate just might not follow suit.
Meanwhile, there are some interesting and encouraging signs from the two important races in California, one for Governor and one for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat. [Here]  The good news is that at the moment Jerry Brown  is leading Meg Whitman 49% to 44% for Governor, according to a very recent LATimes poll.  It’s still very close with many voters reporting “undecided.”  But this latest is encouraging.  
The best news, though, is from the Boxer/Fiorina contest for Senator where Boxer’s lead is widening, 51% to 43%.
Meanwhile, it appears that the Republican “Pledge to America” has fallen flat.  As the Republican propaganda machine under the aegis of various political operatives, such as Karl Rove, crank out their ads and robot calls, it will be crucial for the Democrats to get out the word about who is bankrolling the conservative movement in this country.  The Party needs to get the message out to everyone, particularly to the boys down at the Village firehouse.
They won’t like it one bit...

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