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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Former Bush Appointee for Obama

Guest Post: By Lee Thompson, Republican, former United States Attorney under President George H.W. Bush, and Obamican.

Who are the Real RINOs?

RINO is the term used by Republican social conservatives for those they disagree with – Republican in Name Only.

But let me tell you, I am a Kansas Republican whose roots lie deep: a great grandfather who fought for abolition in the Civil War; a grandfather minister who revered Teddy Roosevelt; a mother who lived and died with Dwight Eisenhower; and personal experience as a GOP Congressional candidate and Presidential appointee of George H.W. Bush.

From this vantage, the right wing fundamentalists, whose mantra has been assumed by McCain and Palin, are the real RINOs. Indeed they betray everything the Republican Party has stood for throughout history.

My great grandfather George T.B. Smith fought at the battle of Gettysburg. He came to Kansas and taught his family about racial equality. His son, my grandfather Harry E. Smith revered Teddy Roosevelt because he invited George Washington Carver to eat at the White House. My mother lauded Eisenhower’s decision to send troops into Little Rock.

Where is the Republican Party today on this family value – the inherent belief in the value of a human being regardless of race, color or creed? It is sponsoring a Presidential campaign infected with a southern strategy built on none too subtle stabs at Barack Obama as uppity. It is led by a cheerleader in the form of a know nothing Governor from an isolated state who likes to infer that Obama is a terrorist, playing on clear racial and religious bigotry.

As an adolescent I read Ayn Rand and fervently supported Barry Goldwater whose most fundamental conservative belief was that the people deserved the right to be left alone in their private lives, that government had no business directing decisions about procreation and theology. While maturity has mellowed some of those thoughts, they characterize the essence of Republicanism for me.

The current Republican VP candidate, as Anna Quindlen wrote in the September 15 Newsweek, “has talked about the choice she and her pregnant teenage daughter have made, but would deny other women the right to make their own choices.” They clearly don’t trust women to make the intellectual and moral choices for themselves: they want to dictate those choices for them. The fervor with which the Christian fundamentalist Ayatollahs endorse these candidates is not surprising: they want to impose their own religion and theology on the entire country. The word “Christian” only means those who think like them, who refute evolution and adhere to their concept of Biblical literalism. I doubt that being a United Methodist qualifies me as their kind of “Christian”. God forbid that someone would be a Muslim – and if they aren’t, have your campaign infer they are to besmirch them. So much for the value of a human being regardless of creed.

Republicans have always, to a fault, resisted internationalism and dependence on foreign entanglements. Dwight Eisenhower resisted the impulse to rush into Hungary or the Suez in 1956 after weighing benefits against potential draconian results – World War III. The Gulf War was wisely conducted on the Powell Doctrine – become engaged only when critical national security interests are at stake; analyze the risks and benefits; have a clearly identified objective; seek genuine internal support, and have an exit strategy

President George W. Bush and his new found sycophant John McCain have and will continue, for the first time in American history, to use preemptive strikes and military force without any evidence they have actually weighed the benefits and detriments of such policy to the national interest. They have no strategic plan for withdrawing from Iraq, and exhibit an appalling disregard of the draconian risks measured in the loss of Americans called to die for some vague perceived sense of glory. Sarah Palin, would send us to war with Russia over intervention in Georgia, gosh darn it. Her expressed views on international crisis management create doubt that she would know to attack Tbilisi rather than Atlanta.

Don’t tell me I am not a Republican. Don’t tell me I am a RINO. I have seen the RINOs and they are McCain and Palin. Forgive me Mom, but for the first time in history I’m voting for a Democrat.

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