OK, first I should point out that I am the one who used the phrase RINO - Republicans in Name Only - in the headline.
When former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele was making his acceptance speech after his election as the new Chairman of the Republican National Committee he actually said "obstructionists" are the ones who should get ready to get knocked over.
I heard some media people who don't want to ruffle feathers saying that obstructionist means Democrat. I, on the other hand, want to ruffle some feathers and I am taking his comments to mean RINOs.
RINOs are people who either infiltrated the Republican Party with the intent to divert it from its core conservative principles, thus weakening it, in other words saboteurs; or blithering incompetents who are so afraid of their own shadows that they can't steer a consistent positive course because someone did a fictitious poll - as most polls are - saying they should do something else.
Michael Steele, GOP National Chairman
I watched Steele's interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday yesterday and I was really impressed with the man. He was well at ease, knowledgeable on the issues and more important, his personal positions on the issues, and wasn't telling fairy tales about what he must do to bring the GOP back into prominence.
I also liked his forthrightness when discussing his plans to reach out to various minority groups who may not always agree with every facet of the conservative philosophy. Steele said that rather than focus on the 20 percent of issues we disagree on, he wants to focus on the 80 percent of the issues we agree on. Good point.
Frankly, outside of a small percentage of people who wear the conservative mantle for their public personas - income producing of course - I don't think the vast majority of conservatives put the same emphasis on every facet of what is described as the conservative philosophy as every other conservative.
By that I mean, we all have our priorities. For me, the top priorities are national defense and economic stability. I see the world as an inherently dangerous place with lots of bad guys lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to hurt or bring down our country. I also don't like seeing the government play fast and loose with tax dollars and applying billions to handouts when I may well not agree with the programs that receive the money.
In line with my defense and economic priorities are Second Amendment and Free Speech rights. I believe I should have a right to voice my opinion, as in this blog column, and I DO have the right to protect myself, my family, my home, my property and even my country, with whatever weapon is necessary to whatever degree is necessary to get the job done.
Other people put abortion, gay rights or gay marriage, and similar social issues at the top of their priority lists. My reasoning is that if our country isn't safe, and our homes aren't safe, then pretty much everything else is a moot point.
So when our new GOP chairman says he wants to focus on the things we agree on, I am with him.
I would point out to our new chairman that there is one minority group that has been consistently overlooked by our party in the past two decades or so, as it was careening headlong into the abyss of irrelevance. That group is conservative white males who don't belong to country clubs and basically are seen as something loathsome by the elitists who have been running the GOP heretofore.
Get the white guys back and you'll get their wives back too. Ignore us, or trample on us as the previous leadership has been doing and you, Mr. Steele, will go the same way as your predecessors. But if our new national chairman understands that if the GOP has been a party of "old white men" he should also understand that the old white men who ran the party looked down their noses at the blue collar and non-Ivy League white men, just as they did to everyone else.
I have been reading all the news articles about how the GOP elected Mr. Steele to lead us in response to the Democrats getting Barack Obama elected president. Maybe there were some who feel that way, but I believe that for most of us, Michael Steele was elected chairman of the GOP because he is the right man for the job, at the right time.
Personally I am quite happy to see people like Steele, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and of course Alaska Governor Sarah Palin emerging as the "new faces" of the GOP. But for me, and for most people I know, race and gender have never been the issues.
We are looking for strong, principled leaders who know what they want to do, where they want to go, and have the leadership skills to implement their plans. Stay out of trouble, don't go feeding at the public or quasi-public trough when you are in office, do the job you promised to do, and don't waver from your beliefs. Stay true to the core of the party, and I guarantee you, the party will stay true to you.
Michael Steele is promising to bring the party to every corner and every group in the nation and warned obstructionists to "get ready to get knocked over." Steele also said "we will cede no ground to anyone on principles."
I am with him, and I believe many, many others will be too, if he delivers as promised. We may even bring a significant percentage of independents back, or attract some first-time converts.
Steelers Deserved to Win The Super Bowl!
My son pointed this out to me and I agree with him completely.
When the opening ceremonies were just about concluded at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for the Super Bowl last night, a collection of players from both teams, in addition to referees, Hall of Famers, and other dignitaries gathered at midfield for the customary coin toss.
Each person was introduced and applauded, but one of the most generous responses came when the man who would be tossing the coin was introduced. He was considerably smaller than the players standing near him, but he wore four silver stars on each shoulder of his US Army uniform, and rows upon rows of combat awards on his chest.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now heads the US Southern Command, but last year was the genius behind the offensive in Iraq dubbed The Surge, that decisively won the war there for us and the Iraqis, was the honored guest.
The coin was tossed, the call was made, and thus was decided which team would kick off and which would receive. Then everyone, well, the players primarily, took turns shaking each others' hands.
But only one player, Big Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, took the time, and had the courtesy to walk to Gen. Petraeus, thank him and shake his hand. The others left the field without so much as a nod.
The Steelers were first on the class and dignity scoreboard, and the rest is now sports history. It was a good Super Bowl. In fact it was a great Super Bowl. It could have gone to overtime. The lead see-sawed back and forth. There were some great plays including the Steelers interception and 100-yard runback for a score just before the first half ran out.
But I agree with my son. The game was decided at the coin toss, and all it took was the decency to say thank you and shake the hand of the man who more than any other American is responsible for us having the freedom to enjoy our national pastime without fear of attack.
Note to next year's underdog quarterback: If you see a military uniform nearby just before the game starts, take a minute to say thank you to the person wearing it, and shake a couple of hands. You never know. The game may be decided in that one gesture before you ever take the field.
Monday, February 02, 2009