Posted by | July 14, 2011 11:30 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

In the past few weeks on these pages I have seen a number of conservative stalwarts called out as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).  These include Lindsey Graham, Alan Simpson, David Brooks, Jon Huntsman, and Bruce Bartlett.  Heck, Ronald Reagan was even criticized for supporting tax increases.  It seems that this rhetorical purging of the Republican Party leads us to one of two conclusions:

1. If Graham etc. are indeed RINOs rather than elephants, then the Republican Party represents a minority (maybe 20% — the same number that oppose tax increases?) and they should be treated as a party that represents a permanent minority of the American public.

2.  The people calling Graham and friends RINOs are not really Republicans, in which case the Republicans should stop paying attention to them and try and figure out how to find a sufficiently large bloc of the electorate to represent so as to remain nationally relevant.

This will play itself out in the 2012 primaries as Romney and Huntsman represent one side, and the other candidates the 20% (and Pawlenty tries to claim he is on both sides).  Unfortunately, the country can’t wait for Republicans to decide which direction to go in.  In case anyone hadn’t noticed, we have a crisis around the corner.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.