BY JOHN CARROLL – There is a recent article by Josh Lederman in “The Hill” entitled “Former Gov. Lingle not running from RINO tag.” In it, Mr. Lederman states, “For most Republican politicians, there is no smear more loathed, more insulting or more politically perilous than to be called a RINO — a Republican in Name Only. Not for Linda Lingle.” He goes on to quote Lingle, “I’ve been called a RINO before, which I don’t mind.”
I disagree with Lingle’s cavalier dismissal of the label. “RINO” implies fraud.
Does Linda Lingle see the Republican Party in Hawaii as something to be used as a base of operations from which to get elected rather than as a movement with cherished ideals to nurture and lead? The fact that she tolerates the term RINO is insulting to those of us who still think that the Republican Party, the party of Ronald Reagan, still stands for something, something considerably more important than personal political ambition.
While compromise and moderation has its place, so does standing up for what you truly believe in. Lingle offers a grey, lukewarm set of principles that are designed to placate and absorb a vast, indifferent mass of voters. She offers little for those who passionately believe in traditional conservative values and the core principles of our party platform.
I don’t need a focus group or a survey to tell me what I should say. I don’t measure every word for its possible negative impact on marginal voters or contributor backlash. I say what I believe.
1. My contributions from Alexander & Baldwin and Matson (of which I have none) don’t dissuade me from taking action against the archaic, protectionist Jones Act that drives up the cost of living for every family in Hawaii in order to profit a select few.
2. I’m not concerned about being called a Christian because I believe in the right to life. The Bill of Rights guarantees all of us “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and it does not put an age limit on it one way or the other.
3. I believe that the failure to follow settled environmental law left the Superferry vulnerable to its opponents. The Lingle administration was just plain inept. I would have followed the letter of the law and we would still have the Superferry.
4. I believe we are overtaxed in Hawaii, and if I had been governor, would not have allowed the largest tax increase in memory to slip through while I looked the other way,
5. I think that the Akaka Bill is based on the restoration of the concept of division by race that our constitution and decades of the civil rights movement have fought to abolish. Individual Hawaiian’s would be better served by receiving their birthright homestead lands in fee and not doled out by a self-serving bureaucracy.
Those are five big differences between me and Linda Lingle. They’re also five big differences between Linda Lingle and most real Republicans.
Next year’s Republican primary will not be a preemptory coronation of Linda Lingle in her quest for the U.S. Senate. It should be a determination by Republicans as to what they really stand for, what they’re willing to fight for and what principles they wish to have represented in Washington, D.C. during the ongoing debate on our nation’s future.
A Republican In Name Only isn’t going to cut it.