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Rules for Republicans

5. RINOs are better than real Democrats.

Yes, I get frustrated by Republicans In Name Only. I ran for Idaho State Senate two years ago because my state senator was well to the left of what I thought a Republican should be. If a RINO represents a conservative or libertarian district, by all means let’s challenge him in the primary. But there are parts of America where the choice is a RINO or a Democrat. We don’t want to ever get comfortable with a RINO representing us, but at least a RINO won’t be helping Nancy Pelosi remain speaker of the House or Harry Reid remain Senate majority leader.

6. DINOs are better than real Democrats.

Many Democrats here in the First Congressional District of Idaho are frustrated with Democrat Walt Minnick, who voted against the stimulus package and against the health care deform bill. I see them moaning that Minnick is a DINO, and I look forward to seeing these Democrats carry through with their threat to sit out the November election. But even if Minnick wins reelection, better a DINO who sometimes votes the right way than a Democrat who will be consistently wrong.

7. Be proactive with fixing problems.

One of my great frustrations with the time that Republicans controlled Congress and the presidency was their failure to be proactive. President Bush proposed a number of incremental fixes to the health care system that relied on tax incentives and free-market solutions. It was not perfect, but it was a step in the right direction. But the combination of Democrats doing what unions told them and many Republicans doing what health insurance companies told them meant that nothing was fixed. Similarly, Treasury Secretary John Snow pointed to serious mortgage regulatory problems that needed to be fixed in 2003 -- but we couldn’t get the Republicans who controlled Congress to take the problem seriously. Look where we are now, at least partly because of waiting for problems to become a crisis.

8. Recognize the difference between “minority viewpoint” and wacko.

There are ideas out there guaranteed to marginalize everything else you say. For example:

I think people that don’t have health insurance should be left to die in the streets when they get sick.

While this might make you feel all self-righteous and ideologically pure, this position is held by very few, and is right up there with the 9/11 truther claims for its ability to turn people in the middle against you. Perhaps you believe that people who don’t buy health insurance (or can’t afford it) deserve to die. Say it loud enough and long enough and you will guarantee that Americans in the middle will vote for politicians who will use “compassion” as an excuse to loot the Treasury.