Opinion: Friend or RINO?

In her weekly column, Nancy Churchill discusses a dynamic that many Republicans struggle with

Nancy Churchill
Dangerous Rhetoric

Our country and American way of life are under attack. Our borders are wide open, industries that create great paying middle-class jobs are under attack, and government spending by the Biden administration is creating run-away inflation. In Washington state, our governor is mandating electric vehicles and wants to destroy our cheap reliable hydropower and replace it with expensive, intermittent wind and solar power.

Nancy Churchill
Nancy Churchill

There is no end to the nonsense we’ll see come out of Washington’s Democrat-controlled legislature during the session that starts the second Monday in January. Even worse, we’re facing a possible Governor Ferguson in 2025 if Republican candidates fail to put forward a strong and compelling message. Washington’s Republicans, both the elected officials and the voters, need to unite and work together like never before if we want an opportunity to save our state.

Suspicion and distrust

In general, Republicans are independent and opinionated. We’re willing to stand up for what we believe in, and unfortunately, we often fight with other Republicans. There’s urban vs. rural, eastern Washington vs. western Washington, and pro-life vs. medical freedom. There’s Mainstream Republicans, Log Cabin Republicans, small-dollar donors, and deep-pocketed business donors. Every group is formed of individuals with a particular perspective, and there’s deep, deep suspicion that anyone who doesn’t agree 100% with a person’s favorite position is a wolf in sheep’s clothing… a Republican in name only.

Don’t get me wrong. RINO’s exist. Mitt Romney. Liz Cheney. Adam Kinzinger. Politicians lie, and it’s pretty common for politicians who want to get elected in a conservative district to pretend to be conservative in order to get elected. However, just because an elected official voted against a favorite conservative position doesn’t make that person a RINO. And, it’s counter-productive to fight against someone who is doing a pretty good job.

What about Newhouse?

Let’s take the case of Rep. Dan Newhouse. He’s been labeled as a RINO because of his vote for impeachment against President Trump and his support for some form of amnesty. However, Rep. Newhouse’s district is one of Washington’s most productive farming areas and the massive farms and orchards employ many migrant workers. If Newhouse is supporting some kind of amnesty program, I’m guessing it’s because he’s hearing from his constituents that there’s a problem that needs to be solved. Do you agree with amnesty? Maybe not. But his willingness to find a negotiated solution to a problem doesn’t make Newhouse a RINO.

In fact, Newhouse has been a staunch fighter for the preservation of the Lower Snake River Dams, which provide irrigation to support the agriculture industry in his district, as well as generating low-cost, reliable green hydropower for all of eastern Washington. The Columbia River dams create sporting and recreation opportunities as well as creating a green transportation corridor from the coast into Idaho that would not be possible without the dams and locks.

I don’t see a RINO when I look at Rep. Newhouse. I see a representative who works hard to listen to his constituents and solve their problems. Do I agree with every vote he made? No. But I don’t agree with my own husband 100% of the time either, so let’s not set too high of a bar.

Washington’s elected state Republican representatives and senators are often called RINO’s for negotiating with the Democrats during the session. Negotiation is the name of the game in the Legislature, especially when you are not the party in power. What are they supposed to do when they don’t chair any committees and don’t have any meaningful way to stop terrible bills? Start shooting? I’m so grateful to my elected officials for showing up and fighting the good fight. They do manage to change hearts and minds, and they have stopped some terrible bills.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

It’s time for conservatives to stop attacking each other and start working together. More than anything else, we need to understand we are in a culture war first. It’s taken one hundred years to destroy the “traditional” nuclear family and Christian foundations America enjoyed at the start of the 1920s. It will take one hundred years of patient, slow and persistent persuasion to restore the culture and the country.

Stop arguing with conservatives with different opinions and work to make friends and influence people. Try to persuade others rather than attack the ones who don’t agree with your position 100%. Find and make allies who agree with you most of the time—or even just half the time. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Keep your focus on the REAL problem 

The Communist and Marxist far-left radicals who have captured the culture and the Democratic party. Until we vote overwhelmingly to remove the members of the Captured Democratic Party we will continue to suffer under the boot-heel of tyranny. Fight smart. Make friends and build community. United we stand.

Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.

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