Go Ahead, Round Up the RINOs!

The extremists baying for a Republican purge don't understand that it would change nothing

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The RINO is behind all those awful bills with the word comprehensive in their titles. The RINO is the grease that oils the wheels of lawmaking that result in "reform" acts that don't reform, "tax cuts" that raise taxes, "oversight" that overlooks and "reductions" that increase. How could it be otherwise? Washington is designed that way. When the devil comes, he bears rib eye from Palm.

When you connect the dots that way, there really is only one solution: a purge. "I'm just trying to get something done" is the call of the typical RINO. "We were sent here to pass laws." That's a pretty accurate definition, of course, of the opposite of conservatism. What most of us on the right believe--and, full disclosure, I'm a total RINO--is that we have more than enough laws. We want our politicians to do as little as possible.

But the temptations of government are impossible to resist. Politicians gotta politate. And a RINO purge by the party faithful wouldn't result in much, at first, except for the--understandable--tingles of joy at watching certain RINO fat cats (Hello, Senators!) marching down the street wearing dunce caps and signs that read, DESPISE ME! I'M A RINO! But maybe that's enough.

After all, this was what the Chinese knew all those years ago. Many of the leaders purged in the Cultural Revolution--well, those who didn't die in the fields--returned to Beijing to retake the reins. Deng Xiaoping, in many ways the mastermind of the modern Chinese state, was a purge victim, and he turned out O.K. So I'll start painting the signs. You guys make the caps. Let's have ourselves a parade.

Long is a contributing editor at National Review and the editor of Ricochet.com

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