Wineke: Republicans hunting RINOs: Has it come to this?

Facebook: Greitens’ ‘rino Hunting’ Video Violates Standards
Uncredited - handout one time use, Eric Greitens for U.S. Senate

This image from video from a campaign ad by Eric Greitens for U.S. Senate, shows Eric Greitens, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, in a campaign video ad that shows him brandishing a long gun and declaring that he's hunting RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only.

MADISON, Wis. — Imagine living in Missouri – unlikely as that may seem – and watching the following television ad: An angry man carrying a shotgun and assisted by two gunmen dressed in semi-military garb and carrying assault rifles, bursts through the doors of a private home to capture . . .well, read on.

The politician, Eric Greitens, the former governor of Missouri, is not hunting criminals or, even “WOKE” Democrats, distasteful as that may seem. Greitens says he is hunting Republicans.

Or, more accurately, RINOs, Republicans In Name Only.

“Join the MAGA crew,” the ad urges. “Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire until we save the country.”

In a way, none of this is totally surprising. The lunatic movement begun by former President Trump is always looking for new movements to devour in its attempt to extinguish democracy.

The RINOs in its target are the men and women once known as “Republicans,” politicians who work for limited government, respect for institutions, a vigorous foreign policy, politicians like the late John McCain or anyone named Bush or Cheney.

Somewhat astoundingly, Greitens appears to be the front-runner for the Republican nomination for Senate. The astounding part comes not from the fruitcake ad, but from the fact that, when Greitens was governor, he resigned his seat after being accused of blackmail, sexual misconduct and child abuse.

Let bygones be bygones. Greitens’ campaign manager is Kimberly Guilfoyle, fiance of Donald Trump, Jr.

This cancer in the Republican political body is rapidly becoming malignant.

The party convention in Texas last week called President Biden illegitimate, urged the legislature to reaffirm the state’s right to secede from the United States, loudly booed Senator John Cornyn for his work on gun control and failed to even once express sympathy for the 19 kids and two teachers killed recently in a small Texas community.

They taunted Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw as a “traitor” (this, unlike the other citations, wasn’t voted on) because he backs American support for Ukraine and called him “Eyepatch McCain.”

Now, Crenshaw is one of the most reliably right-wing voices in Congress but he is an authentic national hero, having lost an eye in combat. So was John McCain, the Republican candidate for president in 2008 and a pilot who spent years as a Vietnam prisoner of war.

It’s all pretty much disgusting. But how much do you want to bet that Greitens will end up in the Senate?