Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why The Acronym RINO Should Be Put To Rest

I must admit, as a conservative Republican, I have in a pique of anger at some squishy Republican's comment or vote in the past, called that Republican a "RINO" - Republican In Name Only.  In retrospect, I now realize I was wrong and hope that every conservative, once and for all, puts that acronym to rest.  There are two main reasons: 1. Its misapplication and 2. Its overuse, making its definition virtually meaningless 

1. Its misapplication:  When a conservative calls someone a Republican in name only, are they really trying to say that those politicians or pundits are not real Republicans?  No, I believe when they [including me in the past] call someone a RINO, they are really trying to say that the person is not a real conservative.  In fact, if any term was to be used, the correct one would be CINO, conservative in name only.  But of course, that can't be used because the Party is called the Republican Party not the conservative party.  I think it reveals more of a wish by those using the term [and I am not disparaging them] that the Republican Party should be the conservative party, ergo any person in the party who is not a conservative [or not conservative enough on an issue] would then be a RINO.  If the Republican Party were to ever change its name to the Conservative Party, then CINO might be a correct application of the acronym, but absent that, saying RINO for all but a few examples [which I will give later] is a misapplication.

2.  Its overuse:  This is what has really caused me to write this post.  The acronym RINO has been so overused on so many people that saying RINO anymore has become meaningless.  It is like the race issue.  The race hustlers, i.e., Jackson and Sharpton, et.al., have thrown around the word racist so many times, that the word has actually become meaningless, and by its overuse has actually damaged the cause against real racism that occurs.  I have heard so many Republicans being called RINO that it is starting to make my head spin.  And it is almost always used because of one issue.  For example, I have heard Senator Marco Rubio being called a RINO because of his calling for comprehensive immigration reform.  I disagreed strongly with Senator Rubio's stance on joining the gang of 8 and in his leading the way with supporting their comprehensive immigration reform bill, and still feel that he was wrong on that issue, but to call him a RINO because of that one issue, really?  Yes, he may have been  wrong on that issue [which he has now backed away from] but think of all the issues he has been 100% right on.  This man is a strong freedom loving, constitutional conservative Republican on almost every issue, so those who call him a RINO because they strongly disagree with him on one issue are wrong to me.  Wouldn't those same people calling Senator Rubio a RINO, also have to call Ronald Reagan a RINO because of the immigration issue?  He not only supported amnesty, he signed it into law.  Was Ronald Reagan a RINO?  Come on.  I have heard congressman Paul Ryan being called a RINO.  You might have been disappointed [as I was] and scratched your head at his seeming to capitulate in the budget and debt ceiling talks with out any concessions from the president, but does that make Paul Ryan [the man conservatives were cheering when he was named the vice-presidential choice of Governor Mitt Romney] really a Republican in name only?  The use of RINO  has extended to some conservative or Republican pundits.  I have heard people like Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and Guy P Benson be called RINOs.  Really?  It has come to the point that if a Republican isn't 100% pure on every single issue, then they become ripe for being called a RINO, which has resulted in such an overuse of the word that it has made calling someone a RINO virtually meaningless.

Now this is a RINO
This is not to say that there are no real RINOs.  There are real RINOs but not many in the truest sense of the word.  Charlie Crist is an example of a true RINO as he proved it when he switched from being a Republican to being an independent to being a Democrat.  General Colin Powell is a true RINO as no true Republican would have supported Barack Obama twice for president over the Republican nominee.  Sorry, General Powell you are a true hero, but you cannot legitimately call yourself a Republican when you support the Democrat candidate for president [and do so in two straight elections].  Both those men meet the true definition of a RINO because they called themselves Republicans when they were actually Democrats.  Those two men are actual Republicans in name only. 

Let me put out this question.  Among these 3 Republicans, President Ronald Reagan, Senator Rand Paul, and Senator Marco Rubio, which one would be the closest to being a RINO, and which one would be farthest away from being called a RINO.   I think that the answer by most conservatives would be that Senator Marco Rubio would be closest, and Rand Paul would be farthest away.  I submit that the real answer, if we are to take the acronym in its truest sense, Republican in name only, would be just the opposite of that.

President Ronald Reagan
Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul is the one of those three that has admitted on some issues he is a libertarian [not that there is anything wrong with that].  There is an actual Libertarian Party, and if Rand Paul thought for a second that the Libertarian Party had a realistic chance of being a true competitive party with an equal or better chance to gain power as the Republican Party has, is it out of the realm of possibility that he would become a Libertarian?  Certainly, his father Ron Paul was a Libertarian, not just in name only, but as an actual member of the party and only switched because he knew the Republican Party was the only vehicle for him to gain power.  Now I am certainly not calling Rand Paul a RINO, but in the truest sense, wouldn't he be the closest of those three men to its definition?   Then you have the great President Ronald Reagan and Senator Marco Rubio who many would say were both wrong on one issue: what to do about illegal immigration.  But there is only one of those men who actually signed into law an amnesty bill with no corresponding securing of the border--President Ronald Reagan.  So, using the logic of some conservatives, wouldn't he be second of being closest to being a RINO.

Of course, none of these great men I listed are RINOs.  I just used that as an example of how silly using the term RINO has become.  I have no doubt, if Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, and one of the great presidents of all time were still alive today, he would be called by some, a RINO.  Even the slightest possibility or thought of that should put the acronym RINO to rest once and for all.

This post is not a clarion call for all criticism on those politicians who are called RINOs to cease.  This is not meant for conservatives to stop pointing out when a politician is taking a non-conservative position on an issue.  And this is not meant as a call to stop trying to primary a squishy Republican with a stronger conservative candidate [although if that squishy Republican wins the primary, I would still recommend supporting him strongly over the Democrat in the general election]. 

This post is only a call to put the acronym RINO in the trash bin of overused and misapplied terms, so as never to be used again. 
   

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