R.I.N.O. - Republican In Name Only. Flaky on the issues. More relevant, flaky on the obligation to support other members of the coalition they have chosen, particularly when holding partisan or party office. There may be examples elsewhere called DINOS.
The first RINOs I recall were the liberal GOP office-holders who put a shiv in the back of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign after he won the Presidential nomination fair and square. They refused to recognize the first rule of a political party coalition, to support the nominee even if you disagree on many issues. A political party not abiding by that rule is doomed. It cancels obligations to support your people when they’re nominated.
Not all liberal Republicans were RINOS. Governor Mark Hatfield of Oregon showed courage by supporting Goldwater in a liberal state. He later served five terms in the United States Senate, proving integrity is also good politics. Most backstabbers were eliminated during the next decade, many in primaries.
The GOP has come a long way. The average GOP senator once looked more like Olympia Snowe than Jim DeMint. In 2008, Utah Republicans even replaced Senator Bennett with an 84-percent lifetime conservative voting record. Surely there is progress.
There is also regression. While the group generally known as Paulistas, supporters of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, bring enthusiasm and ideological ferment to the party; like Congressman Paul himself they fail to grasp the basic obligation to support the party’s nominee in exchange for participation in the party’s nominating process.
Many may remain as unassimilated as illegal aliens searching for Aztlan. Others may learn the rules, at least those who believe there should be some.
The act of registering in a party does not require this obligation. Running in primaries or taking party office does. Congressman Paul endorsed an absurd combination of minor party candidates and reneged his obligation to support John McCain after McCain was nominated fair and square by a process Paul himself accepted. This lack of principle should disqualify him from participation in party-sponsored events this time.
Paul was the Libertarian Party Presidential nominee in 1988. Few noticed. He returned to the GOP regaining the Congressional seat he lost in 1996, where his contributions to national debates have been at best peripheral. That he spent more money per vote than any of the major GOP contenders in 2008 indicates the flaws in both his overall message and himself as messenger.
Full disclosure. Disgusted with Nixon’s liberal narcissism and Ford granting draft dodger amnesty and appointing Nelson Rockefeller to the Vice-Presidency, I changed coalitions and helped form the Libertarian Party. I thought the GOP too corrupt to save. Events since proved me wrong.
That era’s LP contained different folks. A collection of Old Rightees, Austrian economics advocates, Objectivists and stray Heinleinians with a smattering of leftees who believed in personal freedom I found more compatible than the checkered pants mushmouths who were most of the then (and some of the now) GOP.
The LP has severely declined, watered down by dalliances with the Code Pink crowd and other leftist loonies. Their political siblings, the current Paulistas, are generally ignorant of America’s libertarian heritage and its place in the center-right. Significantly, the only recent politician to mention the great economist Ludwig von Mises was another GOP member of Congress – Michelle Bachmann.
The RINOS of today are mainly Congressman Paul and his supporters who don’t recognize that the GOP they continually trash is the coalition they have chosen. Their actions are as perfidious as those of their liberal predecessors in 1964.
Congressman Paul has every right to run for the Republican presidential nomination. That he fails to grasp the obligations that entail indicates he’d show more integrity by seeking the Libertarian nomination instead.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturday 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.