Here a RINO, There A RINO

Another of my series of WTF Is Happening?

Now there is a popular term in the last few years….meaning those GOPers that do not hold the same radical beliefs of those little nuts in the party.

The GOP is a party running scared….afraid of minorities….afraid of women….afraid of education….afraid of science….afraid of fact checking…..afraid of the voter….and afraid of itself……hence the label RINO……

But what does it mean and where does it stop?

What do you know of the history of the term?

I can help with that lapses in your education……

Republican In Name Only (RINO) is a disparaging term that refers to a Republican candidate whose political views are seen as insufficiently conforming to the party line.

The phrase, without the RINO acronym, became first popularized during the Theodore Roosevelt presidency, as he was often labeled a “Republican in name only” by both critics and proponents, as his trust-busting policies were at odds with long-standing Republican Party ideologies.

By 1992, the acronym “RINO” had shown up in print, with an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader, written by John Distaso, being cited as the first instance of RINO in print.

The use of the term RINO arose as polarization increased in the political parties. Prior to the 1992 election of Bill Clinton, the Democratic and Republican parties had been in a long process of realignment where conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans were quite common. With the election of Bill Clinton, Republican ideological unity became increasingly fixed. This is exemplified by Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which called upon signatories to reject and oppose all measures to increase tax rates. By 2012, nearly every Republican presidential candidate was a signatory to this pledge.

The increasing ideological unity of the Republican Party made holdovers from the previous political alignment look like outliers. Whereas historically liberal Republicans comprised a wing of the Republican Party, they had (by 1992, and especially by 2020) become incompatible with the Republican Party itself.

Therefore, in an age of party unity, the term RINO was often used as a political weapon. It could be used as a threat: vote how your party wants or be branded a RINO. It could also be used as an effective tool in a primary campaign: the incumbent is a RINO, vote for the challenger. Indeed, in the 2010 Congressional Elections, the Tea Party effectively used the term RINO as a way to “primary” Republican Incumbents whose policies were not conservative enough.

I know you have heard the term used….you may have even used it yourself…..but what is a RINO in the Republican world?

Donald Trump went to Wyoming to campaign against Republican Rep. Liz Cheney. He repeatedly called her a “RINO” and urged the state’s voters to elect her challenger, Harriet Hageman. But Trump’s speech exposed how the meaning of “RINO” has changed. It used to refer to people who weren’t Reagan conservatives. Now it refers to people who are.

The substantive positions for which Trump praised Hageman—on oil drilling, guns, crime, and border enforcement—were no different from Cheney’s. In fact, according to the American Conservative Union, Cheney’s voting record is far more conservative than the record of Rep. Elise Stefanik, who, at Trump’s behest, replaced her last year as chair of the House Republican Conference.

In his speech, Trump called Cheney a “lapdog” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But that accusation, too, is bogus: Cheney has voted against Pelosi’s positions more consistently than have the top three officials in the House Republican Conference.

So Trump’s beef with Cheney isn’t about conservatism. Unless, that is, he finds her too conservative. And in many respects, he does: On several major issues, Cheney respects longstanding Republican principles, while Trump flouts them.

You can disagree with Cheney or her father about their positions on these conflicts. But you can’t argue that Trump’s position, compared to theirs, is more “Republican.” For 15 years, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the global struggle against terrorism defined the GOP. The 2012 Republican platform—the last platform before Trump seized control of the party—resolved to “employ the full range of military and intelligence options to defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates.” The platform opposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and pledged that “future decisions by a Republican President will never subordinate military necessity to domestic politics or an artificial timetable.”

What Makes a Republican a “RINO”?

Don’t get me started on DINOs!

Your history lesson is done…..now don’t you feel smarter?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

One thought on “Here a RINO, There A RINO

  1. Over here, the moderate Conservatives at the time of Thatcher used to be known as ‘Wets’. The moderate Labour Party politicians are disparagingly called ‘Blairites’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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