Republican In Name Only (aka RINO) is a term given to party members who don’t exactly toe the line when it comes to the party platform. In other words, they aren’t conservative enough for the rest of their Republican Party members and are only masquerading as Republicans in order to get elected.
Most of the differences regarding “real” Republicans and RINO’s center around social issues such as a woman’s right to choose, abortion, gay marriage, Don't ask don't tell, gun control, immigration reform and of course, taxes. Republicans In Name Only are more likely to take a moderate stance on these issues and in many cases will support them outright while the more conservative members of the party will take a much harder line.
There are two schools of thought on the value of Republicans In Name Only. The first one is espoused mainly by those who have been branded by the term. They argue that if it wasn’t for them the Democrats would have total control of the House and the Senate and that they form somewhat of a buffer between the two major parties.
The second one argues that by taking a moderate stance on these issues they are basically a Democrat and weaken the more conservative wing of the party by not allowing them to have a united front when facing many issues.
Given the current state of affairs here in America one might think that this is a relatively new term. Au contraire my friend. As far back as 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt, Robert Taft and Robert LaFollette were fighting for control of the party they engaged each other about which one of them was the “truest Republican”.
Throughout the 1930’s and continuing through the 50’s there were also a group branded as the “Me-too Republicans”. Many of those were labeled with this term because of their support of FDR’s New Deal and breaking with the more conservative members of the party on how to get the country out of the Great Depression.
Once the 1960’s and 70’s rolled around another term given to party members was what was known as “Rockefeller Republicans”. This was based on the policies of then Governor of New York and later Vice President Nelson Rockefeller who rather than label all forms of government as “bad” ran on a platform that in many cases government could be ‘good” as long as it was run properly. Given the political climate at the time, this term was not perceived as pejorative and many Republicans fell under this umbrella.
Since I’m not a registered Republican I can only assume that being labeled or branded as a “Republican In Name Only” isn’t very flattering. At least that’s what I hear when I tune in to Fox News and hear their take on the 2012 US Presidential Election.
If you’re interested in a current list of so called RINO’s I wandered over to Conservapedia.com and here’s what they had to say.
Senator Olympia J. Snow of Maine – did not run in 2012
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois
Senator Richard Luger of Indiana – lost in the state the primary to Richard Mourdock who lost in the general election
Senator John McCain of Arizona
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey
Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
Rep Don Young of Alaska
Rep David Dreier of California
Rep Ron Paul of Texas
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts
In closing, I think it will be pretty interesting in the coming years as Republicans look back and try to figure out what happened during the recent elections. Will the party soften its stance on many of the issues or will it try and rally the so-called “base” and continue with its hard line stance?
Only time will tell…
As for me, when it comes to the topic of politics I ascribe to the Great American Will Rogers when he had this to say way back in 1930 or so and still holds true today.
"This would be a great time in the world for some man (in today’s world he probably would have said “person”) to come along that knew something."