In case you haven’t noticed, there is a battle going on, and I’m not talking about the “war on” poverty, drugs, illiteracy or terror. The conflict I’m talking about is taking place within the Republican Party. In the wake of Mitt Romney’s disappointing loss to arguably the worst President in U.S. history, “Constitutional Conservatives”, ”Social Conservatives”, “Fiscal Conservative/Social Liberals”, “Libertarians”, “Moderates” and “RINO’s” are all beating the hell out of each other…and they’re doing so in public forums, much to the amusement of the Democrats. I want to address the latter two factions for now, but I’ll discuss some of the others in future posts.
While lines can be blurry at times, I believe the distinction between RINO and Moderate Republican is an important one. Without some “wiggle room”, the GOP will continue to self destruct. Take a look at my definitions and tell me if they provide a reasonable framework for constructive internal discussion.
A “RINO” (Republican in Name Only) is a voter, candidate or elected official who claims to be a Republican but uses the logic and language of the Far Left to demonize conservative dissent. “RINO” candidates are selfish and cowardly. They will say and do everything their poll-addicted “consultants” deem necessary to “win”, even if it means accepting and perpetuating “progressive” false premises, straw man arguments and blatant lies. They damage their Party, and the country, by validating ridiculous left wing arguments and providing perfect sound bites for liberal activists, talking heads and politicians. RINOs also fear the main stream media and, consequently, they relentlessly court their approval. That means, rather than educating and leading, they choose to pander and follow. They have no spine, no values and no soul. They can’t or won’t reject false premises. They are professional job seekers who should really just end the charade and become Democrats.
“Moderate Republicans” may side with RINOs and Democrats on some issues, (much to the dismay of conservatives like myself), but they never abandon certain core values or knowingly provide “ammunition” for the Far Left. They might “cross over” on a vote now and again, but they do so for solid strategic reasons that ultimately support the overall goals of limited but effective government, respect for the Constitution, national security and economic growth. They believe in empowerment over entitlement. They believe in American exceptionalism. They believe in equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome. They simply choose a circuitous path from “Point A” to “Point B”. They are not “pure”, but they are pragmatic and well-intentioned…and there’s still a place for them in the GOP. (In many respects, Ronald Reagan was a moderate.)
I believe that the distinction between “RINO” and “Moderate” is more than just semantics. As I witness the “circular firing squad” of internal GOP politics, I can only imagine the laughter in the Oval Office and DNC headquarters. Let’s weed out the RINOs through the primary process and give the Moderates a little slack…for now. At the same time, let’s differentiate between “Old School Dem’s” and the current crop of “Progressive Socialists”. Doing so may get them fighting with each other and increase GOP recruitment and momentum for the next election cycle.