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Who Are the Real RINOs?

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It sometimes seems like many members of the Republican party have forgotten the history of the party and lost track of the principles on which the party was founded. The party was founded in opposition to involuntary servitude and in support of the rights of workers to keep the fruits of their labors. It was founded as a party based on liberty of the individual and liberty from oppressive government and no other beliefs of personal agendas should be more valued by Republicans than liberty.

The popular right-wing website RedState, which has a long history of condemning political figures for not meeting their peculiar standards, provides excellent examples of how those who claim to be Republicans can become confused about basic Republican values and start calling anyone who doesn't agree with their deviant form of pseudorepublicanism Republicans in Name Only and seeking to drive them from the party. They really ought to be called RINOState, based on their advocacy of positions which are based on a moralistic, statist philosophy which is antithetical to traditional Republican values. Like anyone from Olympia Snowe to David Duke, they may choose to call themselves Republicans, but they are not really Republicans if they don't put core Republican values over any other agenda.

Just as you cannot remain true to basic Republican principles while supporting policies like affirmative action or hate crimes laws which set one group above another under the law, by the same logic a true Republican cannot support the Defense of Marriage Act or similar state laws which single out groups for preferential rights based on sexual orientation. How you resolve that issue — be it allowing gay marriage or civil unions or just ending the government role in marriage entirely — is a matter for legitimate debate. But if you just oppose legal equality for homosexuals in general, you have no more business calling yourself a Republican than you would if you advocated slavery or forced unionization or confiscatory taxation.

The problem with the GOP since Reagan or even longer, has been the influx and mistaken acceptance of people whose agendas are based around a small platform of positions which have nothing to do with Republicanism and are in many cases in direct conflict with the principles on which the party was founded. These single issue voters have exploited their ability to bring out small numbers of highly reliable voters in key elections for undue influence to pull the focus of the party away from core values.

The Republican party is a party of principles, not of causes. Causes are the domain of the Democrats who vote on emotion and opportunism rather than principle. Republicans should not take extreme positions on special-interest issues. The only extreme in the party should be an extreme devotion to liberty. Republicans should take a breath occasionally and consider whether the positions they are promoting are Republican values or personal values. If you place a specific issue — no matter how important — ahead of fundamental Republican values, then you are not a good Republican.

Republicans believe in limited government and keeping that government out of the lives of people. If you support legislation which dictates the life choices of individuals or empowers government to control our lives in the interests of security or a social morality agenda, then you're really not being a Republican. By the same measure, if you say you oppose excessive government spending, but are willing to write a blank check for a war or national security or a border fence or any other special program, then you aren't really fiscally responsible. You can't be for limited government if you support a big loophole through which unlimited money can pour.

Many people have come to believe that the Republican party is a merely a conservative party and that this means opposition to change, including opposition to progress on social issues and to reform in government. They think it is supposed to be a party of the status quo. But when the status quo no longer conforms to the traditions of the nation and of the Republican party, then defending that status quo and supporting the current established way in which things are done is absolutely not the Republican way. The Republican party is a party of principle, not a party of mindless opposition to change and as things now stand radical change in our government is essential to restore the basic principles of the founders and the Constitution.

For too many in the GOP adherence to principles has been replaced with promotion of religious values or the values of special interests rather than the basic founding principles of the party. In their awareness that they are Republicans of convenience rather than of principle, they have become defensive and aggressive in targeting those within the party with whom they do not agree for criticism, calling them Republicans in Name Only, a term which conveys mostly irony when used by single-issue extremists and religious conservatives against those who remain true to real Republican values.

The Republican party platform of 1912 contains one of the clearest expressions of the values of Republicanism when the party was founded, through its history and today:

"it is important that the rights of every individual to the freest possible development of his own powers and resources and to the control of his own justly acquired property, so far as those are compatible with the rights of others, shall not be interfered with or destroyed. The social and political structure of the United States rests upon the civil liberty of the individual; and for the protection of that liberty the people have wisely, in the National and State Constitutions, put definite limitations upon themselves and upon their governmental officers and agencies."

First and foremost the Republican party is the party of liberty. Liberty of the individual and liberty from oppressive government. No other principle is greater than that and no other agenda should be placed ahead of the agenda of liberty.

So before you call someone a RINO and declare that your interpretation of Republicanism is the one, true and only brand, consider whether your beliefs are truly Republican and place liberty first, or whether you're defending a set of beliefs which are conservative without being Republican and primarily representative of a set of values where some belief other than a belief in liberty is paramount.

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About Dave Nalle

  • pablo

    Pablo breaks out his barf bag and pukes.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dave, was your choice of the image of a panicking, charging elephant to accompany this article deliberate?

    Just curious…

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Not sure it’s panicking, but read it how you will.

    Not surprised that advocating for liberty makes Pablo want to puke, either.

    Dave

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dave, the fact is that the Republican party you harken to is long gone and likely never to return. The world has changed a great deal since 1912. There are, as you know, a myriad of interests – social, political, economic, etc. – vying to be recognized. As we realistically still have but a 2 party system, each of those parties have found it necessary to make room for more and more of those various interests.

    As I’ve noted before when you’ve gone on about the bastardizing of the GOP, it was largely the Rovians and the Bushies who welcomed the social conservatives with open arms back in 2000 and again in 2004. Now, and for the foreseeable future, Republicans are stuck with them. They are not likely to relinquish their position of influence in the party and in national politics in general now that they have a platform on which to stand.

    You and other Republican “purists” may be able to wrest some of the spotlight away from them in the future, but, unless they can find or establish another means to keep their message at the forefront, they ain’t goin away.

    It is just that element which has, IMO, dumbed down the Republican party. It is rife with pro-lifers, birthers, deathers – nut cases like Michelle Bachmann and others who embarrass themselves and by extension the Republican party along with them.

    You can rant and rave, but the good ole Republican days are gone.

    B

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Here’s the thing, B-tone. I’d still rather have Michelle Bachmann, for all her nuttiness, in office than another Democrat. She may be a buffoon, but at least her heart is in the right place and she’s not about expanding the state at the expense of the people.

    There’s some common ground to be found with religious conservatives. They just need to decide which matters more to them, having their religious rights and independence protected or imposing their morality on others. As the Democrats continue down the road they are on, everyone who values liberty is going to be forced to the realization that some sacrifices and compromises are going to have to be made.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Why is it so vogue to discuss the whackadoos on the right that have invaded the GOP but discussing the whackadoos on the left that the have invaded the Dem party is taboo?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    To Arch’s point, the GOP “whackadoos” have been very visible, very vocal and there are too many to count. They have made it a point to stand up and be heard apparently unaware of just how stupid they are revealing themselves to be. And, they are falling in line behind the idiot right wing nutballs on FOX and elsewhere, often pissing themselves upon a realization that they may have in some way offended the Great Rush.

    As to Dem “whackadoos” – who might they be? I haven’t seen or heard anyone from the Dems revealing so little gray matter as have the Reps.

    “She may be a buffoon, but at least her heart is in the right place…”

    Aw gosh, Dave. That just makes me feel all warm and runny inside. Maybe, if it was just Bachmann, we could all just shrug our shoulders and laugh. But she is just one of an apparent legion of brain dead fundies who make up a large portion of the Rep block in the House and even a few in the Senate.

    Dave, you have gone off the ideological deep end in thinking that there is or ever was anyone or anything so pure as you seem to believe of the Republican party’s origins. It all may look good on paper, but the reality is and always has been far less than ideal. Regardless of ideological roots, we are talking about people who have, at the end of the day, self-interest at heart, just like everybody else – even Democrats. To hear you tell it, one might conjour an image of the GOP’s founding fathers as white knights in shining armour mounted upon mighty, fire snorting steeds literally chomping at the bit to do battle against the slovenly hoard of us lesser liberal beings.

    It just pisses you off that your beloved “small tent” party has been crashed by “big tent” interests. And remember, it’s not only the fundies. You’ve also got the neocons who have set up their large, hawkish, big corporate display right in the middle of all the proceedings. You say they were formerly Dems. May be, but, they too, are now firmly ensconsed upon the circus elephant.

    You are living in a time and place that never was.

    B

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    It’s because the crazies on the left in the Democratic party have become accepted as the mainstream and put in the executive branch. Now if you’re a Democrat who isn’t crazy that gets you singled out for persecution.


    Dave, you have gone off the ideological deep end in thinking that there is or ever was anyone or anything so pure as you seem to believe of the Republican party’s origins. It all may look good on paper, but the reality is and always has been far less than ideal. Regardless of ideological roots, we are talking about people who have, at the end of the day, self-interest at heart, just like everybody else – even Democrats. To hear you tell it, one might conjour an image of the GOP’s founding fathers as white knights in shining armour mounted upon mighty, fire snorting steeds literally chomping at the bit to do battle against the slovenly hoard of us lesser liberal beings.

    And why should we not aspire to be our best, Baritone? Why shouldn’t we be idealistic and try to achieve something noble? It would be a refreshing change from the current cesspool of corruption in Washington.

    Dave

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Oh, jeez.

    Your self-righteousness is spilling out all over the place. And your description of the “crazies on the left in the Democratic party” is just political posturing. I guess to the typical Rep, intelligence could be considered “crazy,” as it’s such unfamiliar territory for them.

    B

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave and Baritone –

    Baritone first – what Dave’s doing is decrying how far the Republican party has gone from its principles…and William F. Buckley had said much the same.

    You’re absolutely right to take the cynical view, for just as it is naive for Dave to look back to the utopian “good-ol’-days” as a model for how the GOP ought to be, it is naive for us Democrats to look back at JFK’s ‘Camelot’ without acknowledging the nepotism and corruption that was part of the Kennedy heritage and JFK’s administration.

    Dave’s heart is in the right place – but the problem with the Republican party is bigger than all of us put together.

    Dave –

    Excellent article! I agree with the spirit of your article, though I must agree with Baritone that you’re looking at the past with rose-colored glasses.

    I often quote Heinlein – and I think his views really weren’t much different from your own. He once said, “The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of “loyalty” and “duty.” Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute–get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed.”

    Many in your party cheered when America was not awarded the Olympics. The leaders of the Republican party have not spoken out against the racist rhetoric foisted at the President of the United States – and by their silence have thus endorsed it. McCain tried to silence the obviously false accusations against Obama…while Palin and so many other encouraged those accusations.

    Do you see where I’m going? Loyalty and duty to party above country, above principle…even at the expense of the truth.

    Go back to Heinlein’s maxim – the Republican party as you remember it is doomed. It’s time to leave it, Dave. It’s time to get the heck out of there…and if I were you (bearing your political beliefs in mind), I’d become a much stronger supporter of the Libertarian party. I do hope that even if Ron Paul doesn’t make a bigger splash next time, that another one will. I strongly disagree with the Libertarian party platform, but if having a Libertarian president is what it would take to marginalize the loyalty-to-party-above-loyalty-to-country Republicans…I’d vote Libertarian.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I was in high-school during the brief tenure of JFK and politically unaware. I have never really thought of the Democratic party in those terms.

    My first involvement at any level came during my time in the Army – I entered the service as a political agnostic, and emerged as a liberal. I got on board the RFK band wagon during its all too brief tenure, and have kept moving left since.

    Dave characterizes liberals as inherently evil. Obviously, I take umbrage at that. I am a liberal, and I’m not evil. My ideology is not evil. Nor is it so far removed from Dave’s description of the supposed pure Republican ideology. The ends are largely the same. It is the means to that end about which we are all at odds.

    B

  • Doug Hunter

    “The ends are largely the same. It is the means to that end about which we are all at odds.”

    Precisely, very few ‘ends’ include an all powerful and controlling government yet that seems to be the only ‘means’ that anyone can imagine. Not very creative.

  • Baronius

    Dave, once again you write the religious Republican tradition out of the party history. The party was founded on opposition to the “twin evils” of slavery and polygamy. The abolition movement came out of northeastern churches. Religion also motivated the suffragist movement and opposition to the KKK (both GOP issues). Judicial restraint and opposition to communism were common themes for Republicans and religious in the postwar period.

    It’s silly for Baritone to trace the coalition only as far back as 2000. Given the amount of reading you’ve done on the history of the GOP, your error must be more willful.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave characterizes liberals as inherently evil.

    Really? Give me one example. Just one. I do not believe liberals are evil. I also don’t believe that most Democrats are liberals.

    Obviously, I take umbrage at that. I am a liberal, and I’m not evil.

    I see no evidence that you are a liberal. If you are a liberal you would be unable to support the politics of racial divisiveness, elitims and exclusion which characterize the Democratic party.

    My ideology is not evil. Nor is it so far removed from Dave’s description of the supposed pure Republican ideology. The ends are largely the same. It is the means to that end about which we are all at odds.

    You cannot reach a positive goal through negative means. You can’t enslave your way to freedom or divide people and grant special priveleges and expect that to make them equal. It makes no sense.

    And Baronius. I don’t deny that people of faith have played a role throughout the history of the GOP. My problem is only with those who try to turn religious dogma into political agendas and push those agendas ahead of the basic political philosophy of the GOP which includes equal toleration for all.

    It is fundamentally wrong for members of a party founded on liberty to single out any group for persecution or special privelege. It is no better when the Democrats grant special rights to homosexuals or when some Republicans try to deny rights to homosexuals. The same would apply to racial minorities.

    Dave

  • Russell

    You may pick your own views, but you cannot rewrite recent history. Today’s Republican Party and the modern right are much more tied to animosity to gays, abortion, and science than anything having to do with liberty.

  • Doug Hunter

    Russell, in the same way the Democratic party and the left are dependent on fostering race and class warfare to exist. Without the extraordinary 90% black vote and to a lesser extent other ‘oppressed’ groups and minorities you can’t win.

    You can’t win on issues and ideas, only on skin color and divisiveness and wedge social issues. So continue to agitate, just realize that your masters will never allow you to solve those problems because that would destroy your base.

  • Clavos

    You can’t win on issues and ideas, only on skin color and divisiveness and wedge social issues. So continue to agitate, just realize that your masters will never allow you to solve those problems because that would destroy your base.

    Quoted for Truth.

  • Tim

    “legal equality for homosexuals”?

    I challenge anyone to name a legal right or privilege in the U.S. that heterosexuals possess but homosexuals do not.

  • Former Marine ’69 ’72

    it was largely the Rovians and the Bushies who welcomed the social conservatives….snip…LOL You do not see the irony of your statement! You imply that the downfall of the GOP party was Rove and Bush allowing Liberals in the party!!ROTFLMAO.

    The party went bad because of your Liberal friends! ROTFLMAO!!! I bet you think that Gov. Palin would be bad for the Conservatives also? You STILL don’t see it do you?

  • Baronius

    Russell, excuse us if we all pile on your comment. It’s just that most of us have talked each other to death. That being said, what do you mean by Republican animosity to science? Do you mean their support for non-fetal stem cell research, or their suspicion of global-warming models which failed to forecast the current cooling trend?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Yes, the Republican party was once seen as liberal, and the Democrats as conservative. Over time, however, that changed. Now you’re the conservative party and we are the liberals. Funny how things work out that way…because seen in that light, in today’s world Lincoln would be a Democrat and not a Republican.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dave,

    First and foremost the Republican party is the party of liberty

    HA HA HA, now I have heard everything…and you know what they say about what ya hear!

    The Republican party can’t even shed their topee’s to show us their true selves…I don’t trust people who feel the need to wear hair hats!

    Liberty my a–!

  • Clavos

    Lincoln didn’t join the Republican Party founded in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin; it drafted him, in 1856, but didn’t elect him until 1860.

  • Clavos

    toupees

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I don’t have a dog in this one – even though I used to be a Republican many years ago. But I ran across this essay about gay conservatives. Give it a read and see what you think….

  • Observer

    It’s easy to argue that republicans are the most oppressive.

    The biggest force for oppression in the USA is the Health Insurance industry, an unregulated monopoly, which the republicans support uniformly in congress. Looks like they’re going to bring back that old Favorite of feudal lords: personal mandates. You’ll be born owing your soul to the company store.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    toupees, thanks Clavos

  • Clavos

    The biggest force for oppression in the USA is the Health Insurance industry, an unregulated monopoly, which the republicans support uniformly in congress. Looks like they’re going to bring back that old Favorite of feudal lords: personal mandates. You’ll be born owing your soul to the company store.

    Just for the record, on the matter of personal mandates: you are correct in saying they are being “brought back,” but not by the Republicans. This time it will be the Democrats, led by Obama, who will implement the legislation.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The most prominent toupee bedecked politician I’m familiar with in recent years is James Trafficant who was a labor-socialist-democrat.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Observer, your powers of observation leave a great deal to be desired. You seem to have missed the massive pandering by Democrats to the health care and health insurance industries in the current health care efforts.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Not sure it’s panicking, but read it how you will.

    I’ve seen photos and film of panicking elephants, Dave. That is most certainly not a happy heffalump.

    I was just curious because it seemed a particularly fitting image whichever take one has on the Republicans’ internal head-butting.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dr. D., I think some panic is justified as we plunge ahead into passage of such idiotic legislation.

    Dave

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Good article. The Republican Party is far different than originally conceived, just as the Democrats are also just as different.

    Neither one has common sense. It’s like a couple of Mafia rings and the common people have to put up with the hi-jinks of the elitists in power. (I’m referring to BOTH parties, now.) It’s shameful.

  • Buffalohands

    The Constitution addresses LIFE before it addresses Liberty. You are wrong. Real Republicans stand for the Constitution and for Life, THEN liberty -WITH PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! – and THEN the pursuit of happiness -WITH PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!!!
    For the good of society, marriage must be maintained and protected. Whoever CHOOSES a deviant, sinful sexual lifestyle (all “homos”) are free to legally marry someone of the opposite sex. If the choose not to, we normal Americans do not have to acquiesce to their deviant, sinful, abhorent sexual demands. The can not marry because marriage consists of 1 man and 1 woman -period. Your own “religious” beliefs come out in what YOU do and say, as well as everyone else, so don’t try to silence us who have different “religious views” than you do. We all have them. Some choose to worship something other than the God of the Bible (like you). -Have a nice day!