Cries Of #RINO Never Seem To Cease

The idea of “if you’re a Republican leader or elected official who doesn’t follow us, you’re a #RINO” seems to be the sentiment of a lot of the TEA Party/Liberty/”Anti-Establishment”/whatever faction. The thought of identifying the few remaining conservative Democrats, showing them the error of their ways, and encouraging them to switch parties is a cardinal sin among these people. Of course, I’m sure if we welcomed a Libertarian into the Republican Party, I’m sure there’s no problem. The arguments I’ve seen, as of late, is that it’s the responsibility the Republican leadership (which, I would say, is the Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party, the Executive Committee of a District Republican Party, and/or the Executive Committee of a county’s Republican Party) to determine who is a “true Republican” and who is a “Republican in Name Only”. Of course, I’m sure this is the same group of people who complain of back-room deals and strong arm tactics to destroy decent. Yeah…..right…..

I’ve maintained that as long as I am a chairman, I will welcome people who say they generally agree with Republican principles. If they’re former Democrats, Libertarians, or just didn’t care, we should be welcoming if they’re wanting to help us work to elect Republicans. If they’re seeking office, it’s not up to me or my executive committee to determine if they are a “true Republican”…it’s up to the voters who pull a Republican ballot. You would think that the people who exclaim that they aren’t being heard or that leadership is trying to limit participation would be more than happy to have Republican voters choosing our candidates. In fact, here are two examples:

Former Congressman Ron Paul, who was elected as a Republican from 1976 ‘til 1985 switched to the Libertarian Party and ran for its nomination in 1988. He again switched back to the Republican Party in 1996 running against the incumbent Congressman who also switched from the Democratic to Republican Party in the previous year. Paul won and served until 2013 where he made two unsuccessful bids for the Republican presidential nomination. There’s also Georgia’s own Former Congressman Bob Barr who switched from the Republican to Libertarian Party in 2006, became the Libertarian nominee in 2008, and switched back in 2012 after stating he would not challenge Congressman Tom Graves in the Republican Primary plus he endorsed Newt Gingrich in the 2012 Republican Presidential Preference Primary. He did go on and make a run for the 11th Congressional seat vacated by Congressman Phil Gingrey who himself was running for the open US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Saxby Chambliss. Barr lost that election, but he does,to the best of my knowledge, still remain active in Republican politics.

Two instances of people switching from the Libertarian Party back to the Republican Party and the voters deciding who would best represent them. One instance, voters in former Congressman Paul’s district believe he would represent them better than the recent convert from the Democratic Party. In the other, voters believed that now-Congressman Barry Loudermilk would represent them better in Congress than former Congressman Barr.

Another argument that I’ve seen is that if there is an unopposed Republican running in a primary, it’s up to the Republican leadership to determine if that candidate is really a Republican. No where in the rules have I found “vetting of candidates” to be part of the leadership role. If someone sees that explicitly, please let me know.

I will say this: If you don’t believe you’re being well represented and need another choice against an incumbent, then perhaps YOU are the one who needs to offer yourself up to the electorate as an alternative. That means backing away from the comfort and security of your keyboard, getting off your duff, qualifying yourself for the ballot, and actually campaigning to win. It’s not an easy task, but it’s also not my responsibility, as a Republican chairman, alone to determine if my congressman or any other Republican incumbent running for office is doing a good job. It’s my vote along with the votes of other Republicans.

If you’re running for office in a contested Republican primary, YOU have to convince me and other Republican voters that you have what it takes to do a good job. I, nor others in GOP leadership, can’t do that for you.


  1. John Konop says:

    I came from a very liberal democrat family. In college I started watching William F Buckley on PBS, his views shaped my opinions a lot on many issues, Buckley is one of the fathers of the conservative movement. The ironic part is Buckley would be considered a RINO today. I still have friendly debates with my family on politics….yet I find the debates within the GOP much more nasty and personal. On a national basis, this “with us or against us” on every policy, with compromising being the same as a mortal sin, is not a smart long term way to build the GOP. Very good post Nathan!

    • FranInAtlanta says:

      Amen. I like that you were shaped by Buckley – started reading him in the early 60s and, by the time he died I agreed with him about almost everything. His idea was to support the most electable conservative candidate. Sometimes that was Rockefeller.
      I worry sometime that Republicans will never win another Presidential election because there are always about 20% of Republicans who will not vote for whoever gets the nomination.

    • ATLguy says:

      “The ironic part is Buckley would be considered a RINO today.”

      Ummm … Buckley was a segregationist and a social conservative. So, don’t be so hasty about that. Barry Goldwater would probably be called a RINO and truthfully might actually be a libertarian instead of a Republican today. Buckley not so much.

      • John Konop says:

        I do not agree with his views on states rights during the civil rights time period. Yet, he had a libertarian streak that was against affirmative action type solutions I agree with. He also took stances on war on drugs, against policemen of the world foreign policy and open tolerant views of others while debating issues, which I respect.

        ……..Some commentators dubbed Buckley a “libertarian conservative,” and in the broadest sense, I guess that was true. Though he seldom let National Review deviate from his own Catholic social issues positions (especially on banning abortion), Buckley courageously took a stance against drug prohibition, making common cause on that issue with Friedman and other libertarians. And that enlightened view seemed to survive Buckley’s retirement as the magazine’s editor in chief (as one hopes it will survive his demise).

        And despite those Catholic social views, Buckley was always far more cosmopolitan and sophisticated about sex, drinking, dining, and other human pleasures than his fellow-travelers among today’s religious right. That helped make Buckley-style intellectual conservatism more acceptable in salons, boardrooms, and the corridors of power. And the fact that William Buckley could maintain genuine friendships with people such as socialist John Kenneth Galbraith and gay anti-communist activist Marvin Liebman says a lot about his open-mindedness and tolerance….

    • Michael Silver says:

      Ronald Reagan would be considered a RINO as well. He was very anti-gun, pro-amnesty, and spent government money like a drunken sailor on liberty.

  2. saltycracker says:

    There should be some thresholds or low bars to be able to put an (R) by your name.
    How about all obligations determined by a court of law that are due the public, like taxes, be paid in full. Thinking of those with unpaid, but scheduled repayments on taxes.
    Or suspendion of that right when serving on a committee and have legally decreed violations related to matters related to that position, thinking of banking members here with bankrupt banks or defaulted loans.

    There are many others that weed out those that are not authentic, aka speak with forked tongues.
    But a few low bars might hurt both parties.

  3. Trey A. says:

    The problem with the RINO label is that it is national. It should be local–as it once was.

    When I lived in Hawaii not that long ago, our two term governor was Laura Lingle–a Republican. She was extremely popular because of her good governance principles. But all of the progress she made for the party in one of the most liberal states in the nation–one of the few states with a non-white majority–has been undone in part because she constantly had to fight the national RINO label and veer right to the Fox News definition of what it means to be a Republican. Her once very promising political career is now toast. (Can you imagine what 2008 would have been like if Lingle–a Jewish (presumed lesbian) who sounds smart on t.v. was the running mate instead of Palin?)

    Look at Georgia: There’s not a whole lot policy-wise that separates David Scott, Jim Marshall, John Barrow and Saxby Chambliss. The latter three aren’t in Congress anymore because they were either perceived as a RINOs or failed to switch parties in time. David Scott wouldn’t dream of switching parties because he’d be labeled a RINO on day one and the folks who’ve been sending him to Capital Hill would immediately associate him with the national folks who bestow the RINO label–the GOP’s national Fox News right wing.

    It’s a lose lose situation until the national GOP actually allows local candidates to make real efforts to engage voters in the middle. It starts by empowering local candidates with the leeway to distance themselves from the far right.

  4. Trey A. says:

    (A good place to start is voter access… you’re not going to bridge any gaps if your potential voters think you’re trying to deny them the ballot. The GOP’s state-by-state voter ID laws are going to be looked back on by history as remarkable short-sighted blunders of epic proportions. The risk v. reward calculations on these boondoggles were obviously calculated on a third grade level.)

  5. Raleigh says:


    First define what a Republican is because honestly I don’t know anymore. It doesn’t matter if it is local, state, or national the supposed Republican core values do not track with Republican actions. Look at Lower Taxes, no such thing. At the local level republicans raised taxes, State, raised taxes, national level raised taxes and Republicans can’t stop Democrats from raising taxes. Look at “Smaller Government”, name one major department that Republicans eliminated at the Local, State, and National level. I can’t think of even one. George W. I said from the beginning was a big government liberal.

    The national party has been at war with the fiscal conservatives in the party for many years now. Republicans claim they are for lower taxes and smaller government but when it comes time to deliver there is always some excuse. That’s the reason for the rise of the Tea Party. Heck at the state level we now even have a state licensing board for music therapist for god sakes. I mean really? Why?

    Reagan said “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

    How True!

    I know you guys don’t “want” to run off the conservative base because you need them to win anything but that base is getting tired of being treated like third class citizens by you. There comes a point in time when they will either not participate or vote for the opposition out of spite.

    I’m no longer a Republican. I’m independent which means I’ll vote for the person who I believe will best represent my values and is doesn’t matter to me if that is a Republican, Democrat, or Frisbytierian. I just wish you Republicans would tell us what your true core values are because what you claim as core values does not match you actions.

    • Kent Kingsley says:

      Raleigh, you are exactly correct. Instead of the term rino maybe non-conservative republican would be better. If republicans were truly conservative would we have the national debt we have today? Of course not. Most elected republicans believe in big government and big spending. This is evidenced by both Congress and our own legislature. Their difference with democrats is what programs to spend higher and higher amounts of tax dollars on, not what government programs we can reduce or eliminate. Balance the budget, not these republicans. Begin to reduce the debt, surely you jest. Maybe the solution is to rename the two parties; the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. The differences aren’t just fiscal, they are social, taxation, international policy. etc. Republicans can continue to be democrat lite and that might help win some elections. But it will ensure America loses the war when we as a nation are bankrupt, both fiscally and morally.

      • Jon Richards says:

        I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. Republicans in DC have reduced discretionary spending from where it was when they took over four years ago. Want the GOP to cut the deficit and start paying down the debt? Start by shouting from the rooftops how we need to reduce spending on Medicare and Social Security. Entitlements are where the increase in spending is coming from.

        • Kent Kingsley says:

          I agree, that is where the major savings are, but why do we have a Dept. of Education? Want federal funding for education? Block grant the funds, close the department and hire a few bean counters to funnel the grants. There is a huge duplication of programs that can be reduced along with massive fraud in many programs as well as entitlements. And that Jon is just the tip of the ice burg. Yes sir Jon there is plenty to cut, how about defense systems the military doesn’t want but Congress continues to fund. (By the way I am retired Army).

          The problem is republicans in Congress, including much of Georgia’s delegation (republican) is unwilling to do the heavy lifting. Yet, we continue to send them back to Washington. Shame on us.

        • Raleigh says:

          Yes I’ve heard this cockamamie story many times before. It’s just another excuse to do nothing. Republicans like their Democrat brothers screamed bloody murder about the austerity cuts and use it as an excuse for as much as they can. It was fun to watch the one recent shutdown. Republicans and the Democrats only shut down things that would inconvenience the citizenry like Parks, Licensing offices, etc. Then you cried like children about it. And, every time someone wants to see real cuts or trimming down miscellaneous government programs the first thing you cry about is entitlements. I and everyone else had a gun stuck in our face and forced to pay into these entitlements with the promise it will be there when we need it. All we have seen for our effort is mismanagement that makes Enron look like pocket change. The big difference between Enron and the government is some of the Enron officials went to jail. Democrats and Republicans both have had more that enough time to fix the problems and have done absolutely nothing. They don’t deserve to be in office and really deserve to be in jail with those Enron executives.

  6. ATLguy says:

    The Republicans are moving further right. The Democrats are moving further left (though their ideological shift to the margins isn’t commented on nearly as often – and isn’t anywhere near the topic of concern – as the GOP’s shift). The Republicans dislike the RINOs, sure, but the Democrats meanwhile would never nominate Jimmy Carter for president or Sam Nunn for senator, and as a result were reduced to make pretend with the grandson and daughter of those past figures in the most recent election. And incidentally, while he may have pretty much adhered to Bernie Sanders’ economic views, anyone who thinks that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have made common cause with the #blacklivesmatter crowd making heroes out of street criminals who get themselves killed by fighting with/shooting at/fleeing from police or being an apologist for a nearly 75% illegitimacy rate are nuts (King would have been at odds with the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jamelle Bouie on social issues).

    But hey, only the GOP’s lurch toward extremism is noteworthy. Gee, I wonder why.

  7. Baker says:

    I’ll argue spending with just about anyone but Jon is underselling it here…any argument that does not include Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security or Defense is pretty much just an exercise in self-righteousness (and I do it as much as anybody, that’s not meant to be a slur at anyone).

    Do Democrats really not see ANY room to cut in medicaid or medicare? Do those with incomes over $1 mill or some other random number really need social security? Should it really be capped at $120,000 for someone that has a $10 mill salary?

    And do Republicans really not see ANY room in defense for cuts? Are we trying to defend national security or have a jobs program for Lockheed or Boeing?

    Here’s to SIMPSON-BOWLES!…………………….

    ….and way down here are its chances at actual passage…ahh bipartisanship…

    • saltycracker says:

      Electric wheelchairs a multi-billion dollar industry with rare exclusions, obesity and smoking, no problem.

      One more aid; Billions in Foreign Aid to countries that hate our guts.

      Programs where the Feds openly say they will not enforce the laws.

      Justification for salary and benefits over $250k ?

      1980 computerization and cross checks.

Comments are closed.