RINOs & DINOs
by Ted L Glines
Conservative and Liberal priorities may be reduced to a simple denominator. Conservative priorities uplift governmental concerns over individual interests. Liberal priorities uplift individual interests over governmental concerns. In an ideal political arena, Republicans would all be conservative, Democrats would all be liberal, and they would never agree on anything.
Political figures tend to be labeled as either “Conservative” or “Liberal” based upon their stated stance and/or voting history on decisive issues. Researching any elected official will, however, reveal a surprising amount of flip-flopping (growing older, I grow less surprised).
Political parties tend to be labeled as well, but this is short-sighted. There are Liberal Republicans as well as Conservative Democrats.
Republican In Name Only (RINO) is a disparaging term for a member of the Republican Party of the United States whose political views or actions are perceived as insufficiently conservative or otherwise outside the party mainstream. The acronym has led to the analogous DINO, a Democrat In Name Only, referring to those Democratic office holders who are too conservative (when compared to the majority of Democratic office holders). The term “Fox News liberal” has also been used in this context. The two acronyms are, at the same time, puns on rhinoceros and dinosaur.
The Family Research Council's list of the Top10 RINOs in the U.S. House of Representatives (published October 12, 2005). Ranked by an analysis of 13 votes representing a cross section of conservative issues, most of them concerning gays, abortion, or stem-cell research.
1. Rep. Christopher Shays (Connecticut)
2. Rep. Michael Castle (Delaware)
3. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (New York)
4. Rep. Mark Kirk (Illinois)
5. Rep. Jim Kolbe (Arizona) (tied for 5th)
5. Rep. Rob Simmons (Connecticut) (tied for 5th)
7. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (Maryland) (tied for 7th)
7. Rep. Jim Leach (Iowa) (tied for 7th)
9. Rep. Mary Bono (California) (tied for 9th)
9. Rep. Nancy Johnson (Connecticut) (tied for 9th)
Boehlert and Kolbe retired from Congress at the end of their terms in 2006. Simmons, Leach and Johnson were defeated in the 2006 elections. The Club for Growth has targeted Gilchrest for a primary challenge in 2008.
Two Republican senators who have been labeled RINOs by conservatives such as the group Club for Growth and Human Events magazine are Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.
In 2004, Specter drew a conservative primary election challenger in Rep. Pat Toomey. Toomey had significant financial support from the Club for Growth while the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania provided volunteers. While the Club for Growth opposed Specter's role in increased federal spending, many conservatives focused on Specter's pro-choice views on abortion. Specter was supported by the GOP establishment including President George W. Bush and Senator Rick Santorum. This support helped Specter survive the challenge by a narrow 17,000 votes.
In 2006, Chafee received over $1 million from national Republican party officials, especially the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Chafee defeated a primary challenge by Steve Laffey the mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island. Laffey was chosen by the Club for Growth to teach a lesson to Republicans who strayed from the Club's ideology. The Club ignored repeated warnings that defeat of Chafee would risk turning the Senate over to the Democrats. When Chafee was one of six Republican incumbents to fail to be reelected in 2006, (he lost to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse), the party indeed lost its Senate majority.
An analysis of DINOs reveals much the same politically confused mosaic. It can be argued that RINOs and DINOs cancel each other out in the halls of Congress. Perhaps the press is short-sighted when they say that Republicans or Democrats have a majority and thus control either the House of Representatives or the Senate - because the RINOs and DINOs act to unbalance such dominance.
A government, as an entity, must have an overall Conservative stance because the first and primary goal (Prime Directive) of a government is to protect and prolong its own existence, with the concerns of individuals being of secondary priority.