I’ve read a lot of objections to Romney that go like this, “He’s another RINO, just like McCain. Look how well that worked out in 2008. McCain lost because he’s a RINO.”
You can hate McCain (and many do), and/or hate Romney (likewise). You can dislike either or both of them for a host of reasons. Ditto, you can think they’re not conservative enough to suit you, and if you think that you’re probably correct.
Just remember, though, all of the reasons that McCain lost. I submit that one of them was not because he was a RINO. There were plenty of other, more obvious ones:
(1) He was a horrible debater. While watching debate #2 I knew he was probably toast.
(2) He not only was old, he seemed old: energyless and dispirited. He’d had a major life-threatening health problem, as well.
(3) His strength was foreign policy, and by the time election day came round that seemed a far less important issue than it had been before.
(4) His (self-admitted) weakness was economics, and by the time election day came round that seemed a far more important issue than it had been before.
None of these is true of Romney, although he’s certainly got other problems.
However, McCain’s RINO status may have caused some Republicans to sit out the election (Republican turnout declined by 1.3% in 2008 as compared to 2004). But even if those 1.3% had gone to the polls and voted for McCain, it wouldn’t have been enough to swing the election to him.
Independents, on the other hand (and there are a lot of them), have nothing special against RINOs, although in 2008 they voted in droves for Obama. Here’s how Romney stacks up against Obama among Independents in a poll taken in November 2011:
But when it comes to the ever crucial bloc of independent voters, Romney trumps Obama by a 12-point margin – 53 percent to 41 percent. Independents in 2012 could be especially critical in tipping the scales in such battleground states as Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, all of which went for Obama last time around but have since been deemed toss-ups. When matched up with the other top GOP candidates, Obama leads among independents by at least slight margins.
Again, you may not like Romney. You may not want to see him nominated. If he’s nominated, you may hold your nose and vote for him or you may stay home or you may write in your favorite instead. But if Romney’s a RINO, the only people that fact is turning off are conservative Republicans. And if he’s the nominee and he loses the election, it will probably be because conservative Republicans didn’t vote for him.