December 29th, 2011

RINOs for President?

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.

35 Responses to “RINOs for President?”

  1. Mr. Frank Says:

    Today Rasmussen has Romney beating Obama 45-39. That’s what counts, not who is a big RINO.

  2. gcotharn Says:

    A seemingly solid argument. However, I look at this from a strategic perspective – a gaming perspective. Think of a chess perspective: an early game, a middle game, an end game. Within one game, from the early part to the end part: circumstances on the board will radically change. New concentrations of power emerge; new weaknesses emerge. Within a single game: completely different games must be played; completely different points of strength and weakness must be contested.

    Therefore, a counter argument to your argument:
    Circumstances, in Nov 2011, will not hold in a steady state all the way through Nov 2012. The playing ground will evolve and shift. The independent voters, of the Nov 2011 survey, were the most uninformed voters in America; produced the most undependable and easily changeable survey results which could have been calculated. Such ought be a factor in our appraisal of the significance of those survey results.

  3. SteveH Says:

    Romney is like a spoon when you need a shovel. Plenty frustrating, but not as bad as having only an icepick when you need a shovel.

  4. Tom Says:

    I read an article this morning that clearly defines just how horrible the US’s financial situation is.

    I believe that in order to make the type of dramatic changes that need to in order to save the country, we need someone with the ability to take their case to the public, and convince people that their idea is the best one. I don’t think Romney is that guy, because I don’t think that Romney has ANY deeply held beliefs. Romney only has beliefs that help him get elected. I support Newt because he has the ability to make a strong case for what he believes in. He’s intelligent, and he will take the fight to liberals and their ideas. He also has an understanding of what it takes to actually advance an agenda in Washington. I still think he’s the best man for the job. I really can’t see his personal life being an issue, because the only people who would have an issue with that are the solid social issue conservatives. I think that unless we make some VERY dramatic changes, VERY quickly, our country is doomed. Whether it’s doomed under Romney, or doomed under Obama doesn’t much matter. I think Romney is a “go along” and “get along” type of guy who will preserve the status quo.

  5. foxmarks Says:

    That argument is sound. It is the conservatives who supply the energy to win down-ballot races. I never bought the theory that Romney was most electable (or the whole concept of “electability”). But he’s clearly the least inspirational to anyone.

    What we call RINOs are the standard-bearers for the notion of party before principle. The goal is more conservative policy, not more Republicans in office. Independents must be persuaded, not appeased.

  6. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    Will the Anti-RINOs cut off their nose to spite their face?

    They always do…it’s a sign of childishness: they threaten to hold their breath too.

    The worse habit of a “True Conservative” is a certain disconnect with reality of any sort. They prefer NOT to govern: too much responsibility and accountability.

    Childish but true, alas.

    As a result, and as an Independent, I’ve never voted (since 1960!) for a True Conservative…and never shall.

    Are you listening Ron Paul and supporters? Probably not…

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Good Old Charlie: but did you vote for Reagan?

    Here’s a post I wrote about Reagan, the “11th commandment,” and whether he would be likely to be elected today.

  8. geran Says:

    Great points, Neo, I agree with them all. I just don’t like it!

    The commenter before me (Good Ole Charlie) gets it right also:

    The worse habit of a “True Conservative” is a certain disconnect with reality of any sort.

    I’m that “True Conservative” that does not like the reality. We have spent ourselves into oblivion. About 50% of the country does not know how many States there are, or any science, or history.
    And, we are hoping a wishy-washy Massachusetts liberal, claiming to be a Consevative to get elected, can save us.

    There’s some reality for you….

  9. kcom Says:

    Romney is like a spoon when you need a shovel. Plenty frustrating, but not as bad as having only an icepick when you need a shovel.

    Well said, SteveH. Conservatives are frustrated because they don’t want to win an election for its own sake. They want to win for a reason.

    I’ll use my own (much wordier) analogy. Imagine you’re on a boat in a river and you hear the thunder of a huge waterfall coming up. You’ve got a guide paddling the boat full speed down the river. You warn him of the falls but he brushes you off and keeps going. So you look around the boat for someone else to take over. You’ve got one likeable guy who says he’ll steer a little more to the right and you’ve got another less likeable guy who says he’ll paddle hard for the shore. What’s the point of picking the first guy who won’t do enough to save the situation? So you go over the falls a little bit to the right and only hit half as many rocks as you fall to your doom. Yea, victory.

    I think it’s likely (without having talked to anyone about it personally) that people who are against Romney are against him because he doesn’t seem to have the fire to pull hard for the shore. He’ll be happy to steer around some midstream boulders but he won’t stop the slide ever closer to the falls. How hard do you think he’ll really push to repeal ObamaCare, reduce expenditures, reverse the seemingly inexorable growth of government, and actually change the arc of our fuutre? He’ll most likely go along to get along like so many others before him (and like so many RINOs, either by conviction or by intimidation) and nothing will really change. He’ll be better than a crazed Democratic paddling furiously towards the falls, but if he just surfs a little to the right what difference will it make except to waste valuable time that we’ll never get back. We got where we are financially by doing the same thing over and over (irresponsible policies enacted by both Rs and Ds). Who out there is ready to pull hard for the shore and actually get us out of the current of doom? Is Romney?

  10. Tom Says:

    Well said kcom!

  11. foxmarks Says:

    Good Ole Charlie asserts that lack of conviction is a sign of maturity. I see that as an excuse to avoid facing the difficult moral choices of adulthood. All factions can claim to be most “adult”.

    Meanwhile, as kcom points out, the unborn keep getting murdered, the deficit and debt grows, and hawks who promise to keep us safe peck away the margins of liberty.

    It may be possible to be a political moderate, but morality does not allow half-measures. Since everything is politicized, politics can’t go halfway either. Would Good Ole Charlie only save half the people from a burning building?

    I suspect GOC has a worldview that doesn’t fit the shorthand labels, but one which he still believes is coherent and virtuous. Is GOC moderate on every issue? Or is that independence a result of having extremes that don’t match our common patterns?

    And I have found significant truth in one of Limbaugh’s maxims: Independents are liberals in different packaging.

  12. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Too many people believe the Presidency is all powerful. Obama is hard put to advance his agenda at this point because since the 2010 election he hasn’t controlled Congress. In fact, he has spent all of 2011 campaigning, not governing, beause he is unable to ram things through Congress like he did during the first two years.

    What is required is a Republican President and a Republican Senate and House. I don’t care if the President is a RINO if we have a Republican majority Congress who will steer toward less spending and less regulation. This country has everything going for it except for the Obama policies that are ruinous for business. We still have great resources – productive farms, heavy manufacturing, coal, oil, gas, hydro-power, minerals, plenty of water, and more. The dollar, while weaker than it could or should be, is still the currency of choice for world commerce. We are still the dominant military force in the world. Sane policies of spending restraint and pro-business economic policies will turn this country around rather quickly.

    Any conservative/ Republican who refuses to vote for the Republican nominee, whoever it is, is actually favoring Obama and more of his ruinous policies. I know some here have expressed the opinon that that might be a good thing or that they don’t care. It makes me wonder if you have actually considered all the ramifications of that stance.

    To ensure better policies we should all be working
    too maintain the Republican majority in the House and to elect more Republican senators. One way of doing that is to donate money to both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Also donate money and volunteer to work for the Republican candidates in your home state. These are the times that try men’s souls. Change is possible, but it requires that citizens do more than sit on their hands because the candidates don’t meet their every criteria for the perfect candidate. Do not allow this SCOAMF (those who read Ace of Spades will know what that means) another term. ABO -2012!!

  13. NeoConScum Says:

    I don’t ‘get’ the anti-Mitt blather among some conservatives. He’s solid, principled, talented, very intelligent, experienced AND conservative. He doesn’t run from work. He has ‘Follow through’ and a tight grip on world and national realities. He wants to KILL Obamacare and restrengthen our Defense. And, CUT, CUT, CUT spending, thousands of business killing regulations, etc, etc.

    The loyal, faithful, honorable MAN is the absolute opposite of the catastrophic Boy King.

    Baa-Daa-Bing. Like Dat.

  14. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    I voted for Ronald Reagan ONCE…in 1984. I thought he deserved re-election on the basis of his first four years.


    “Would Good Ole Charlie only save half the people from a burning building?” No, I would try to put the fire out, thereby saving all…

    “Is GOC moderate on every issue?” No, I’m not, but my burning issues may not be yours. Your mileage may vary…

    “Or is that independence a result of having extremes that don’t match our common patterns?” Who can say…perhaps my mix may not be either yours or a common mix. why should I be obliged to match your patterns or beliefs?


  15. Capn Rusty Says:

    J.J.: What you said. We keep the House, maybe even add some more T-Partiers. Wit a major effort, we win the Senate. The House defunds Obamacare in a budget bill, which goes to the Senate and passes by a majority vote (no filibuster allowed). President Romney signs it. That’s one stake in the heart of the beast.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    NeoConScum: I think that Romney is disliked because he’s (a) too slick-looking; and (b) hasn’t been completely conservative on all issues (changed his mind on abortion, for instance, from less conservative to more). Anyone who is not completely, down the line, totally conservative, is out in their book—not just Romney. And many conservatives are of a very rigid mind about this—you either are true-blue conservative or you’re just as bad as Obama. No compromise and no shades of gray.

  17. foxmarks Says:

    “I know some here have expressed the opinon that that might be a good thing or that they don’t care. It makes me wonder if you have actually considered all the ramifications of that stance.”

    Being one of those, yes, I have considered. If I think about it too long I start to cry. At best, I see a brief period of violent upheaval is inevitable. Uncle Sugar will not be able to keep the cheese shipments on schedule, and there will be rioting and looting. The cops will come out to keep order, and everyone becomes a victim. I see post-Katrina event for most major cities. At worst, that devolves into delayed elections and some form of tyranny. The new dictators may say they honor the Constitution, just like the Soviets had free elections.

    If I survive the inevitable upheaval–and I will fight in some capacity–I hope to either make or find a home in some part of the current USA where a constructionist version of the Constitution is once again the law of the land.

    I look to history at other developed societies that have undergone revolutions or revolts. The people largely survive. Wheat is grown, bread is baked, children are raised. I don’t see Mad Max down the road. But our dome will be rattled by thunder.

  18. foxmarks Says:

    Good Ole Charlie:

    It seems like you think you’ve made some point. I don’t get it.

    Neither of us *should* have to abide by the preferences of the other. Does that make me an Independent, too?

    I accept the responsibility that comes with making the best of bad choices. Government is a necessary evil. If the areas that we each consider most vital are not in close accord, we can’t really survive as part of the same polity.

    Sophisticated name-calling is no better a solution than juvenile name-calling. You jab at Paul’s faction. They jab back. Both sides are throwing tantrums in a sandbox.

  19. Perfected democrat Says:

    Intrade seems to be saying the nomination is a done deal:

    Maybe Mitt is wily enough to do what it takes to get elected, then he finally shows his true Mormon conservative roots, just like Obama pandered to the center before his radical left-wing betrayal?

  20. Curtis Says:

    Only conservative Republicans object to Romney?

    Okay. If that’s the case, we’ve done did ourselves in.

    If you are a Republican and not conservative you are like a Christian that denies the divinity of Christ: an oxymoron. Confused. Cowardly.

    Don’t call yourself Republican. In Indian speak, that means, “me teepee, not that big.”

    I agree with JJ that Romney is a better choice than Obama. Of course. But will he win?

    No. And, perhaps, neither will the conservative candidate. Consider:

    RINO’s may inspire Independents but they don’t inspire conservatives. Given the two variables of the number of Independents and Conservatives, apply a weighted average calculation and come to the conclusion that as long as there is a semi balance of votes between the two, we lu lu lu loooose.

    It’s a result of the principle of “a man cannot serve two Masters,” or, another way of saying it is “a man cannot be of two minds,” or still another, “divide and conquer.”

  21. Kurt P Says:

    I will never vote for the guy who lost to John McCain.
    The step-father of Obamakare- who said he would not repeal it, before he said he’s “maybe” do something to undo some of it.
    Mitt Romney has never seen a gun control law he didn’t like (no matter that he bought a lifetime membership in the NRA…for street cred)
    Mitt Romney would govern slightly to the right of Obama, and to the left of W’s ‘compassionate Conservatism’.
    The new Republican Majority would feel obligated to go along with whatever ideas Romeny put out for unity.

    If Obama were re-elected at least the Republicans would put up a fight to stop the slide into even more state-ism than they would with Romney

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    Curtis: whoever said only conservative Republicans object to Romney? Certainly not I. I’ve made it clear that plenty of people object to him, and that he’s not my preferred candidate. But I certainly will vote for him if nominated, and I don’t think his main problem is that he’s a RINO. That’s my point here.

  23. Miss Piggy Says:

    He’s a MAJOR HOTTIE so who cares if he’s a RINO?

  24. Hope Change Says:

    Kurt P said: “Mitt Romney would govern slightly to the right of Obama, and to the left of W’s ‘compassionate Conservatism’.” — and also kcom’s analogy about going over a waterfall….

    Mitt Romney, I think, would be in grave danger of losing to Obama.

    And if Romney did win, then what? What is his plan?

    I think Mitt Romney says what he thinks people want to hear in order to get himself elected. This is what Democrats do. This is what liberals do. This is what RINOS do. This is what Establishment Republicans do. They have to, because not enough people will vote for them if they tell the truth.

    If you notice the TONS of criticism, scathing criticism, Newt gets from the Establishment, MSM et al., doesn’t it tell you that Newt is a threat to them? The Establishment hates Newt. I like him better for that. BTW, Matt Lewis has a piece on the Insiders’ hatred of Newt, called “Inside Game?” at The Daily Caller.

    The promises of the Establishment politicians are like “read my lips” from H. W. Bush.

    I oppose Romney for all these reasons. But it’s NOT “my way or the highway.”

    It’s that THERE REALLY IS A WATERFALL. We really are way off course. There is an actual CORRECTION that needs to be made. There could be a world-wide depression. There could be a terrible terrorist attack. There could be a terrible war in the Middle East. We need someone who knows what going on, understands history, knows the players and is astute and experienced.

    To me, Newt is clearly the most talented and the most prepared and experienced candidate.

    I look at Romney and I don’t trust him. Romney has never done anything to make me think he understands international affairs. He has been defeated in all but one election. His people destroyed the evidence of his governorship and purchased their hard drives when they left office. Bain got bail-out money. He put Romneycare in place. He has said he won’t release his tax returns: why not? He said himself, when he wanted to appeal to liberal Massachusetts, that he is a Progressive and he thinks the people of Massachusetts won’t penalize him becasue he has an R next to his name. He says WHATEVER her thinks will work. He’s been running for president for what, six years? He is INCREDIBLY VULNERABLE to the Democrats.

    Newt has spent those years thinking of solutions. Watch his speeches on brain science and Alzheimer’s, education, Lean Six Sigma, Michigan Must Change or Die, “2012: Victory or Death.” Newt is brilliant. Newt hasn’t got the big election machine but that’s because Newt used his time thinking up SOLUTIONS.

    John Hawkins at TownHall has an article about the 7 myths that Romney is “electable.” I think John Hawkins is right about a lot of what he writes.

    Newt’s proposals are on line for all to see. He’s asking for feedback.

    Newt’s speeches are on YouTube for all to see. He has a plan to sign 100 to 200 Executive Orders for the first day, and the first one will be to get rid of the White House czars from that moment. The First Day project is up on line. Newt is asking for suggestions and feedback.

    Newt is asking to team up with the American people because the change we need is so great that elected officials alone can’t do it. That’s what the continuous improvement communications loop of Lean Six Sigma is all about.

    I want to try Newt’s proposals because I think with them the American people have at least a fighting chance to restore prosperity and a constitutionally-based government. I want that chance.

    Thanks, Neo-Neocon, for providing a forum with comments that are serious and thoughtful, that make me want to offer my serious and thoughtful response. I really appreciate it. Happy New Year to all.

  25. NeoConScum Says:

    N-Neo:(Your 10:23pm)Yep, agreed. Subsequent comments really underscore your points. They make, I’m afraid, as much sense to me as the Paulbots–None. “IF you don’t do what I THINK, then I’ll show you by sticking my head in a wood chipper…And, my country, as well.”

    Has its ‘context’ in a kindergarten…errr..pre-school or…nursery school…But, among adults in a Real World with our country at stake..?

  26. NeoConScum Says:

    Hope Change: You appear either unaware or unfazed by Newt’s Temperament. It is, quite simply and–for me–obviously, unsuitable for the highest office. He inherited his mother’s manic side of her bipolarity, is compulsive, whimsical, has fits of infantile defiance, lousy impulse control, doesn’t(DOESN’T)play well with others, MUST be the smartest guy in ANY room, etc, etc. A Massive Disaster waiting to happen.

  27. Michael Says:

    As long as it is clearly understood that a vote for anyone but the nominee of the republican party, not matter how bad or unsatisfactory he may appear, is a vote of obama then have at it.

  28. Gringo Says:

    What Michael said.
    I am in the ABO camp: anyone but Obama.
    As long as the Pubs do not nominate Hugo Chavez. 🙂

  29. Harold Says:

    It isn’t simply rinos. George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and McCain were all not conservatives, but most importantly they were inarticulate. H.W. didn’t have the “vision thing”, W. was all but mute and McCain was terrified of attacking Obama.

    You can’t win against a left wing media onslaught if you can’t articulate your values, principles and policies effectively.

    The only person who can do that now is Newt. In the general campaign there is no doubt that Newt would make clear what the issues are.

  30. expat Says:

    I can’t help but think of someone else who is attracted by big ideas like high speed trains, green caulking jobs for the poor, college educations for all, talking with certified nuts who threaten us, and affordable universal healthcare. I prefer someone who crunches numbers before throwing tax money away.

    Sometimes the fireman can’t save everyone. That’s reality.

  31. foxmarks Says:

    expat: I know. So the question, the moral and the political questions are, who do we save first, and why?

    Anyone who makes a sincere effort to answer those questions is an adult. Nearly everyone who attempts to answer those questions is not crazy, even if they come to wildly different conclusions. The Constitution was written to govern adults, not minister over children.

    I like the defenses of Gingrich. My two major problems with him (the twitter version): Despite the merit in his ideas, I have no trust that he will hold them through hard times; He is all too willing to ignore Constitutional limits on government when he finds the ends justify the means.

  32. Daniel Says:

    The thing about people who call other people RINOs is that they don’t understand a basic fundamental of our system.

    The voters in the party get to determine what a Republican is when we elect delegates and those delegates go to the convention and deliberate on a platform. That platform is what identifies the Republican ideology, not pundits, bloggers or the local chapter of the John Birch Society.

    That platform is also just a platform. You will never see a situation in which everyone agrees on every plank, much less a situation in which everyone in the nation (or even a majority) agrees with it. Politics is all about compromise, and it starts within the party.

    I’m voting for the person who can most effectively advance our platform, not for the purist who wants it all (or nothing). That means I want a negotiator; a deal maker; a smooth operator who is not going to give me everything I want but who will get us all going in the right direction at least.

  33. Perfected democrat Says:

    To ponder:
    “Romney Takes 45-39 Lead Over Surging Obama”
    “Of Course: King Puttzz “Most Admired” Man in America”, “Hillary Clinton has now topped the list of Most Admired women a total of 16 times since 1993”, so, here comes Hillary as VP to save the day?
    Mitt can beat the Great Putz, but the big question is, can he beat the Dynamic Dorks?

  34. Don Carlos Says:

    The sad fact is it only matters a little, as kcom observes.
    Paul Rahe has said it well: Mitt and Newt are “management progressives.” As were the Bushes and the unelected recent GOP nominees, like Dole and McCain. As is Perry, IMO. Their agendas (what/how to manage) differ, the progressive we-can-fix-it mindset is the constant; hands-on, never hands-off. Progressivism is relentless and inescapable.

  35. Don Carlos Says:

    Hope Change sez, “I think Mitt Romney says what he thinks people want to hear in order to get himself elected. This is what Democrats do. This is what liberals do. This is what RINOS do. This is what Establishment Republicans do. They have to, because not enough people will vote for them if they tell the truth.”

    You have painted yourself into a corner, HC. If you believe that last sentence of yours, all else is moot, as a waste of time and effort.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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