We hear it with all too alarming frequency. Republican zealots face off against the more stalwart members of their party and hurl an epithet that no actual Republican wants to hear.
That they are Republicans In Name Only. They’re RINOs. They don’t adhere to Republican orthodoxy. They aren’t true believers. They waver too far off the political reservation.
Whatever the hell all of that is supposed to mean.
The term RINO these days seems to be hurled mostly at Republicans who are alarmed at the president of the United States who, in my mind, is the actual RINO. He’s the RINO in Chief.
And yet Donald John Trump has captured what used to be the soul of the Republican Party. I will continue to maintain that Donald Trump is not a Republican in the form that I have come to understand the term.
Republicans used to stand firm on national security. They detested and distrusted military dictators. They wouldn’t be caught dead calling murderous tyrants terms of endearment, such as “smart cookie” and “strong leader.” They used to believe implicitly in our intelligence experts’ assessment of national threats. They used to exercise strict fiscal discipline. They hated budget deficits and bemoaned the national debt. They once stood proudly as the Party of Abraham Lincoln, the president that sought to end slavery. Twentieth-century Republicans stood firmly against segregationist southern Democrats. They would never equate Nazis and Klansmen with people who oppose them.
What the hell has happened to the Republican Party, an organization populated by individuals and groups that speak ill of those in their party who criticize Donald Trump?
So, when a contemporary Republican accuses another GOP member of being a RINO, he or she merely is endorsing the idiocy trumpeted by the con man who got elected president in 2016.
If I were of the Republican Party persuasion, I would embrace the term RINO as high praise.