How many anti-Romneys this time?

What's a RINO these days? Someone who voted for McCain instead of a third party candidate? Someone who prefers Mitt Romney to Sarah Palin? Don't get me wrong. I prefer Sarah Palin to Mitt Romney, but that does not mean that I think Romney supporters are RINOs.

The problem with the call-everyone-who-disagrees-a-RINO approach is that it makes RINOs out of a majority (or at least a near majority) of Republican voters, something I do not think desirable if we assume the Republicans' goal is to defeat Barack Obama.

Speaking of the looming RINO threat, here's a recent statistic:

When Romney is the Republican nominee, he beats Obama among unaffiliated voters 48% to 41%. But when Palin is the GOP candidate, unaffiliated voters prefer Obama by a 47% to 41% margin.
I think there is a paranoid element at work among certain Republicans which saw the last primary as rigged by RINO elitists to disenfranchise them and shove John McCain down their throats. How this happened, I'm not sure. I can remember when the McCain candidacy was a total joke. Seriously, the man was speaking to nearly empty houses, and carried his own suitcases as he wandered pathetically around in search of supporters. This is not to say that he wasn't a RINO, or that Giuliani wasn't a RINO. But what happened on the right was that the stronger Mitt Romney got, the stronger Mike Huckabee (the anti-Romney) got. The next time around, I think it's clear that McCain will not run. If Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin both run, they will run as anti-Romneys, and if Huckabee runs again, that's too many anti-Romneys in the race. (A situation which favors Romney, of course.) Newt has been officially pretty quiet about Sarah Palin, but he's working feverishly to derail her.

Republican primary voters can be a contrary sort of people, and contrary people not only don't like being called names, but calling them names can persuade them to do precisely the opposite of what the name-callers think they're trying to do. If the anti-RINO activist mood really sets in -- to the point where Romney supporters are called RINOs -- that might tend to increase the number of Romney supporters to the point where "Romney RINOs" become a Republican majority.

And of course, the anyone-but-Romney, real-and-principled Republicans will get Romney, and they'll have to sit the election out in a principled manner (or vote for a third party, as real Republicans should).

Sounds familiar.

Fortunately, the election is so far off that most people aren't concerned yet, much less reduced to infighting. The non-activists who vote can therefore sit back quietly and ignore the insults, until it's their turn.

posted by Eric on 07.22.09 at 11:56 AM


I'm getting increasingly irritated with people tossing around the whole "RINO" epithet. Just so everyone knows, the job of a political party is to WIN ELECTIONS. If a party is telling people that they don't want their votes or participation because they don't toe the line on every issue, then that party will consistently lose, and will deserve it.

This is not to say that squishiness is a virtue. On the contrary, I think the Republican party is strongest when it holds firm to its core principles. However, as a gay American, I've been told by some in no uncertain terms that I'm not welcome in the party. For the most part, I've ignored this and voted Republican anyway. I think it is folly to denigrate people who might vote for your party on the grounds that their political beliefs are not pure.

John S.   ·  July 22, 2009 12:05 PM

RINOs are people like the ones that built the Massachusetts' socialized medicine scheme.

Larry Sheldon   ·  July 22, 2009 1:39 PM

I am done voting for Nota S. Badas.

If we are going to have socialist big government oppression, I want the perps labeled "Democrat"

Larry Sheldon   ·  July 22, 2009 1:42 PM

The purpose of "parties" is NOT to get people elected.

The purpose of parties is to represent their membership.

Larry Sheldon   ·  July 22, 2009 1:44 PM

Obama is trying to get Romney care passed for all of America. After it failed in Massachusetts.

Is Romney a RINO or a limousine socialist?

Is he an elitist making the Best Choices for the peasants? Or is he a leave us alone type conservative?

The purpose of parties is to confuse the peasants so the Elites can make the rules. And you know the elite attitude: "the peasants are revolting". It is not just the Ds. The elite Rs are the same.

I'd rather be led by a factory girl.

M. Simon   ·  July 22, 2009 2:38 PM

re: Larry Sheldon.

No, I'm afraid you're incorrect. The purpose of our elected officials is to represent their constituents. The purpose of political parties is to get their candidates elected.

John S.   ·  July 22, 2009 2:46 PM

I gotta say, Romney is in the definition of RINO, just after Maine's senators and just before John McCain.

Romney is who the GOP "elite" wanted last election. The ones who wanted me to send money and vote for their candidate but most importantly, they wanted, and still want, me to shut my racist, unhelpful mouth.

The way I saw it, they wanted Mitt so they had to torpedo Benito Guiliani.They hit the religion button hard, that got rid of Benito but almost gave them Huckabee, they panicked and we ended up with McCain.

I was rooting for a Benito/Newt ticket, I was going to sell "Benito/Satan '08" bumper stickers.

I know Benito's a RINO, but he's an honest RINO. He didn't have to change his core values to run for president.
Mitt "I'm all conservative and stuff now" Romney did. He's one of them thar "pragmatic" ones who could be a lefty to get elected in Mass but was suddenly making noises like a "conservative" to get us wingnu.... errrr... to get the Base to vote for him.

I voted McCain, but I really voted for Palin and against Obama.

But most Americans don't vote "against", they vote "for".

That's why, next February, we won't be honoring Presidents Bob Dole, John Effin Kerry or John Mccain.

Veeshir   ·  July 22, 2009 2:54 PM

Newt? He wants to kill pot smokers and the way he left one of his wives (while she was in the hospital) was without honor.

If Newt found Palin with 2 oz of pot in Alaska (4 oz is legal in your home) he would give her the death penalty.

Hukabee - if I wanted a socialist I'd vote for Obama. He has less baggage. And Obama inhaled.

M. Simon   ·  July 22, 2009 3:12 PM

Reading the comments about Romney and his failed healthcare got me into a thought experiment based on this question: is turning the USA into the USSA better if its done by a Republican?

Suppose McCain had won the election. We would still have a lot of the nonsense happening now - he promised to nationalize mortgages, just like Obama, and he had his own version of crap&tax. These items probably would have passed more easily, too.

I know that majorities are formed by adding and multiplying, not by subtracting and dividing - but if Romney or Huckabee are the best the GOP can do in 2012, we're screwed. Moderates or RINOs are always going to be needed but they can't be the only ones steering the party.

Doug   ·  July 22, 2009 10:30 PM

Hey Veeshir, maybe you can dig up some Mike Gravel bumper stickers. I saw one today. In case you're wondering (I had to look him up), he never actually ran for president but ran for the nomination on the Libertarian ticket in 08 and came in fourth.

The guy who put that on his car was hardcore, and also a bit scary. Gravel was a Democrat senator from Alaska who (according to wikipedia) supports direct democracy. I would think that puts him fundamentally at odds with the Libertarian party, or at least with the principles of liberty.

Doug   ·  July 22, 2009 10:40 PM

The problem with Newt is you never know exactly what he believes, he endorsed AGW with Pelosi, but then signed on to 'drill, baby, drill" which would be counteracted by
cap n trade, he walked away from Iraq during
the 'civil war', among other examples.

Now, the truth is kind of opposite to what you suggest; Romney is overwhelmingly dominant in the punditry, yet Sarah's support is gaining not only among
Conservative but even among Moderate Republicans Many sites like GOP 12 and Race42008, are venomously dismissive of her, spreading many of the same 'memes' from the campaign last fall.

narciso   ·  July 23, 2009 12:03 PM

I'll tell you why I like Newt, he was so effective against Clinton that Minitru made a concerted effort to drive him from office.

Just like Tom Delay.

All effective Republicans are either evil or stupid (Bush, of course, was both. The first recorded instance of Machiavellian Idiot) and Minitru attempts to drive them from office.

That's what's happening with Palin, that's what happened with Newt, that's what happened with Delay (so is he in jail yet or were the charges dropped? Dropped you say?)

Expecting a politician to be perfect is about stupid.
Just like with friends or significant others, you pick the ones who piss you off the least.

Veeshir   ·  July 23, 2009 12:12 PM

No, I never bought the ethical gotchas against him, I'm talking more about policy
and to a lesser degree tactics, By the way Ronnie Earle, Delay's Javert is running for
Governor against KBH and/or Perry. Choices down here aren't much better than Illinois,
Crist leading Rubio, although I think the stimulus will ultimately be tied around his neck, as it's happening with Specter.

narciso   ·  July 23, 2009 12:26 PM

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