Confessions of a RINO

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

I am a proud RINO – a “Republican in Name Only.” More specifically, I’m a committed fiscal conservative, but a lousy party guy.

Let me explain.

State and local governments touch the lives of most people more frequently and fundamentally than does the federal government. If one wants a say in local government, registering Independent is foolish, because Indies cannot vote in nominating primaries. Indeed, in areas where Democrats or Republicans significantly outnumber the opposition, where the other party will win anyway, it makes sense for Democrats to register Republican – or vice versa – in order to get the other side’s least-objectionable candidate on the November ballot.

In the past, I have worked, pro bono, for GOP candidates, people I know, like, trust and in whom I believe. But, in more than a half-century of casting ballots, I’ve never voted a straight party ticket. To be honest, though, I haven’t even considered voting for a Democrat since 1998 when the party rose en masse to defend a felonious chief executive whose allegedly-even-more-felonious wife has since lost the same office to a reality TV host. That latter was a marvelous example of poetic retribution – ironic payback for the failure of our political class to do its job twenty years ago.

It’s true that, nationally, the Republican Party aligns far more closely with my policy preferences than Democrats do, but, overall, elected GOP officials have a spotty record of honoring their party’s platform and delivering on their campaign promises.

I categorically reject political “centrism,” a deception big-government “moderate” Republicans pretentiously insist is necessary to “get things done for the American people.” Centrism is an empty “virtue,” one taxpayers can no longer afford. If one party supports and the other opposes – or, at least, says it opposes – additional spending and programs, “centrist” compromise always favors increases in both. Washington wins, taxpayers lose.

“Moderates,” “centrists” and their politics of “what’s possible” have produced an unimaginable national debt that, at $20 trillion plus, already exceeds the nation’s annual Gross Domestic Product. The debt is fundamentally immoral, because repaying it will burden generations of Americans, most as yet unborn.

America needs problem-solvers, certainly, but, more than anything, the nation needs principled obstinacy from polite, but determined and responsible elected adults, not more expensive “centrism” from the irresponsible, self-interested elements of its embedded political class. If the nation is to prosper, spending control and debt reduction are existential struggles that fiscal conservatives must win.

Our Republican-controlled Congress has been postponing budget “deadlines” similar to one that resulted in a 2013 government shutdown. Then, “centrist” Republicans’ desire to cave taught conservatives some useful lessons: First, it takes guts, so, in order to stand on principle, a Republican officeholder must have some – of both. Second, the easiest way for a Republican to attract favorable attention from the national media is to break with his party. Finally, the GOP’s biggest problems are big-government, establishment Republicans.

Call me cynical, but years of observation teaches one that, in politics, cynicism is almost always rewarded.