I became a Republican because of the writings and speeches of Barry M. Goldwater in the 1960’s. In addition to being an inspiring US Senator and a syndicated columnist, Barry wrote an wonderful book titled “Conscience of a Conservative” which made many of that long ago generation to which I belonged think about the state of contemporary politics, the status of the American republic and where our politicians were taking us. Barry was a Republican and a conservative, so I assumed that all republicans were conservative. I became involved in Republican politics and ardently supported Goldwater for President. (Ah … the bumper sticker “AuH₂O”!!)
Barry believed that we should balance the budget, get out of foreign involvements, fight to win the Viet Nam war and stand against socialism abroad and at home. Naturally, the Democrats were violently opposed to him and used every dirty trick they could think of to defeat him, including a TV commercial depicting him nuking a little girl picking flowers. All in all a horrifying and, I think for the first time in American history, a taste of how really vile a media campaign of demagoguery and misrepresentation could become. In retrospect, a primer on how lies and defamation could be used to sway, successfully, the credulous, ill informed American voter.
I was young and impressionable, but even then, more or less prepared for the vitriol of the Democrats … what I was not prepared for was the major effort to defeat him from the Republican left that emanated mainly from the machine Republicans of the mid-western and eastern states. To be sure, there were plenty of operatives: Governors, Representatives, Senators, lobbyists and party functionaries and such who believed that following the socialistic thrust of government, well started by FDR’s “New Deal”, to be the new norm for personal success in American politics. These Republican Judas’s had signed on to the Fabian socialism of the time. Helping big government and big bureaucracy seemed to be the “pragmatic” play for the future.
In those days, those pro-government, pro-international interventionist Republicans, whom we called “Liberals”, openly and proudly declared themselves to be “Progressive.” “Progressive” was a word that the socialist movement, after failing miserably to gain popular support for their ideals, had long ago co-opted to mellow their image with the public. We should note that until the Democratic Party took up the aims of their philosophy in 1970’s that there were organized socialist and communist parties in America. Many of the old line democrats, the Wilsonians and New Dealers, were not true socialists and would have bristled at any suggestion that they were. After all we had just fought and won two world wars and with the spilling of much patriotic American blood had defeated world imperialistic tyranny and totalitarian socialism and were mortally engaged in confronting the worst socialistic threat ever, International Communism.
Many at that time believed that the “Progressive” movement intended for government to give a leg up to the poor and oppressed and coincidentally it was understood that “Socialism,” could best be described as government control of everything by committee, a cascade, a series of ever smaller, ever more powerful committees, culminating in a supreme council overseen by some omnipotent leader or “general secretary.” Nowadays, “Progressive” is a euphemism for “Socialism.” Interestingly in those days, one of the people who understood this socialistic system best and who fought it the most ardently was the then head of the AFL-CIO, its president, George Meany. So, to many in those days, Progressivism was not synonymous with Socialism, but meant that you wanted everyone to get ahead and that you had “empathy” for those less fortunate than yourself. Few realized that being a little bit “Progressive” is like being “a little bit pregnant.”
The arrogance of the progressive “Liberal Republican leaders” because of their self perceived intellectual superiority and because of the often ham handed approach that the Democrats used to implement their governmental intrusions into the personal lives of individuals, they believed that they should take control of the government and make the failed or failing policies of the Democrats work. Occasionally, they did gain power, and when this happened, they often tried to and sometimes did improve the administration of big government schemes. The “old saw” was that the democrats proposed but were unable to make things work and thereafter, the Liberal Republicans gained office by promising to make them work. A good friend of mine used to say, “You’d better praaaay that they can’t make it work, because if it works, it works on you.”
It was a long and arduous battle for we conservatives to drive that kind of overt liberalism out of the party, but we did … you have to look a long and hard to find a Republican nowadays who professes to be a “Liberal” or “Progressive.” That kind of people get nowhere in the party anymore. However, did we win? Not by a long shot! We just drove them underground. Every Republican nowadays calls himself (or herself) a “Conservative.” To be sure many professing to be Republican are not “right wing,” by any measure and certainly not “right wing radicals.” These former liberals want get along with the media, and because the media, like themselves, are hostile to Conservatives, they help each other. They characterize themselves, with the help of the media, as “moderates” or “middle of the roaders” or “mainstream” or “sensible” or “pragmatic” or “responsible” or some other benign name, certainly not “Progressive.” Many of the people in this group are almost certainly political opportunists who have changed parties in conservative areas in order to be elected. When running for office they claim to be “conservative” after they win election, and are on the job, they vote “Progressive” with the Democrats. What these people are are political progressive wolves in conservative sheep’s clothing. Actually there is a far more frightening and destructive animal to use for a metaphor … the rhinoceros… they are “republicans in name only” … RINOs.
RINOs do great harm to the conservative cause of protecting our Federal Republic and therefore human freedom. They continuously thwart the true Conservative agenda. It is the RINOs who are the name callers and bearers of false witness in the Republican Party. I might be caught characterizing one of them as liberal, but I would not lend myself to publicly questioning their intelligence, demeanor or motives, even though it is obvious that they are as destructive to the cause of freedom as are the Democrats. It is people in the party like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who spread vitriol like “radical,” “terrorist,” “red-neck,” “stupid,” “hillbilly,” “gun nut,” “unrealistic,” and on and on. We conservatives expect that kind of ad hominem hubris from people who don’t have the intellectual weapons to defeat us with the facts, people like Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi, but should never have to face this kind of attack from our Republican brethren. Maybe this phenomenon can be explained by my old philosophical buddy, “Occam’s Razor.” Occam, as it does, cutting through the bull, would explain that the simplest answer is that these “Moderates” (Liberals) are philosophically more in tune with the “Progressive” movement than with Conservative Republican principles, whether they are personally aware of it or not.
There would be no “Obamacare” if it were not for the RINO Republican Senators, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter. When you have a problem like defunding Obamacare in the present Congress and House with leaders like John Beohner and Eric Cantor, you can make a high odds bet that the Republican Party will not make a stand, but will cave. It is a cinch that with the leadership leading a small minority of House RINOs to team up with ALL the democrats that the will of millions of Americans will be thwarted. This is how we lose, and it happens in city, county and state governments time and again and almost always in the Congress. The RINOS vote with the Democrats to enable the “Progressive” agenda. RINOs break an ethical trust with the thousands, no millions of Americans, that labor in politics, sometimes for a lifetime, who are trying to redirect our form of government back to the ideals given to us by our forefathers in the Constitution … Individual freedom and limited local government. Is it any wonder that people have such low esteem for Congress?
Is your Congressman or Senator a RINO? Listen to what they are saying. Of course they will say that they are opposed to Obamacare. But if they say that they want to “repeal” and “replace,” you can be assured that they are RINOs. Sure you and I want to repeal, but we sure as hell don’t want to replace. Socialized medicine is the lynchpin and crown jewel of Socialism. And all socialism is tyranny.