(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! — Robert Burns
As I sit here watching the political infighting among Republicans I can see why they remain a minority party. One of the key words I here is RINO. The concept is that the individual is a Republican for the purpose of getting elected. It is a matter of perspective. Bob Dole mused that when he was deciding to run for County Attorney he weighed the number of Republican voters as opposed to Democratic voters in Russell County.
Now I would point out that in 1956, George Docking, a lifelong Republican, having been previously rebuffed for the Republican nomination for Governor of Kansas, registered and filed as a Democrat. The term DINO was not used. He won and his son Bob also won as a Democrat. Back then the lines were not drawn as sharply as in the national parties.
Jim Pearson, whose Republican credentials no one questions, switched from the Democratic Party to be appointed and thereafter elected as a United States Senator from Kansas.
Joan Finney, a Republican County Commissioner in Shawnee County, became upset when her mentor Frank Carlson did not support her for Second District Representative. She became a Democrat and ran for State Treasurer. She was elected and reelected and eventually elected Governor.
For a good deal of my life the major parties have been non-ideological. I identify as a Goldwater, conservative and see individual liberty, not populist family values, as defining my philosophy. What that may mean is that I will be at odds with those in power—and I have been a Republican longer than many of them have been alive.
The problem I see is that some of the Republicans calling others RINO are basically Populists in the guise of conservatives. Those who know history know that the Populists, with the aid of the Secretary of State, took control of the legislature until the Kansas Supreme Court certified the results of the County Clerks (whose authority is not subordinate to that of the Secretary of State) and the Republicans, aided by Winchester Arms, took the Statehouse back.
Now that Romney has been nominated he has become the “conservative” answer to Obama. That is not what the “conservatives” were saying at the time of the primaries and the caucuses. So what we have is a “center left” Romney as opposed to a “hard left” Obama, both of whom would have fewer problems with a Democratic Congress than a Republican one.
To find a conservative candidate we need to go back to 1964. No, Ronald Reagan was not a conservative, he was a Teddy Roosevelt progressive with conservative—even some libertarian—tendencies. Look at the record. Call him RINO. No, nor would anyone call Teddy Roosevelt who had plans to amend the Constitution to centralize power in the executive a RINO. They are part of the Pantheon.
And the question is: what happened to the “big tent” after it let in southern populists? And are Republicans going to get elected by trashing other Republicans?