A RINO is a “Republican in name only” – and someone apparently used the term when they were talking about Mike Huckabee. He wasn’t too happy with that.
“Many of you used a term that I’d like to see outlawed from the vernacular of the party: RINO,” he said, calling it a “pejorative term” that questioned one’s purity…
“With all due respect, I’ve fought in the trenches of Republican politics for over two decades, but I wouldn’t pretend that I’m lord over determining who the real Republicans are versus the so-called RINOs,” he said…
Huckabee reminded his readers that Jesus once said that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” referring to the Gospel of Matthew…
“I’d rather have a loyal dog who licks me than one with a pedigree who bites me,” he added. “I’d rather go to battle with someone who isn’t perfect than with someone who thinks he is.”
I get why Huckabee is upset at being called a RINO. It is a pejorative. It’s meant to carry a very negative connotation. I also understand why Huckabee was called a RINO. (DON”T GET MAD AT ME.) He’s not a RINO in the Lindsey Graham/John McCain sense… he’s a RINO in a populist – economics sense. But I would hesitate to use the term to apply to him because his “flaws” don’t really reach RINO heights.
Actually, I get a lot of email from readers who agree with Huckabee about this. I often get not-so-polite “fan mail” telling me that I am the problem. Why? Because I divide Republicans instead of uniting them. I and others like me use words like RINO to support “weaker” Tea Party candidates that end up costing us influence. I don’t agree on two counts – first, I don’t think that backing Tea Party candidates weakens us because the RINO candidate is as bad as a moderate Democrat. Secondly, I don’t agree that I divide us because the RINO’s do the same thing to conservatives that we do to them.
Here’s the thing, the RINO term is really important. The Republican Party is no longer (if it was ever) a monolithic political entity. Sure there are liberal Republicans and conservative Republicans and we all fit in the tent because we fit here better than in the Democrat tent… but if we’re honest, we’d rather not be in the same tent with some Republicans. It’s not just us either. Republican politicians feel the same way.
Look at how John McCain’s little RINO cadre treat Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie and the rest of the new blood libertarian conservatives. Do you think McCain and Graham want those guys in our tent? (The answer is no…)
Another infamous RINO, John Boehner (R-OH), recently proved again that conservatives aren’t the only ones doing the dividing. Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX) revealed that Boehner called Rep. Steve King (R-IA) an a**hole for his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants.
On a day not too long after Boehner’s political body check of Steve King for his immigration comments, the speaker was milling around the aisle walkway in the middle section of the House floor where the Democratic and Republican territories meet. Another Texas Democrat and I were standing a few feet away, and as the speaker passed us we thanked him for denouncing King’s offensive comments. He slowed his stride and then paused to turn toward us. “What an asshole,” he said. My thoughts exactly, Mr. Speaker.
With friends like Boehner, McCain, Graham and other RINO’s, conservatives don’t really need enemies.
So, I’m sorry you had your feelings hurt Mr. Huckabee, but the term RINO stays. We need it.
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