Who’s the RINO?


By Dr. Harold A. Black



Are you a RINO?

I hate the term “RINO” (Republican in name only). As I have noted before, the voting records of the most conservative – or should I say least liberal – Democrat in the Senate are more liberal than the voting records of the least conservative senators. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are vilified by those on the far right, but those three senators all voted for Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. They also have consistently voted against left-wing bills in the Senate while those in the Democrat caucus have had a united front.

I am a Republican because I am a laissez-faire, free market, free trade, government with a small “g” economist. “The Wealth of Nations” was the most influential book in my college years and shaped my thinking. Subsequent empirical evidence has confirmed most microtheory and shown Adam Smith to be correct. Government interference in market decisions is always suboptimal. Industrial policy is a failure. Economic freedom, private property and the freedoms enumerated in the Constitution have led to the lifting out of poverty and economic advancement of millions, perhaps billions. Yes, this country is not perfect but rather than being ashamed of its faults, I am proud of its accomplishments. Yes, my African ancestors were enslaved, survived the middle passage and were dehumanized but their fortitude, grit and determination made me what I am today. If they had not been brought here, I would likely be scraping the soil for cobalt in the Congo for $5 per day.

I see the Democrats and the so-called progressives as the major impediment to the economic progress of all people, not just minorities. The climate “existential” threat agenda, public schools, the welfare state, the administrative state all conspire to keep minorities impoverished. Their policies are anathema to what I believe and know to be right. I feel that to be a Republican one must have similar values although I wonder sometimes. Our Washington politicians are mostly big government, tax and spenders regardless of party. The Republicans are just a little less so than the Democrats. Republicans should unite around basic principles rather than carry on internecine warfare amongst themselves over issues that are trivial in comparison. It is a tragedy that social issues have come to dominate Republican politics. One’s fealty to the party is now judged on issues such as abortion and gun control rather than economic ones. We can no longer disagree and those who do are deemed less than pure and are called RINOS. That is a disservice and leads to the wildly dysfunctional Republican caucus in the House of Representatives. Isn’t it ironic that the small group that considers itself “pure” voted with AOC and all the Democrats to oust Kevin McCarthy from the speakership and with the Democrats on killing the FISA bill? Now some of that same bunch who once touted Speaker Johnson as a “true conservative” want to oust him because he actually wants to govern and the only way to do that is to work with the Democrats.

I have three modest proposals. First, any motion to vacate should have with it a nominee for speaker. Second, the splinter group of Republicans should change parties and cross over to the Democrats. Then they can create havoc among their true adversaries. They could then prevent any Democrat from becoming speaker. They could torpedo any leftist legislation. They could finally do some good. The third is for the Republicans to unite around the issues that are truly important and sue the executive over the border, Biden’s abuse of executive orders, the out-of-control federal agencies, the federal debt and the issuances of mandates that exceed their authority. But no, they are letting the Republican attorneys general sue instead rather than acting like responsible adults. Some are more interested in news clips and publicity. Surely interviews on Fox News and CNN shouldn’t be more important than governing.

Lastly, to me, any Republican who does not believe in the basic conservative principles outlined above is a true RINO. Yet RINO is now being used to label people who do not agree with Donald Trump who has called otherwise conservative politicians RINOs. But what about someone who hates free trade, imposes tariffs on our allies, threatens national security by trashing our alliances, and allows big businesses to stay open while shuttering small ones during a pandemic? That is a person opposed to conservative principles. Is that person a RINO? If so, then Donald Trump is a RINO.