A lot has been written about those "R.I.N.O. Republicans."
These "Republicans in Name Only," have drawn criticism from several quarters. In summary, they can best be described as "fiscal conservatives with more progressive social leanings." In past times, they have wielded perhaps more influence on the party than their numbers justified.
Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware was scorned by the Tea Party due in part to his "yea" vote on "Cap and Trade." Chris Coons, the eventual winner in the general election was "miles left" of Castle. Still most participants in the Republican primary concluded that it was better to nominate a "true believer" such as Christine O'Donnell than settle for "R.I.N.O. Castle. Did R.I.N.O.s in that state vote for Coons? Some did! GOP experts such as Karl Rove pointed out accurately that Castle's chances in the general election would have been better than O'Donnell's.
Establishment Republicans were quick to say that Sharon Angle was not the best opponent for Harry Reid in the Nevada Senate race. The thinking was, a more centrist choice like Danny Tarkanian would do better with Independents. As it turned out, Angle swooned in the late going, her evident alienation of Latino voters a probable cause. But based on her 11th hour lead in the polls, one could surmise that some R.I.N.O.s might have voted for Harry Reid.
Colorado's Lt. Governor,Jane Norton, a former Reagan and George H.W. Bush official was edged out by Ken Buck in the Republican primary. Buck, the Tea Party choice lost ground with a fraction of female voters allowing Obama appointee, Michael Bennett to win narrowly. Could R.I.N.O's have been a part of Bennett's triumph?
In retrospect, if Castle, Norton and Tarkanian had been the Republican nominees, the GOP might have won all three races. As a result, they would control the Senate today. Any conservative would admit that Castle, Norton and Tarkanian would have been preferable to Reid, Coons and Bennett. The morale of the story: "Don't buck the party leadership!"
Of course, there were two Senate races, being Kentucky and Florida, that did not go the Establishments' way. Charlie Crist, the then popular governor of Florida was drilled by charismatic, Marco Rubio. Mitch McConnell Disciple, Trey Grayson was routed by Rand Paul in the GOP primary. Paul went on to defeat Democrat, Jack Conway by 12 points in the general election. Rubio's November victory may have been even more impressive. Slated against both Crist(who switched to Independent) and Democrat, Kendrick Meek, he garnered 52% of the total vote. He finished with 58% of the female vote.
Both Rubio and Paul were "Tea Party" candidates. While Paul has accepted the role as "poster boy" of the Tea Party, Rubio has maintained that the "Tea Party is a mainstreet, not Washington organization."
We can remember the Tea Party support for Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election. Brown gratefully accepted the help. Once elected, he played the polls, knowing that his state had voted him in primarily because they already had health care, courtesy of his friend and supporter, Mitt Romney. Brown has been the consistent R.I.N.O. and is hardly to blame for it. He is up for election next year. His voting record will be difficult for Democrats to challenge. He may not be what "hard core" conservatives would have wished for. But, as former, Pro-English.Org Director and Bay State resident, Jayne Cannava put it, "with Massachusetts, Scott Brown is about as good as you're going to get if you are a Republican!"
The question becomes, "Does this somewhat awkward marriage between Tea Party and Establishment represent the single road to victory?" It might appear that way! At least on the surface. Probing deeper we come to the inevitible discovery: "If there are Republicans in name only, are there not Democrats in name only?" As in "D.I.N.O.s!"
Yes! They are the opposite end of the spectrum, the true wild cards.
Let us examine these "D.I.N.O. Democrats." They are fiscally progressive, yet socially conservative. This amounts to favoring a progressive tax system, social security, medicare and medicaid solvency. Bluntly put, they want their entitlements protected. At the same time, these D.I.N.O. Democrats oppose same sex marriage, favor strong immigration standards and are pro life. They want "a safety net." But they likewise want government to stay out of their way.
Republicans share the desire to make social security, medicare and medicaid solvent. Paul Ryan and company did offer a plan. Perhaps it's not the perfect plan, but it's a start. D.I.N.O's listen and are close to being convinced. Then, the GOP Congress decides that 99 weeks of eligible unemployment entitlements are too much. They propose legislation allowing states to pull the plug on recipients in favor of deficit reduction. Bad move and consistent with Democrats' claim that "Republicans lack compassion."
Democrats tout that the country has avoided adopting an immigration policy. But their alternative seems to always begin with amnesty! Not good! D.I.N.O.s are equally unhappy with current regulatory standards that have resulted in jobs being shipped overseas. For this, they blame "out of touch, liberal" members of their own party.
So where do the D.I.N.O.s stand? And what does their preference have to do with potential alliances with either Establishment or Tea Party Republicans?
Many Tea Party members are not Republicans. A large number are Indepedents. Some are Democrats. The idea behind protecting entitlements has never been scorned by Tea Party or Establishment Republicans. The difference may be in the notion that "entitlements are synonymous with excessive spending and big government." Is that true?
When Rand Paul presented his controversial budget plan, he called for eliminating the Education Department sans Pell Grants. In other words, entitlements continued. But the duplication of efforts(federal and state) ceased. D.I.N.O.s understand this. And here lies the fear for Democrats: "If the message of "reducing the cost of government" without reducing entitlements can be effectively transmitted, D.I.N.O.s are swayable! Ronald Reagan knew this. But he was careful not to link "recovery" with middle class Americans losing what they currently enjoyed. D.I.N.O.s were referred to then as "Reagan Democrats." They equated Jimmy Carter and the Democrats as the party of high taxes, needless regulation and big government. They spoke.
It is probable that 90% or more D.I.N.O. Democrats would favor the "E" Amendment. To them, English as the official language is "way past due!" "eliminating constitutional costs" does nothing but take power away from the courts; which is fine by them! The thought of illegal aliens having a "carte blanche" on entitlements outrages these voters.
Many Tea Party members have Libertarian leanings. The best way to increase freedom is to reduce the size and cost of government. Dismantling the federal bureaucracy, downsizing parts of it while eliminating others works. D.I.N.O. Democrats do not have a problem with this. Many still recall an overreaching federal government that outlawed school prayer while mandating busing. In today's economy the F.D.A. and the E.P.A. are seen as a "job killers."
Historically the D.I.N.O. Democrats have been somewhat "hawkish" where national defense is concerned. Reagan took advantage of this. But things may be changing. There seems to be more of a "mind your own business, look after your own" mentality taking hold in America. This is not good news for Establishment Republicans! But the Tea Party may hold many of these same convictions.
The "magic seed" found in every D.I.N.O. heart is the question of education. There is mounting concern for the runaway cost of a college education. Furthermore, there is the worry that traditional "good jobs" may be gone forever by way of outsourcing. There is the longing for a time past, where a grand living could be made with a trade. No more! To attempt to comprehend the concept of a global economy may be an impossibility. To D.I.N.O.s, it translates to greed. If big business can get people to do "a job and-a-half" for the "price of a job," they will. And, if they can get someone abroad to do a job for three dollars per hour as opposed to twenty, they'll do it. Surprisingly, most D.I.N.O.'s favor right to work.
Tea Partiers may look at these D.I.N.O.s as potential allies in reshaping America; and for good reason! They are threatened. They are somewhat bewildered. They are growing angrier by the day. There is a question of " can we still right a ship that is presumably destined to leave us behind?"
D.I.N.O. Democrats seek a solution that protects their basic interests first. It begins with a plan that includes "retention of existing benefits, good jobs and affordable education." This delivered, the remainder of the Democrat agenda can be compromised.
In short, the R.I.N.O.s have money, power and have traditionally run the Republican Party. The D.I.N.O.'s maintain their registration as Democrats but it is wavering. In addition to supporting Reagan, they supported both Bushes and McCain. They are growing more and more disillisioned by the Democrats gradual drift to the left. If Tea Party strategists can find a way to answer the education riddle, while not compromising their entitlements, they're in! And if they are, due to sheer numbers, the dynamics of the GOP will change.
In 2008 many R.I.N.O.s voted for Barack Obama. Conservative Republicans will never again truly trust them! It is safer to encourage an exodus of D.I.N.O.s to GOP ranks. This could change the "party of Wall Street to the party of Main Street."
There are more D.I.N.O.s than R.I.N.O.s. It would take only a fraction of them to sufficiently replace defecting R.I.N.O.s. In close races such as Nevada, Colorado and Delaware a fraction is all that would be needed.
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