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I Hate and I Mean HATE The “RINO” Label.

Since when did we become the party of ideological purity and personal destruction? I am discouraged when I see good conservatives tag Republicans with the “RINO” label, in fact, it makes me fear that we will fall into the same trap the Democrats did throughout the first half of this decade. 

In 2006, Joe Lieberman was effectively tossed out of the Democrats. This proud liberal and generally good man (though I don’t agree with his politics) was deemed a “DINO” because he supported the war effort. 

Is it cool that John McCain seemed to get a kick out of thumbing the eyes of conservative Republicans? No, it was not cool. McCain could have had more moderate views without going out of his way to turn the knives in the backs of all the conservatives out there from time to time. If you looked at McCain’s overall record, he’s pretty conservative: he’s a fiscal hawk, he’s never voted to raise taxes (though he did not vote for the Bush tax cuts in ’01 and ’03, he voted for them in ’06) and he’s a staunch defender of the troops. To call McCain a RINO over Global Warming and Immigration reform is hypocritical considering President Bush has held generally liberal views on those two issues as well and to say that McCain is next to Satan because he passed McCain-Feingold is also a bit hypocritical considering President Bush was the one who signed it into law. If John McCain is RINO, then God help us ever trying to build another coalition of Independents and moderate/conservative Democrats! 

Now I think hyper-environmentalism is stupid, as I think we need stauncher enforcements of current immigration laws and we need McCain-Feingold overturned, but John McCain and people with his views has a welcome place in the Republican Party I view. 

I hate the RINO label because it goes against everything that conservatism stands for. Conservatism is about individuality, freedom and debate. It’s about federalism, so we recognize that while a Republican in rural Texas would pass the “Jesse Helms” test, a moderate but still pretty conservative Republican candidate in Maine might now. Conservatives should disagree about issues, because we’re supposed to be the side with ideas. We should figure out how to solve them we debate the ideas, take all the best ones and come up with a good solution that become our policies. I fear we’re becoming group thinkers like the Democrats. If Rush, Sean, Laura and Mike say it’s so, it must be so. 

We need to go back to our principles. Reagan was a strong conservative and he was able to win by huge margins because he did not exclude moderates, independents and conservative Democrats from the table. We can call each other out if we’re off track but If we ever want to build a majority coalition like Reagan’s again we need to stop trash talking eachother and stop using labels like “RINO” and get the show on the road arm-in-arm, side-by-side.

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