If a RINO is a Republican in name only, the opposite is someone with traditional conservative values who doesn’t identify as a Republican. Who are these people? Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Independents, and even conservatives who’ve given up on the system and no longer register to vote. My esteemed friend, the Sidewinder, refers to them as apostate Republicans. Most of them wouldn’t be caught dead voting for a Democrat but, for whatever reason, they’re disenfranchised from the Republican party. Some of them quixotically vote for third party candidates. Others, more cynical, don’t vote at all.
Why should Republicans care? After all, these apostates are not true believers. If they did come uninvited to the party, they’d no doubt be disparaged as RINOs. But can the party really afford to be so exclusive? Apostates though they may be, they’re also voters, or at least potential voters, and their numbers are inexorably increasing while mainstream Republicans are on the decline. (Look at the results of the last election, and consider the consequences if that happens again.)
I’m not advocating voting for RINOs, when there are true conservative options. But the last thing the Republican party can afford is to drive the RINOs away. The party can’t continue to view itself as a members-only club, or a church of true believers, while the Democrats set themselves up as a populist block party, everybody welcome, with free food (and healthcare) for anyone who’d rather get something for free than work hard to earn something better.
There are still a lot of people who share the traditional values on which our country was founded. But many of them are drifting away from the Republican center of gravity, and it’s going to take a concerted effort to reach out and draw them in. It’s time to start focusing on what we all have in common, rather than what separates us.
I’m an apostate, myself. I’ve been a libertarian for 28 years (and no, I don’t support Ron Paul). But I’m registering Republican this year because I’m so disturbed by the Democrats’ misguided agenda, and so apprehensive that they will prevail, that I see a real need for conservatives of all persuasions to form a united front to defeat them.
I’m not particularly partial to any of the remaining Republican candidates, but I tend to favor Giuliani. He’s got the strongest position on the economy and on national security, and he has a record of getting things done. (Does anybody remember the 1976 movie Taxi Driver, when Travis Bickle, a New York cabbie, said “Someday a real rain will come, and wash all this scum off the streets?” Well, the real rain did come, and it was Rudy Giuliani.) But, at this point, I’ll support whichever one wins the nomination. An actual elephant would no doubt be best, but even a RINO is better than a donkey bearing a staggering socialist agenda.