This is a website for RINOs.
For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the political world, RINO is a term sometimes applied to Republicans who are deemed insufficiently committed to this or that “principle” of the current Republican Party. Hence, in their view: Republicans In Name Only. While intended as a term of derision (or worse), it is a label I bear proudly. As I wrote in a letter to the New York Times published in April 2013, my motto is: “RINOs, let us unite and put our hides on the line to save our party from itself.” Bold words, I later thought, but apart from the occasional letter to the editor, what am I doing about it? This blog is the answer. A very small step indeed, but possibly one that might encourage others.
What are my credentials? First, the Republican part. I have been a Republican all my life. I recall (or possibly I just recall being told) that in 1940, at the age of five, I joined the family in listening to the Republican convention on the radio and added my small voice to the broadcast chorus of “We want Wilkie.” Several years later, as soon as I was eligible to vote, I became a registered Republican and have remained one ever since. Along the way, I served in the Nixon and Ford Administrations in various positions in the White House (including the Counsel’s Office) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Finally, after retiring to Cape Cod in 1995, I was elected to serve on a Republican Town Committee.
So why am I a RINO? In a nutshell, I am pro-choice, pro gay rights and pro gun control. If that were not enough, I do not share the view of the Grover Norquist wing of the Party that any tax increase, on anyone, at any time, for any reason, is a bad idea. Along with Alan Simpson, I believe that increased tax revenues are needed as a part of the approach to our fiscal problems. Those ideas and others will be expanded upon, explained and defended in this blog. In order to be a RINO, though, it is not necessary to share all of my heretical notions. One or two is probably enough: the RINO tent is a big one. (Indeed, even non-Republicans are welcome as “Associate RINOs” if they feel they might become Republicans one day.)
Given my views, some might ask why am I not a Democrat or at least an Independent. The answer is that, in many respects, I remain a more or less traditional Republican. I reject the view of many Democrats that the sole answer to our fiscal difficulties is increasing taxes on “the rich” and that redistributing income through the internal revenue code is the preferred solution to the problems of growing income inequality. Also unlike many Democrats, I believe that “Entitlements” (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) are an unsustainable burden on the national economy and must be significantly reformed to be preserved. I also share the perception of my fellow Republicans that Democrats believe that most social problems are best addressed by complicated (and frequently overlapping) federal programs that require the maximum number of bureaucrats to administer. The most significant initiative of the Obama Administration, the Affordable Health Care Act, had worthy objectives, but in practice seems increasingly to be exposed as an expensive and cumbersome apparatus that cannot be sustained. (Readers of a certain age may recognize an analogy to devices created by Rube Goldberg.)
An Independent, of course, is free to be critical of both parties—as I often am. And if I were transplanted from another country (or planet), that’s where I might be most comfortable. But apart from my personal history as a Republican, our politics have been, and remain, very much organized around the two party system. Notwithstanding the gridlock of recent years, that system has served us pretty well and, in any event, there do not seem to be any plausible alternatives in sight. Thus, to be a full participant in American politics, it is useful, if not essential, to belong to one of the two major parties. Put another way, I think that survival of the Republican Party is in the national interest and its survival may depend on the Party changing its course in some respects. And whatever small influence I might have in advocating such change is more likely to have some effect from within than without.
My intention is to write something more or less weekly but not on a fixed schedule, at least at the outset. I also intend to be fairly brief, perhaps 1000 words or less. The first blog on a specific topic will appear in the next several days.
I will welcome comments, including disagreements (see “Leave a Reply” below each post), with only a couple of limitations. Commenters should be willing to have their comment published under their full name (not just a cyber nickname). Lively rhetoric, in agreement or disagreement, will be expected and appreciated, but I will screen out any comments that are profane, ad hominem (toward me or anyone else) or needlessly unpleasant.
-Douglas M. Parker