Special Bulletin. Au Revoir, But Not Goodbye

When RINOcracy.com began in 2013, I acknowledged several disagreements with the Republican Party. At the same time, I emphasized my Republican heritage:

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.

My aspiration was to support reform of the party from within: “RINOs let us unite and put our hides on the line to save our party from itself.” That aspiration may never have been quite realistic, but with the election of Donald Trump, it seems impossible for at least the foreseeable future. I have written extensively on the reasons why I believed Donald Trump to be unfit for the presidency, and while there is no point in reprising those comments here, I do not retract any of them and I am not content to remain in a party of which he is the head.  Accordingly, I intend to withdraw from the Republican Party and RINOcracy.com will become “A Haven for Republicans in Exile.”

I underestimated Trump as a candidate and it is possible that I underestimate him as a president. His victory speech was calm and gracious, one small step on a very long road, and we shall see. I do not expect to oppose President Trump reflexively on everything he says and does—as too many of my fellow Republicans did in the case of President Obama. He should be given as much support as he earns from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, including former Republicans. I will no longer claim that my support or disapproval is offered as a Republican, but I will retain the hope that one day the Republican Party will become an organization that I can rejoin with pride.

– Douglas M. Parker

21 thoughts on “Special Bulletin. Au Revoir, But Not Goodbye

  • Doug,

    I belatedly read — and belatedly respond to — your Au Revoir. I greatly admire your dedication to cogent analysis and reasonable discourse, both of which are under siege from multiple sources. As a result, we desperately need of people, like you, of intelligence, insight, and good faith to continue to comment on matters of public import. Donald Trump is singularly unfit to be president, and consequently this is a time of great danger. I am pleased that you will be continuing blog and encourage you, in your subtle and erudite way, to give them hell.

    Regards — Bob

  • So the first time I came here was after the election. I’m not naïve and don’t think there is any grassroots movement that could occur within the GOP in a short time period. However, I also think this is an unprecedented opportunity to rebrand what RINO is in a positive way in opposition to Trump and wings of the party that do not reject him. While I realize not everyone would share my assessment, I regard Trump as neo-fascist. Based on his words and actions during the campaign, he is alt-right, authoritarian, isolationist, protectionist, and a hyper-nationalist. There are going to be 52 GOP senators. The moderates cannot break off 3 to block him? I realize most of the time there will be zero attempt at obstructing Trump, and that screams about a problem in the GOP base. If there is so little power in the moderate portions of the GOP to mount serious opposition to Trump due to fears of the right wing portion of the base, that is really pathetic. I have a lot of thought on the matter but I’ll summarize to prevent myself from rambling. First, the RINO’s have a brand problem. If you look online and look up RINO, all sorts of right wing sites are calling out elected officials they consider RINO’s and talking about targeting them in primaries. RINO is a disparaging term, and it really needs to be the opposite (I know, part of the purpose of the site). Second, I’m probably more moderate or progressive than most that would come to this site…but I am here after this election, pissed about the complete failure of the democratic system, not because Clinton didn’t win (she’s a seriously flawed candidate) but because no healthy democratic system should give us those choices, a flawed candidate and a flawed human being with strong fascist tendencies. When else is there ever going to be such a gag reflex among moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans, third parties, and independents to the current state of the GOP than now? The democrats are completely out of power, and there is nowhere else to oppose this regime than from within the GOP. If I am off-base, in fantasy land, etc…I can go away and just oppose this version of the GOP at every step, but I think, especially with America’s changing demographics, there has to be a more progressive wing of the GOP to emerge, and I would rather fight there than anywhere else.

  • New York Times….yesterday…..Mr . Brooks suggested a third party is the solution….may be he is right….it is a possible answer to the Republican Party

  • Doug, as a Liberal I’ve always found your deliberations and those of your followers very enlightening and thought-provoking. But, frankly, I don’t view the near future (i.e., next 4 to 8 years – maybe more) of our society and government with any optimism and find myself reflecting on the possibly Happiest Man in the Country today: Carl Rove. He who, some years back declared it his life’s mission to make America an irreversibly conservative country. With Trump assuming the reigns of the Executive Office paired with an entrenched right-wing Congress, he will have the conservative Supreme Court he always dreamt of and our Beloved Country will become a single-party tyranny – and very possibly a plutocracy (which I believe it very-nearly is now). Pray for our children.

  • Doug, it’s been a long slog – while I always have been an enthusiastic Democrat – yes, even for Hillary – I also have always respected your positions, and enjoyed your blog. And will continue to enjoy it. I’m a little shell-shocked today – probably should go watch the Chathamania dvd again.

  • Doug, reading today’s blog was like reading the obituary of an old friend from whom one has been estranged for some time. I thoroughly understand you position, and it has encouraged me to re-evaluate my relationship with the Republican party. Officially I have been an Independent, but with strong Republican leanings: Goldwater (once), Nixon (twice), Reagan (twice), George H.W. Bush (once), Bob Dole (once) and George W. Bush (once), George W. Bush drove me into the arms of the Democrats. I haven’t voted for a Republican for federal office since 2002. I watched with dismay as the GOP leadership and red meat members purged the party of moderates in their quest for political purity. Gone was Lee Atwater’s concept of the big tent. In its place was a sweat lodge for the party’s elite. They paid great lip service to balancing the budget but never did. It was Bill Clinton who balanced the budget and gave W a $200-billion surplus. Rather than pult it away for a rainy day, which came on 9/11, he took it as a sign that taxes were too high and spent every penny of it and then delved into the deficit spending piggy bank. His spending spree did not end until the close of his administration and the Great Recession when he had to cough up a trillion bucks to bail out the economy.
    The Republicans have squandered all moral rights to govern. It’s time to devote our efforts to the Democrats. They can’t do much worse. Can they?

  • Hi Doug,
    It is with regret that I read of your departure from the Republican Party. It is with glee that you will continue this blog.
    The name of the blog is immaterial. The opportunity for discussion and debate is a wonderful goal for which to strive.
    My disagreement with some of your positional pronouncements may well, and probably will continue.
    However, your lucid, well founded, erudite messages have given me the incentive to think more deeply on issues of importance. Thank you for that.
    I believe the phrase is vox populi. I think it behooves all of us to pray/wish that the Devine will moderate, titrate and give wisdom and guidance to all peoples within His Tent.
    Ironically, today and tomorrow are the special days that my club celebrate, Tee It Up For The Troops and The Folds of Honor. It is because of these great Americans that we can have these discussions with out fear and despair.
    Thanks for ” Listening”

  • Like you I am a born and bred Republican. I remember my disappointment at Teague F ten when Alfred London went down to complete and unexpected defeat. I remained a Republican until “W” made an independent of me. I am also aware that prosperity has been greater lately with Democrats like Bill Clinton and Obama.
    However I don’t see how any thinking individual can help but look askance on the future. When I see as I have laborers with their radios celebrating at their work places, I pray the that the lord may protect them. Let’s hope they have some sort of job a year from now!

  • I also “left” the GOP some years ago, for varied reasons that would be only self-serving to relate, but tended to still vote for moderate right-of-center types, most of whom ran as Republicans because they felt they needed the support of a political party’s structure and financial resources. In our local paper this morning, an editorial put it (for me) so well. The Republican Party had become unsustainable, and now with The Donald as it’s supposed leader, it’s new form is also unsustainable. We can either let others shape its destiny, or try and be a voice for a return to economic growth and prosperity for all through job creation and fairness of opportunity. People like Henry Blodgett, Editor in Chief of the internet’s Business Insider, are trying to do just that. A number of 50-ish CEO’s are beginning to rally to his banner. There is therefore perhaps hope.

    In the history of the planet, every maturing world power has moved in some way toward, but not always all the way to, the Left, some violently and some gracefully. Any new Republican format must recognize this. I’m a member of the bygone “silent generation”, but will continue to speak out toward these ends, keeping my mind set as an Independent unless and until drawn irresistibly back into the GOP fold. FWIW

  • I absolutely Agee with Doug Parker and hope that we have greatly underestimated Donald Trump but I doubt it.

  • I’ve long said, “I’m not a Republican, I’m a conservative.” I am still registered as a Republican, I want to be able to vote in the primary for a Republican who is a conservative. Fat lot of good it did this year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, they have always been worthwhile to read and ponder.

  • The unraveling of both parties began decades ago and caused me to leave the Republicans after the re-election of
    George W. As I observed my changing views, I became increasingly confused as to what label belonged to which group, and today it seems that last nights election wasn’t about philosophies but about lies, degradation and fear mongering.
    When my girls were small I was concerned about the unrealistic message some cartoons presented by showing characters being murdered and instantly rising to fight on. From that time I have watched humiliation of others become the indicator of success; i.e. reality shows – Survivor, The Apprentice and social media. We have become divorced from the cause and effect of our actions toward others causing us to lose sight of what is important. Few of us have served, or care to serve, within a bureaucracy, but we can serve humanity by being compassionate knowing that each of us has trials and can’t always step up to the plate as we would choose. It’s not about what others do or don’t do, but about what we do that counts.
    Doug, thank you for providing a platform for discussion. Perhaps it won’t continue as a political one, but I hope it will continue.

  • Doug, I think you made the right decision to leave the Republican Party and am very pleased you will continue your blog as “Republicans in Exile.” I’m afraid Trump’s rise to power has left many of us in exile from both of the major parties. It is inconceivable to me that Donald Trump will be a successful president. Not only because of his profound ignorance of world affairs. More so, because he lacks good character, as evidenced by his entire career as a sleazy real estate tycoon and TV celebrity. I don’t think one gets good character by winning an election.

    I am particularlly concerned that Trump will dismantle environmental protection and conservation, and let the big banks run amok. So we’re entering s strange interlude and a throwback to the robber barons.

    On the positive side, Trump will not have untrammeled power to wreck our country. The other branches of our government and the inherent constraints in the Executive Branch will keep him in check. If he screws up, the Democrats may take back the House of Reps in the mid-term elections. Our democracy is stronger than any chief executive and our people will be heard if Trump attempts to run the WH like a gambling casino or a TV set where he can “get whatever [he] wants” whenever he wants it.

    We have suffered under many bad or feckless presidents including Grant, Harding, Taft, Coolidge, Hoover, Nixon, Carter and G.W. Bush. Trump will either shape up, surrounding himself with able and pragmatic cabinet ministers and staff, or he will become very small, if not completely irrelevant, in the first 100 days.

    My hope is that his administration will move the country forward. But I would be lying if I said I really believed that was likely. Despite her shortcomings, as was evident in her concession speech today, Hillary Clinton would have been a far superior national and world leader.

    Looking forward to your new blog.

  • I greatly respect your decision, Doug, and the sentiments behind it. While I stopped labeling myself as a Republican some time ago, I would like to think I can speak for my lifelong Republican father and his long lineage of Republican descendants, some of whom fought for the Union in the Civil War, that they too would question the direction of the party at this time. Trump won, I believe, because he was the only candidate speaking to and fully capturing the anti-establishment, change-oriented mood of the electorate. Both parties have failed in meeting the current needs of the nation, both need to make basic changes. Those espoused so far, however, by Trump, constitute a fundamental threat to our human decency as well as our constitutional system.

  • You made the effort and fought the good fight and I am grateful for that. We Democrats have a lot of soul searching to do and the years ahead will be I fear painful but we must all fight on for decency and balance in our governmen. Thank you Doug and Go Cubs Go

  • Doug, it appears your instinctively a Republican but its been apparent that your heart is not in it, at least since I’ve been reading your blog. A good judge of one’s leaning is where they see the faults: you have noted all the faults with Trump, ad nauseam, while glossing over, ignoring, and never discussing those of Hillary’s. And the funny thing even after reading your blog for the last couple of years I don’t know what you believe in, just what you don’t. I think you are doing your self and maybe the Republican party a disservice by continuing to be a Democratic in Republican clothing. I think you may do more good by coming out of the closet, admit your Liberal leanings, and try to bring some sense to the Democratic Party.

    • Andrew – perhaps you were not around when the Republicsn Party was a big tent, including a liberal wing. The party elected many great and progressive leaders including Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower. Gerald Ford was an excellent president and a moderate. Without the support of Republican Senator Everett Dirksen, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have been enacted. That’s the party we need in the future. Best. -Roger

  • I left the GOP some time back–either 1988 or 1992–I’m not sure which. Couldn’t stand the subtext of homophobia and demeaning rhetoric at the GOP convention that year. I think George H. W. Bush was a good president who represented higher ideals, not the bigotry of those who nominated him. Now it’s the other way around.

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