A few years ago, conservatives disappointed with the statist brand of Republicanism that was becoming ever more prevalent in Washington, D.C., developed the term “RINO” and began branding big-spending, big-government Republicans with the term. It’s an acronym for Republican In Name Only.
The term was heard often during the 2008 Republican Presidential primary campaign and was used to describe John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and others. The term was also used to describe a number of House and Senate candidates targeted by the Tea Party in the 2010 midterm elections.
But the term is a fallacy that arises from a false premise: that the Republican Party is the party of small government. The fallacy developed during the Barry Goldwater years and picked up again with Ronald Reagan. Since Reagan, the party propaganda machine has done its job well, convincing the masses of something that is not and never has been so.
Goldwater, never a darling of the Republican establishment, fought the liberal (or Rockefeller) wing of the Republican Party and tried to drive it to the right. But in truth, the Republican establishment has always been about growing government, and that’s why neither Goldwater nor Reagan was embraced by the Party elites.
In other words, the Republican Party is and always has been a statist party. Now, Newt Gingrich is leading the Republican pack and trying to paint himself as a conservative. But Gingrich is a big-government, anti-gun insider who gamed the system for millions of dollars in lobbying fees by playing the corporatist game once he left Congress. In other words, Newt is no RINO. He’s Republican through and through, just like Romney, McCain, Giuliani, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, et al.
So Newt is no RINO. Nor is he conservative.