Can Someone Please Explain to Me Who's a 'RINO' and Who's Not a 'RINO' in the Republican Party?

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As I’ve said in the past, I’ve never been a fan of the silliness of labeling political opponents. This is not to be confused with humorous “nicknames” — the most clever of which I enjoy, and have coined a few — but rather attempting to paint an adversary into a particular corner defined by you. Third-party “you,” that is.


And of course, the most popular label by far among certain factions of the Republican Party is “RINO.”

The definition of  “RINO” — Republican in Name Only — not only used to be easy to understand; it was easy to identify Republicans who fit the RINO mold. In the 1990s, Pennsylvanian Senator Arlen Specter was a perfect example. While Specter was a registered Republican, he generally sided with the Democrats.

But in the Age of Trump, everything changed, including the definition of RINO — for which Trump himself was responsible. So now, any Republican who isn’t sufficiently “Trumpy” is immediately labeled a “RINO” by Trump and/or his followers. Fine. Labelers gonna label.

Fine, that is, until four days and 15 ballots last week, finally culminating in the election of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Throughout the back-and-forth deal-making, which nearly lead to at least one physical altercation, the definition of RINO got really confusing. Trump and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, both of whom have tossed out “RINO” ad hominems more times than filmmaker Michael Moore has been to McDonald’s, staunchly supported McCarthy, who multitudinous Trump supporters have called a RINO, with even far-right One American Network News calling the Republican Leader a “CCP (Chinese Communist Party) RINO.”


“Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander called Marjorie Taylor Greene a “harlot and liar” for supporting McCarthy’s bid, as innumerable MAGA Republicans.

And Trump being Trump, he’s now taking credit for McCarthy’s win, which is not to suggest he didn’t play a role. Before anyone goes off on that statement, let me clarify: Crediting others for a job well done is one thing. Constantly taking credit is another, McCarthy credited Trump, ironically two years to the day after the duo allegedly got into at least one expletive-laden argument over the Capitol riot as it was occurring. No value judgment, just sayin’.

So again, who’s a RINO, and who’s not a RINO in the GOP? Or, can Republicans be RINOs sometimes, but not other times, depending on who they support or what positions they take at various times? Very confusing. Silly labels: you gotta love ’em. Or not.

Incidentally, Trump-backed South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace absolutely blistered fellow Trump-backer Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fl.) for his performance during the four-day, 15-ballot marathon, calling Gaetz a “fraud“:

Matt Gaetz is a fraud. Every time he voted against Kevin McCarthy last week he sent out a fundraising email. What you saw last week was a constitutional process diminished by those kinds of political actions.


On a side note, while Gaetz has been lauded by some as standing firmly on his demands throughout the marathon, at least until the final vote, he reminds us of that spoiled kid we knew in high school who was always the loudest in the classroom as if the volume of his voice made what he said seem to be more important than the other kids’ voices.

Either way, I’m out on this one.


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