RINO: It is a popular acronym among conservatives who ponder political intricacies. “Republican in name only” designates those elected officials or party members whose liberal leanings outshine their conservative values - like favoring big spending or big government, for example.
Hey, is this guy an authentic Republican, or a sneaky RINO? That’s what critics typically want to know. In the age of fractured demographics, divided loyalties and close elections, those critics have a point.
Yet RINO has now become a rallying cry for Republican Party unity - at least according to former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who wants his fellow Republicans to stop using the term.
“What’s the Republican Party’s biggest obstacle in this year’s elections? Republicans! With Benghazi, Obamacare, NSA spying, al Qaeda and the still-staggering economy, 2014 should be a record year for the GOP. But they risk disaster if they let the primaries be hijacked by ad campaigns by groups that don’t target Democrats, but fellow Republicans who aren’t ‘pure’ enough,” Mr. Huckabee declared on his Facebook page, and in several other spots.
“And one term that I’d like to see outlawed from the vernacular of the party is RINO. It stands for ‘Republicans in name only’ and it’s a pejorative term that questions the authenticity and orthodoxy of someone’s party purity. I’ve been called that myself, even though I fought in the trenches of Republican politics for over two decades. Even so, I would never pretend that I’m lord over determining who the real Republicans are,” Mr. Huckabee concluded.
Yes, well. Historic records indicate RINO was part of the vernacular as early as the 1920s - with sporadic use in the 1950s, and during the Reagan administration. RINO appeared in print for the first time in the Nashua Telegraph - a New Hampshire newspaper - in 1992.