Tuesday, January 05, 2016


Donna B (I think) mentioned this in a December comment section, and I have pondered it and adopted it.  What conservatives call a RINO (and presumably, what progressives call a DINO) may be more a reference to a willingness to compromise than to actual policy positions.  Romney's position on immigration, Rubio's position on corporate welfare, Sanders's position on mortgage regulations, are less important to their supporters than the sense that he will/won't cave.  That very much ties in to an entire sense of tribal defense, or attack on the correct enemies, than on getting it right.

This changes everything, slightly.

I have wondered if time-travel with perfect knowledge could create a senator who could be elected indefinitely; because after the first two election failures with perfect predictions of what would be most important going forward, the third election would succeed and the fortress would be impregnable.  I have decided this would not be so*, not merely from cynicism of the crowd wanting bread and circuses, but because the role of tribal representative is valuable not only for decorative, but for cultural purposes.  People live their tribal lives now.  They want to protect their posterity and have some sense of what will do that, but they are not wired to respond to much beyond My Tribe, Now.

Update:  Donna says it was T99.

*Because John Sununu basically did that and then lost to a social studies teacher who votes the Party Line reliably.


Donna B. said...

Texan99, I think, rather than me. I'm pleased to be confused with her!

dmoelling said...

The problem isn't so much that people compromise but that the price of compromise is so low and often isn't based on any philosophical/political ideology promised in the campaign. DINO's exist but are tolerated because if their votes are needed in the Legislature they toe the line. This is seen often in fiscal conservative Democrats. Rubio didn't recognize that the issue wasn't just immigration but a broader "rule of law" concern. The Gang of Eight failed to see that the tolerance of mass law breaking by a protected group would just light off the other non-minority, non-multicultural groups who generally follow the rules. It also reinforced the idea that inside deals for cheap labor by large firms controlled the legislatures. Perhaps Senator Rubio's Cuban background where they were all legal (one dry foot policy) blinded him to the broader experience.

In my CT suburb, I generally see a lot of RINOs actively promoting their ability to work with the other party. In this case it is to promote all the social status activities favored by the Whole Foods crowd. The trend is to slip deals by under cover of regulation or obscure meetings in order to avoid discussing details and how they might conflict with the most basic principals of small government policy.

jaed said...

There's something I call the reflex cringe, that occurs when a Republican politician identifies tribally with the Republican Party, but doesn't generally agree with conservative positions and doesn't like conservatives, and has a fastidiousness about being potentially identified as Red Tribe.

The result is that this politician is potentially in weak agreement with conservative positions on [issue], but if he perceives that holding fast will cause people to think of him as one of those iggerant hillbilly gun-totin' [insert stereotype], he will cave immediately (and his public statements will probably be offensive to conservatives that the issue does matter to), because he just doesn't want to be thought of as that sort of person.

This is the kind of individual I tend to think of as a RINO. Chris Christie is a counterexample: he tends to have liberal positions, but (at least a few years ago) it was clear that he didn't care what people thought of him. When NJ teachers accused him of being heartless, anti-education, etc., he pushed back hard in support of his views instead of crumbling.