This is the classic taunt among Democrats:
"The Republican Party needs to broaden its tent."
Or how about this one:
"The Republican Party needs to accept RINOS-- Republicans in Name Only."
Other terms have also suggested that the party needs to go easy on the social issues, that the party needs to be “less bigoted”, to get rid of its "dark vein of intolerance", as moderate black Republican Colin Powell suggested on an episode of "Meet the Press".
The Republican Party does not need to broaden its tent. In fact, Republicans have to stop taking their cues from the Mainstream Media, and start looking at the Party itself. There is plenty of room under the big GOP tent. There is plenty of room based on fundamental principles. Rather than litmus tests, a simple standard will enable men and women throughout the country number themselves with the GOP, no matter what their race, creed, or even their color.
Despite his scandalous private conduct, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pitched perfectly that there is plenty of room in the GOP. During the 2004 Republican National Convention, Schwarzenegger described how he became a Republican:
"Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak was a breath of fresh air."
When Schwarzenegger found out that Nixon was a Republican, the Austrian immigrant declared:
"Then I am a Republican."
In the next part of his speech, he explained to the audience and the country that everyone is welcome to the Republican Party, no matter where they have come from. He reached out to immigrants, especially, a telling move which the Republican National Leaders need to heed even more.
Refuting the empty prattle about "RINO"s, Schwarzenegger set the simple standard that should define every person who wishes to join.
"You do not agree with every issue of this party."
The first statement should be the standard on every Republican office. The idea of big tent is not a new one at all. Then the former Governor delineated:
"How do you know if you are a Republican?
"If you believe that the government should be accountable to the people,
not the people to the government. . .
"If you believe that a person should be treated as an individual, not as a
member of an interest group. . .
"If you believe that your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does. . .
"If you believe that our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children, . . .
"If you believe that this country, and not the United Nations, is the best
hope for democracy, then you are a Republican. . .
"If you believe that we must be fearless and relentless to terminate terrorism. . .
"Other ways you can tell you are a Republican. . .
"Your faith in free enterprise, your faith in the resources of the American people, faith in the US economy.
"Then you are a Republican."
Intriguing yet true, the Austrian-turned-American did not hammer the social issues, aside from the integrity and ingenuity of the family as opposed to the state. Limited government lends itself quite well to pro-life and pro-choice positions in the event of tragedy and trauma. Limited government can equally apply to the sanctity of marriage but also the essence of individual choice. Religious institutions and individual integrity can find their voice and place in a party which respects the individual as greater than the government, which champions free enterprise instead of government fiat.
Limited Government is still the standard. "Limited" does not mean "Limiting" nor "Limitless", both of which more properly define the Democratic Party. The desire of immigrants, the plight of minorities, cannot be answered with more state power at the expense of the person. Power when used for good is not a bad thing, said former Massachusetts Republican US Senator Edward Brooke. The party can have a head and a heart. The “RINO” taunt must be put aside for good. Mike Castle and Michael Steele, Jim Leach and Richard Shelby, Christopher Shays and Christopher Buckley can coexist without turmoil and recriminations in the Republican Party.
If there is a RINO, it would be Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who had the integrity to switch out of the GOP altogether and run for governor of his home state as an Independent. He did not stand for any of the issues listed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even his moderate father John Chafee was more conservative, voting for welfare form and a balanced budget amendment while serving in the US Senate.
As for those Republicans who endorse Democrats for whatever reason, the party must open themselves up to their values and hear their voice. Party leaders should hold their members accountable, but not eject members easily over disputes on certain issues.
The term “RINO” belongs to the divisive Democratic Party apparatus. No more RINOs -- it's time stop letting the opposition define who enters and who leaves the GOP.