Three Republicans that have not been afraid to forcefully speak out against Trump…Mitt Romney, Bill Kristol, and Jeff Flake. There are others, but these three stand out to me for one particular reason: as a “conservative”, I am supposed to hate these guys.
And make no mistake, I have had my share of disdain for each of them over the years.
Because they are all RINO’s, of course.
They are not sufficiently “conservative” in the eyes of the majority of Republicans, and especially to those who support Trump, although the hatred for these guys was there way before Trump.
You see, they didn’t always agree with everything Team Red was trying to do. And we can’t have that.
In my previous political life (let’s just call it “The Pre-Trumpian Times”), I had many reasons to dislike these three RINO’s. Now, I’m trying to remember what the specific issues of disagreement I had with them.
I’m hoping someone can remind me.
With Romney, I had some issues with his policies and that he wasn’t willing to “fight” hard enough to defeat Obama. The big policy difference, of course, was his implementation of RomneyCare in Massachusetts…the precursor to ObamaCare. Why on Earth would we want someone who believed in government run healthcare to be President? His argument during his 2012 Presidential campaign was that he was not for government run healthcare (ObamaCare) on a federal basis, but stated that it should be left to the states to decide for themselves how they want to handle it. I brushed that off as simply a lame excuse. I don’t remember details of any other major dispute with him.
Bill Kristol was always part of the elite RINO pundits that drove many of us crazy when he consistently went against the “talk radio” consensus. It always seemed that he was very condescending and a know-it-all. I can’t remember any specific areas of disagreement, but he always seemed to come down on the establishment RINO position, so I was against him.
Jeff Flake was part of the group of RINO Republican senators that just seemed to always be on the opposite side of where we wanted him. The only thing specific I can think of with him is probably his position on immigration. He was part of the Gang of Eight Immigration deal (with Rubio, McCain, and Graham). That, at the time, was reason enough for my ire.
But things have changed.
Since the arrival of Trump and Trumpism, I have reevaluated many of the people that I once trusted, seeing how they have lied and covered for Trump. I have found that those people were definitely not who they portrayed themselves as.
Because many of my views on people like Romney, Kristol, and Flake were very much influenced by many of the people I no longer trust or respect, I think it’s only fair to reevaluate them (and others) based on my new perspective and based on their own merits as determined by what they are currently doing and saying.
Romney got pummeled for his speech during the 2016 campaign that blasted Trump. Many people said he had no right to say such things because he didn’t fight as hard against Obama. But was anything in his speech wrong? Not that I could see. The same goes for his recent op-ed criticizing Trump.
Flake made a speech on the Senate floor about the Constitution that was actually very good. He was criticized for it because, well, he was a RINO so obviously couldn’t be sincere.
And Kristol has no credibility at all so obviously his criticisms of Trump should be ignored.
However, since Trump came along, I have found very little that I disagree on with any of these men. The one big thing I didn’t agree on with Kristol was that I believe he actually voted for Hillary, which I couldn’t do. That said, I do see the logic, and did argue at the time, that conservatism would probably be better off in the long wrong had Hillary won. Still, I just couldn’t follow that up with an actual vote for her (although I have since voted for a couple of Democrats to thwart Trumpism).
With Flake, for many reasons that are beyond the scope of this article, my views on immigration have shifted now to be more in line with his than not.
And Romney…so far, and he just joined the Senate, he’s already been more courageous than any other senator in standing up to Trump and Trumpism.
As far as RomneyCare goes, I think he was right is stating the difference between a State implementing such things and doing it on a federal level. He said he was against it at a federal level, so even if he was for it on a State level (which I am not), I can respect that he recognizes the differences and believe he would not have implemented it on a federal level.
And that goes for most issues that we debate. As long as that politician correctly recognizes the different levels of government and their roles, and abides by them, I really don’t have a beef with their personal views on matters.
To clarify, I probably would not vote for Romney for governor if he was running on a platform of government run healthcare, but could still support him for President as long as he understood that was not an issue that he’d be involved in on a federal level.
I’ve said it before, I really don’t care about the personal view of a candidate on issues they have no control over. If Hillary campaigned on (and was believably sincere about) restoring true federalism, I would be more apt to vote for her, even if she has different views on how things would be run on the state level.
So, have I gone RINO? Have I gone liberal? Am I now more Democrat than not, simply due to my hatred for Trump?
No, although some of my views on some things have shifted (like immigration), it’s more due to releasing myself from the shackles of “conservative” talk radio pundits and FoxNews and applying much more critical thinking to all issues.
I have done that for a couple of reasons. First, I have self-educated myself on many things such as the Constitution, the founding principles, the many reasons and details of the structure of government and roles of each branch, basic economics, and more.
In learning these topics, I have found many misguided things being pushed by those “conservative” talk radio pundits and FoxNews. I recognized when we were not being given the full truth, or sometimes, were fed plain lies.
I also saw how they had lied and covered up for and excused everything Trump did.
This made me wonder about everything else they had said and pushed over the years that I had simply taken for granted…including all of the stuff they pushed about people like Romney, Kristol and Flake.
So I have decided to give them all a clean slate…beginning with the time Trump came down that escalator (because that was the point where everything changed). So far, during that time, I have very little gripes with any of them (maybe with Flake’s eventual vote for Kavanaugh, but I won’t get into that again).
My challenge to anyone reading this now is to please remind me of why, as a conservative, I should dislike these three. Please be specific.