Matt Towery

All this as it may be, I still believe that President Obama in his heart remains a stout redistributionist of wealth. If he could have kept enjoying a Congress ruled by Democrats for another two years, the lot of them might well have seriously jeopardized our free market system. Even after the Democrats' stinging defeat in November, damage continues to be done to our liberties by the president's legions of bureaucrats and policy czars.

Yet none of that can dissuade me from defending the many maligned Republicans who labored in the political vineyards a generation ago, when being a Republican meant having no more influence than the president of the local Elks Club. These brave men and women took the GOP from being all but irrelevant in Washington -- and from being too liberal under Presidents Nixon and Gerald Ford -- to today's world, in which the GOP represents the governing philosophy of at least a large plurality of Americans.

Many people are unhappy that the lame-duck Democratic Congress won some final victories before exiting stage left. But Republicans are like us all: They have to play the hand dealt them. I believe they've largely done that.

As for START, among other things it calls for onsite inspections of nuclear facilities. I'm only too happy to allow Russian inspectors stateside in exchange for our own inspectors being allowed access to nuclear facilities in the Russian regions of the old Soviet Union -- a potentially unstable place and situation. I learned in my long-ago studies that treaties are only as enforceable as the parties who enter into them are willing to make them.

As for those who like to use the label "RINO" like a political bludgeon, allow me to ask this question: Have you ever been pelted by rotten fruit and eggs as you rode in a parade, only because you were a Republican? Have you ever been an active Republican in a state overrun by little else but Democrats? I have. So has Johnny Isakson.

Sometimes it seems the only way to shed the dreaded "RINO" label is to forget about pragmatic lawmaking and instead just appear on radio or TV, selling CDs, books or other trinkets, and telling everybody only what they want to hear. And that's too bad, for conservatives and everybody else.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery