There is a phrase thrown around politics - RINO - Republican In Name Only. It refers to someone who is not a strong enough adherent to whatever Conservative principles the writer (or sayer) as believes the RINO should be.
I am a RINO.
I guarantee I am not a strong enough adherent to Conservative principles as defined by the Tea Party, the Freedom Caucus, or any of the other groups who have hijacked the Republican Party by demanding absolute fealty to their definition of Conservatism.
I was a Barry Goldwater Conservative. I was a Ronald Reagan Conservative. I was a George W. Bush Conservative.
This is the Ronald Reagan Republican part: He is quoted as having said:
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying - go down in flames.
"No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."
Imagine Speaker-presumptive Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) citing that Reagan quote last week. The members of the House Freedom Caucus would have lit their hair on fire and run screaming from the Capitol building.
Speaking of Ryan, it was announced this weekend that he has tapped David Hoppe to be his chief of staff. I've known David for nearly 40 years since his wife and I both worked for a young Congressman from Indiana, Dan Quayle.
That might read like it deserves to be a footnote, but in the Kremlinology of the U.S. House, who has the ear of a Leader is closely watched and Hoppe is a brilliant choice.
Today, I am a Jeb Bush, a Marco Rubio, and a John Kasich Conservative.
If that makes me a RINO then I will wear the label proudly.
In fact, I often identify myself as a "Trotskyite Republican." I made that phrase up, but in my mind it means I am very concerned about government spending and government intrusion in our personal and business lives.
But, on social issues: To each his/her own.
Someone emailed me over the weekend complaining that I was sounding like an "establishment" Republican.
I wrote back to say I AM an establishment Republican.
I've lived and worked inside the Beltway for most of my adult life. I have worked on Capitol Hill long enough (and frequently enough) to understand the solution to problems isn't as easy as it might seem at first blush.
That doesn't mean I approve of every line in every bill that has been adopted by the Republican Conference in the House or the Senate. But, it does mean I am willing to weigh the good a piece of legislation is designed to do, against the bad that might be included with it.
It means I don't require perfection as a starting point.
The three most recent polls of Iowa Republicans appear to indicate that Ben Carson is solidifying his position as the principal challenger to Donald Trump.
The CBS/YouGov poll has Carson and Trump tied at 27. The DMR/Bloomberg poll has Carson with a nine point lead, 28-19; and the Quinnipiac poll shows Carson with an eight point lead 28-20.
There is still a long way to go before the Iowa Caucuses in February, but these are significant results.
The 10 participants in Wednesday's CNBC Republican debate have been announced (with their polling averages):
Donald Trump: 25.22
Ben Carson: 19.78
Marco Rubio: 9.67
Jeb Bush: 8.11
Carly Fiorina: 8.11
Ted Cruz: 6.89
Mike Huckabee: 3.56
Chris Christie: 3.00
John Kasich: 3.00
Rand Paul: 3.00
Lad Link: Reed Galen was included in a report on GOP politics in an NBC Nightly News piece on Saturday. I texted him that I had emailed everyone in North America with a screen grab (which you can see on the Secret Decoder Ring Page) and was about to start on Europe.
Pending that, here is Reed's look at the upcoming CNBC debate.
On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: Links to the David Hoppe/Paul Ryan coverage and to the CNBC debate.
Also, that promised screen grab of The Lad on NBC Nightly News Saturday evening.