I’ve written many times about how I hate the term RINO because conservatives should consider themselves Republicans in Name Only. The Republican Party is a vessel, a tool for achieving conservative ends. It’s nothing more than a team. Conservatism is different. It’s a body of ideas, beliefs, and temperaments. The amazing thing is that Trump is both a RINO and a CINO. I’m sure he has some authentic and sincere conservative views down in there somewhere. But the idea that he’s more plausibly conservative — or more loyally Republican — than Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, or any of the others is just flatly absurd. It is vastly more plausible that he is a stalking horse for his dear friend Hillary Clinton than he is a sincere conservative.
But the money quote is this:
Look, these are rough times for conservatives, for reasons too lengthy, and all too familiar, to go into here. But none of our problems — demographic, political, cultural — can be solved unless conservatives take the cause of persuasion to heart. All of our problems can be fixed by convincing people to join our cause. That is what politics is about — persuading people that their interests and concerns are better addressed by coming to our side. And, given the degraded nature of our culture, I won’t deny that having a celebrity on our side has its utility. But it’s only helpful if that celebrity convinces people to switch sides. As a purely mathematical proposition, it is insane to believe that Donald Trump will convert more voters than he will repel.
People no longer understand basic terms (ask anyone criticizing "capitalism" what he means by that word, and then we can have a conversation) and no longer share basic suppositions, so if you are going to be so lazy as to keep shouting at them without taking time to educate, then you deserve the devolution of civilization you are enabling.
And that's where Kevin Williamson comes in, with a nice polemic that devolves a bit from the high note Goldberg sets -- he's a little condescending-- but it felt good. There are RINOs and CINOs, but there are also WHINOs.
The WHINO is a captive of the populist Right’s master narrative, which is the tragic tale of the holy, holy base, the victory of which would be entirely assured if not for the machinations of the perfidious Establishment. Never mind the Democrats, economic realities, Putin, ISIS, the geographical facts of the U.S.-Mexico border — all would be well and all manner of things would be well if not for the behind-the-scenes plotting of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and their enablers, who apparently can be bribed with small numbers of cocktail weenies. The WHINO is a Republican conspiracy theorist, in whose fervid imaginings all the players — victims, villains — are Republicans. Barack Obama? Pshaw. The real enemy is Jeb Bush.
A little more...
At FreedomFest, I did an interview with Matthew Boyle of Breitbart Radio, a nice enough guy but a pretty good example of the WHINO style in American politics. What about Romney? Boyle demanded. Romney, he said with absolute assurance, lost to Barack Obama because millions of conservatives stayed home, finding him insufficiently committed to their cause.The first aspect of what is wrong with this analysis is obvious: It assumes that a “real conservative” who couldn’t beat Mitt Romney in a Republican primary dominated by “real conservatives” would have defeated Barack Obama in a national election not dominated by conservatives at all, i.e. that Romney was the weakest candidate except for all the guys who couldn’t beat him.
The point is not "Mitt Romney lights my fire." The point is: nothing at all substitutes for the hard work of persuading people. You should read the whole things either to be heartened or slapped awake, but Williamson's closing point should be a slogan: "Whining is no substitute for winning."