The Outstater

June 18, 2022

We’re All RINOs Now

THE CHAIRMAN of the Indiana Republican Party used his address to the state convention this weekend to tell us that “the word RINO has got to go.” He was referring of course to the disparagement, “Republican in Name Only.” A similar warning regarding “infighting” was delivered by the leading GOP candidate for state treasurer.

It is interesting that their reception was described by WIBC-FM as “respectful but not universal.” Maybe the reticence had to do with context.

Indiana voters have given these fellows more than a decade as a supermajority without so much as a single Democrat standing in their way. And it’s not as if they didn’t know better. Prior to their taking office, the Indiana Policy Review Foundation had published a book collecting the policy recommendations of experts on a dozen issue groupings facing the Legislature at the time.

Its common-sense recommendations were commended by readers as wide-ranging as the editors of the Indianapolis Star, then an honest newspaper, and the Speaker of the House, then a Democrat. Its chapters included: tax policy, process, sanctity of life, better government, education, justice, human welfare, the environment, the workplace, special interests and the right of private property.

We would argue that the supermajority has made pathetically little progress in any of these areas, and indeed it has taken backward steps on the last two.

The power of special interests has increased to the point of mercantilism. The “economy” has been reduced to politically defined public-private partnerships and regional economic-development schemes, with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation as their cynical arbiter. Ask a shop owner or small manufacturer if he or she is feeling the love of a free market these days.

At the same time, the Republican leadership has been quiet on what we believe is the core of Republicanism, that is, the right of private property. Party leaders don’t seem to understand its critical role in prosperity. It is only mentioned awkwardly in the draft of the 2022 platform. It is not included in the party’s monographs on topical issues, “Women,” “Diverse Communities,” “Working Hoosiers” and so forth.

Fortunately, there is an independent measure of the issue. It is the IndianaScorecard.org, a ranking of legislators on how their votes affect private property. The GOP leadership scores badly.

The Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives in this last session dd not break 50 percent on the scorecard. Nor did the President Pro Tem of the Senate. And the governor . . . well, he still thinks the Chinese are going to help us.

These are the men whom the state chairman would shield from derision.

Is respect for private property the only definer of good Republican governance? It begins there, at any rate, and your morning coffee group would have no trouble sorting the good legislation from the bad on the issue. Again, it is the essence of being a Republican.

For it is property, unlike the various social-justice sympathies, that is the absolute on the political table. It is either being protected or it is being eroded. The late Tom Bethell broke it down for us in his book “The Noblest Triumph”:

“The great blessing of private property is that people can benefit from their own industry and insulate themselves from the negative effects of others’ actions. It is like a set of invisible mirrors that surround individuals, households or firms, reflecting back on them the consequences of their acts. The industrious will reap the benefits of their industry, the frugal the consequences of their frugality; the improvidant and the profligate likewise.”

If members of your Republican delegation cannot demonstrate a working understanding of that, they have pinned the RINO label on themselves. — tcl



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