When Ronald Reagan crossed over into leftist territory, it was a remarkable sight. Pundits often attributed the creation of “Reagan Democrats” to the actor's nearly divine delivery of American conservative wisdom. Who could resist? Reagan drew votes solidly from the right, did well in the middle and took some directly from the opposition. It's warm nostalgia for right-wing voters. Unfortunately, he left a legacy that's driven the success of the RINO movement to power and led directly to our current conundrum. We have a Republican Party presidential nominee who's known for being farther left than the Democrats, and Republicans on the right are now treated as outcasts by the party establishment.
Reagan got support, with strings attached, from Christian social conservatives who supported government intrusion into the personal life, politically-unrooted, policy-flexible self-described “fiscal conservatives” who supported increased spending (which they called “investment”) ostensibly for the sake of those intrusions, and a far-left constituency for his support of their marriage, family, and welfare reform agenda. His ability to “talk conservative,” including verbal support for liberty and limited government did the rest. The song of the “unholy alliance,” with moral (sounding) imperatives for crushing liberty (of those other people … you know the kind) and the economic theory that spending more would lower costs, with a far-left backup chorus humming in the shadows became the RINO anthem.
Reagan was a tough act to follow, especially after the consequences of his domestic agenda started to blossom. People like Newt Gingrich, who helped push welfare reforms to a high state of corruption during the Clinton era, were left to lie about checkable facts. Not only did the cost of welfare skyrocket (partly due to increased entitlements, but mostly due to overhead and cronyism), but politically controlled welfare regulation escaped the boundaries of entitlements and entitlement seekers and was extended to cover marriage and family issues generally, for the whole population. This nationalization of marriage and family resulted in the collapse of traditional marriage, which the Supreme Court had once characterized as a “sacred private institution.” More important than the same-sex marriage controversy, nationalizing marriage eliminated the individual rights associated with family. Both marriage and family became arbitrary, politically controlled elements of federal programs. (This is what the legal end of traditional marriage actually means.)
Romney, who has had an intermittent political career despite running in a number of races, walked onto the national stage as a full-fledged overgrown RINO. He had won a one-term governorship in Massachusetts by running farther left than his Democratic Party rival. During his term, he played a vital role in the nationalization of health care, which he would like to continue. While out of office, this son of a governor operated as a big government insider, crony and lobbyist. He's one of the most superficial personalities and speakers in political history and has flip-flopped on virtually every issue because he had no character, no moral compass, and no sense of what actually makes anything work.
The era when the majority could be surprised by RINO maneuvers is over and Mitt Romney doesn't have the stomach to see through a serious attempt. He wasn't wanted by conservatives, so he cheated his way through the primaries and then cleaned house by throwing them out of “his” party. He's left with core support from people who want big, expensive, centralized, all-controlling government and continued nationalization of private life. It's not just RINO, it's DPR (Democrat Pretending-to-be Republican). And he's failing at that too, now grumbling nasty comments about that “47%” that he's convinced won't vote for him because he's running as a Republican.