Dr. Kurt Michael (left), former Del. Chris Saxman (center), McDonnell Chief of Staff Martin Kent (right) at reception in 2010 hosted by Gov. and Mrs. Bob McDonnell at the Governor's Mansion.
By Chris Saxman
One of the more ridiculous terms in modern American politics is RINO -- Republican In Name Only.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has no registration by party, so the only people who are technically a Republican or a Democrat(ic) are those who are on the ballot as such or have been elected as such.
I am a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. Want to know how you know that? Because I just told you so. I also root for the Pirates, the Penguins, the Virginia Cavaliers but also like the way the Hokies play football.
I am an Allman Brothers fan but I also crank Metallica’s S&M (Symphony and Metallica) CD to ear bleeding decibels. Gregorian chants, Whitney Houston, Nessun Dorma by Potts or Pavarotti -- all on the iPod.
I like Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, and occasionally Diet Dr. Pepper. I like hamburgers made with a combination of 80/20 beef, pork and veal. Yup, VEAL! I am a Carnivore and not In Name Only.
Bake. I can crank out some mean Cinnamon Rolls and awesome thin crust pizzas. The Mrs. is Queen of the Chocolate Chip Cookie -- I hope those are not IN my last meal but ARE my last meal.
I am also a big fan of Afternoon Naps. Power Naps or Half-a-Day Naps.
Love Baseball. If there is one thing I could do every day, it would be to watch a nine inning Major League Baseball game with a score of 2-1 or 3-2. The game is perfect -- still undecided on the Designated Hitter rule. No, I’m against it. Wait...
I’m a Smells-and-Bells Catholic but I dig the Guitar-and-Sandals Wing of the Church as well.
With me so far? If I say I am something -- I am. If you say you are something -- you are.
Who am I to say what you are or aren’t, right?
If you go to a Steeler game at Heinz Field and you are wearing a Browns jersey or God forbid a Ravens jersey, you are not a Steeler fan. We get it. You’re the drunk, obnoxious guy just waiting to have an XL size cold draft beer poured on your head and, YES, bringing your girlfriend was dumb. But, hey, at least you’re not a Steeler Fan In Name Only.
This whole business of calling someone a RINO as a derogatory name is moronic.
Want to know why? Because that’s all it takes!
Ohhhhhh no you don’t, buddy!
See, there are people who actually control the non-trademarked brand of Republican.
I’m sure the Democrat(ic)s have the same problem in their own camp, but they are equally hidden.
What does it take to become a Real Republican? Read a couple of books about Reagan?
How about Barry Goldwater’s “Conscience of A Conservative”? Does that work? It worked for me in mapping out my ideology; but that is an ideology. Republican is a political party.
Many people think that Being A Conservative makes you a Republican. Nope. It makes you a Conservative.
But what kind of Conservative? PaleoCon? NeoCon? Fiscal Con? Social Con?
Personally, I consider myself a Pragmatic Conservative. I look for practical solutions that cannot only work, but can be voted for by a majority of a bicameral Legislature, be signed and carried out by a clear thinking Executive while getting a Thumbs Up from the Judiciary. Call me a dreamer.
I also side with letting people make their own decisions but know some, not all, will take freedom too far. Think Glass Steagall Repeal and Feral Pigs. Think Glass Steagall Repeal and Legalizing Drugs. PragmaCon = Freedom on Your Dime not OPM - Other People’s Money.
Call me a dreamer -- I think people are born perfect in His image and that Day Two has less applause, more gas and a ton of unanswered questions.
But if twenty or so years later you call yourself a Republican, God Bless. That’s all it takes.
The guy sitting in 12D might have a Yankees hat on, but right now he’s really rooting for Delta. So am I.
That makes me a Delta Catholic Republican Steeler Dad of Four. Part of that might change. Catholic, Steeler, and Dad won’t.
Delta and Republican?
Roll the Billy Shakespeare -- “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Chris Saxman represented the 20th District in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002-09. A businessman, active member of the community, and a contributor to the Bearing Drift blog, he lives in Staunton, Virginia, with his wife Michele and four children.