Who’s the RINO?

Personally, I am tired of the term “RINO.” Some on the right are quick to label anyone a RINO who disagrees with them, about anything. And yet there are times when the term really does apply.
Mike Castle says that he won’t endorse Christine O’Donnell in her race against self-described “bearded Marxist” Chris Coons. Rather, Castle will stay neutral:

Still grappling with his shocking primary defeat, Rep. Michael N. Castle of Delaware said Thursday that he will not endorse Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell because he could not tolerate some of the “personal smears” he faced during the campaign.

There were smears enough to go around in the primary campaign, including the false claim that Castle voted to impeach President Bush. (I don’t know whether the O’Donnell campaign was involved in that attack or not.) But, come on–if Castle can’t make up his mind between O’Donnell and the bearded Marxist, isn’t he a Republican in name only?
Real RINOs are those who have little dedication to principle, for whom politics is mostly about ego. Charlie Crist is a great example. He was a Republican governor, but when Marco Rubio left him in the dust in primary polls Crist dropped out of the GOP and is running for the Senate as an independent. When he made the switch, he deleted a number of position statements on issues–the conservative ones–from his web site. They were no longer convenient, now that he was seeking mainly Democratic votes. For Crist, politics is all about him, not about principle.
A true Republican in name only is not a politician with a conservative foundation but also a sprinkling of moderate or liberal views on certain issues. John McCain is a good example of that type. A RINO is a politician for whom politics is not a matter of ideology, and the party is only the means to a self-gratifying end. Mike Castle, it appears, may be in that category.
PAUL adds: With his 52 percent lifetime ACU rating, Castle is a true centrist. He stands at essentially the ideological mid-point between Chris Coons and Christine O’Donnell. So, even apart from his unhappiness with the O’Donnell campaign and with the outcome of the election, I’m not surprised that he hasn’t endorsed O’Donnell.