Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking GOP: Specter Jumps the (Sinking) Ship

Senator Specter switching parties - POLITICO.com
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

Now, I'm certainly not expecting Senator Specter to be as liberal as, say, Al Franken. And he insists he won't be an "automatic 60th vote for cloture." But he's always impressed me as being one of the saner Republicans, despite the fact that his name always sounded to me like it ought to belong to a James Bond villain.

As the GOP "base" demands more and more ideological purity, there may very well be more defections of moderate Republicans, or as the wingnuts derisively call them, "RINOs" (Republicans in Name Only). Hyper-conservative washed up rocker Ted Nugent even declared "Open Season" on RINO's with "no bag limits or permits required" for the "cockroaches."

Hey, good luck with the ideological purges, wingnuts. They worked so well for the Soviet Union.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that since Specter says he won't be an "automatic" vote for cloture, the biggest change may be that he ends up being the most courted and therefore one of the most powerful men in the Senate.


Tom Panek said...

I've always admired Specter as a pragmatic, do-something voice in Congress. While one could see a party-switch as political pandering with anyone else, I don't think that's the case with Arlen Specter. And the GOP is all the worse for his decision. However, it still remains to be seen whether this move will get him re-elected.

Chris said...

And although she more or less said she couldn't bring herself to do the same, Senator Snowe (R-ME, for those of you who don't, you know, live here) didn't have too much nice to say about the state of the her own party. As she put it, Specter didn't abandon the GOP -- the GOP abandoned him.

You know, several potential global crises aside, it's a hell of a time to be a liberal!

Kate Hathway said...

I admired Arlen Spector a bit, because he did have some spine against some of the obvious stupidity of the farther right, and I'm glad to see that he's grown more vertebrae.

As for 'hyper-conservative, washed up' Ted Nugent, I would feed him to sharks and smile, if I could get him out on a boat.

charlie stella said...

Ralph Nader is all over this today ... saying there's no more excuses for Democrats regarding national health insurance ...

From Ralph's email to me this morning:

The Democrats now admit that they control the procedure in Congress and can pass whatever health care reform they want.

Without one Republican vote.

And President Obama can sign it.

What should they do?

They should pass single payer.

Everybody in. Nobody out.

So, what will the Democrat leadership do?

They will keep single payer off the table. Because they fear the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry - and want their campaign money - more than they fear the American people.

Or as Speaker of the House Pelosi told reporters last week: "Over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer, single payer. Well, it's not going to be a single payer."

Who is Nancy Pelosi speaking for?
Not for the American people.

Not for those who will die or get sicker month after month.

How are we to respond?

Focus our collective creative energy on Congressional offices around the country -- offices of all 435 members of the House and 100 members of the Senate.
That's why (Ralph Nader) we have set up Single Payer Action.

Those overjoyed with the DEMOCRATIC PARTY should consider the above a public service announcement ...

This should get them going, JD ...

JD Rhoades said...

Charlie, I wouldn't say I'm overjoyed with the Democratic Party on this issue, since I'm an advocate of a single payer system as well. But I'm willing to accept that they're going to provide more reform that the Republican "hey, there's nothing wrong that a capital gains tax cut won't cure" response to the problem.

If Nader really wants single payer, he should try to win at least one election now and then. Or at least become a candidate viable enough that I and millions of other Americans won't regard a vote for him as a throwaway vote.

charlie stella said...

Meine Gott (just read Dracula a couple weeks ago), Dusty!

The only way Ralph can become "viable" is if people like yourself (who claim to be liberal), give up on those putz's now in control (The Dems) ... so long as you guys fight what has become the irrelevant right, the Dems get to keep doing NOTHING (Christ, they are frontmen for corporate America).

National Health Insurance is one of Ralph's beefs with both parties. You know mine ... protecting workers ... they did EXACTLY what BUSH wanted ... except in spades (giving away even more to corporations than Bush had proposed).

If everybody who claims Ralph isn't viable voted for him, guess what?

The ultimate frustration ... voting for the lesser of two evils when there's a clear viable choice.

Excuse me while my head explodes.