On Arlen Specter and the General State of the GOP

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This past week, Arlen Specter decided that being a Republican in Pennsylvania is like having the plague (or swine flu) and he switched sides. Now he is Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania). To my fellow Democrats who think now we’ll have that magical filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, I wouldn’t hold my breath. He’s already said he would oppose legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act and health care reform; and even voted against the President’s budget the day after his announcement. This move was purely self-preservation on Arlen Specters part, and nobody should be duped to think otherwise-Democrats or Republicans.

But this does signal something more troubling for Republicans: they will continue to lose elections in 2010. Instead of moving towards the center of the Republican ideology, they are moving further right. And whether you believe this country is center-right or center-left, we’d all agree the collective ideology of the country is somewhere in the center. In Specter’s case, his Senate colleagues were disenchanted with his support of the President’s stimulus package, and vowed to rally around his 2010 primary challenger, Pat Toomey. While Specter was considered a moderate republican or “center-right”, Toomey is as far to the right as they come. While Toomey would have probably won the Republican primary in Pennsylvania, the election would not have fared as well for him in a state that overwhelmingly voted for President Obama. His democratic challenger would have won.

The Republican Party has become a party of absolutes.
To be a part of the club, you have to be anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-union, pro-business, a card-toting NRA member, and a devout Christian. If there is any slight variance in the ideology, you are out of the club. Some in the party are even requesting for John McCain to switch sides, because he doesn’t believe enough in those core principles.

If that is what the Republicans want to be, then they will only enjoy the company of 27% or so of the electorate. That won’t win elections.

To make matters worse, their arguments have become nonsensical. What is their answer to the economic crisis? To just say no on the stimulus bill, and more tax cuts for the wealthy. What is their answer to the health care crisis? To do nothing, cause then the illegal Mexicans will get free healthcare and then we’ll have a fascist socialist state. What is their reason for opposing legislation to extend hate crimes to include violent crimes against gays? To deny that violent crimes against gays exist. The majority of people can’t identify with the nonsense. They need leaders that offer solutions, or at least opposing viewpoints that make sense and quick, before the public totally quits listening to them.

As a progressive Democrat, I am somewhat reveling in their self-destruction. Yet, I also understand for the health of our Democratic Republic, we need a viable second party. Perhaps, a new party will emerge that will represent more of the people. For now, Republicans are only pushing themselves further into irrelevancy, which will only result in higher Democrat majorities.

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7 thoughts on “On Arlen Specter and the General State of the GOP

  1. I remain a republican because I believe the party is going to heal, hopefully. If not i’ll become an independant.

  2. Doyle, as you and I have discussed on many occassions, I do support the separation of church and state. We have to be careful, though, not to turn our political differences into religious ones. Nor, should we paint the Democratic party of a party without faith. A whole bunch of Democrats have plenty of faith.
    Although Democrats are in the majority, we must be careful not to alienate those who are religious. We can’t become the antithesis of the Republican party. Remember we had a long, hard 8 years in isolation and political tides change. But, we should call out hypocrisy. So I agree with your point on the hypocrisy of people who identify themselves as religious support torture.

    • Wendy, i agree completely that there has to be a separation of church and state and I don’don’t believe it’s the Democrats who have created that wedge, but the Republicans themselves by reaching out to the religious right. I believe that people should have the right to worship, pray and live their lives with any type of faith they choose and be free to do so without any persecution or stigma. My issue is with people who vote not for a better quality life, such as educating our children, providing healthcare, improving and protecting our environment, but instead vote strictly for leaders who they believe will fight for the implementation of laws based on religious ideology. Do these people not have the same day to day life concerns which we have? We have to get beyond that mentality. I will vote for or support any leaders who have ethics, or mirror my concerns. In the up coming governor election here in Texas I will probably cross party lines and vote for Kay Bailey Hutchinson, because I don’t believe a Democrat can win here, and I will support her rather than Rick Perry. I think at times we have to use common sense.

      • Yes. The Republicans started the culture war with Newts “Contract with America”. I was only saying that we can’t become the party of the faithless. The point of my post, which I feel like I need to clarify for some reason, is that the Republican party only represents a minority of people anymore and they are pushing out those who don’t ascribe to every single one of their views.
        It is sad, really to see the party like that.

  3. Wendy, we have had 8 years of a Republican administration which was elected because of it’s moral ideology, not because it was capable of providing healthcare to the American people, not because it wanted to improve our educational system, and not because it wanted to protect our jobs. I would be completely embarrassed to admit that I support a party that promotes bigotry and discrimination, which the Republican party absolutely does when it spouts the word “homosexual” like it is a horrible curse word. When a parties platform is based on issues such as a woman and “her” right to choose what decision to make in regard to her “own” body or if two people of the same sex want to marry, then they don’t deserve a place in our twenty first century political world. I am a Democrat who does support accountability, and a person’s right to bear arms, but what the hell do they need assault weapons for? Is that what the NRA has fought so hard to protect? A person’s right not to carry a rifle but a machine gun? What kind of mentality is that, I guess the same mentality that say’s the majority of christians supported us torturing, guess it was ok that Jesus was tortured, since that is the christian Republican way!!!!

  4. Right, Gabbygirl. But the thing is, the Republican party is pushing out the members in the Senate that don’t ascribe to ALL of their views, like Arlen Specter. The party is narrowing.

    So I guess you solidified my point quite well. I wonder though, what makes you identify with the party other than its anti-abortion stance? As you may know, there are Democrats who have that belief as well.

  5. I am a Republican. Win or lose, I stand by my beliefs. Call me what you will, I will NOT compromise my morals or beliefs to fit in to what the world says I should do. I know plenty of Democrats who are NRA members, devout Christians, pro business and against unions. I myself am not totally against unions. I am not a member of the NRA. I am against abortion. I believe that precautions should be taken to prevent Pregnancy, not the other way around. As far as gays go, I thin they should have rights because they are human, not because they are gay. I am a Christian.

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