Arlen Specter–Blame everyone

Senator Arlen Specter has switched sides.

To steal a line from David Letterman after the Jim Jeffords switch, “This is the biggest political switch since…well, since Jim McGreevey.”

The bottom line is that not one Republican in this country should be celebrating right now. This is a disaster. It was also an avoidable disaster.

Let me begin by saying that I have never liked Arlen Specter. I have never met him personally, but I never liked him. Given that he was a Jewish Republican, I wanted to like him. Yet I always found him to be an opportunist.

My prediction is that the Jayson Blair Times will praise him for being “courageous” and “principled.” That is what happens when Republicans vote to raise taxes, bash other Republicans, or in some cases, leave the party entirely and become Democrats or left-leaning independents.

When Democrats dare to cross party lines, there is talk of betrayal. Just ask Joe Lieberman.

There was nothing principled about Arlen Specter’s decision. It was a cold, naked political calculation. Senator Specter has stayed around too long, lost touch with his constituents, and is now trying to blame the party for his losing touch.

Arlen Specter has been drifting leftward slowly since 1992. 1992 was the “year of the woman.” Women everywhere began deciding that merit did not matter, as they picked the least qualified candidates nationwide who yelped the loudest. From Barbara Boxer in California to Carol Moseley Braun in Illinois, qualifications went out the window.

In Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter was trailing an unknown named Lynne Yeakal by a 2-1 margin. The issue was Anita Hill and her long since discredited accusations against Clarence Thomas.

These women ran for office with the same “Yes, we can!” blather of our current President.

Specter was running scared. He ran hard to the left, and with the fortune of running against a bumbler, eked out a 51-49% victory.

By 2004, Specter, was facing a primary challenge from Pat Toomey. This was something I was against.

I like Pat Toomey. The Club For Growth is fabulous. I just don’t believe that we as Republicans should cannibalize our own.

Yes, this is a democracy, and Pat Toomey had a right to run. Nobody is entitled to coast to a general election without a primary. However, politically it is a mistake. Sometimes it works out well, such as when Al D’Amato took down Jacob Javits in New York. Usually it just splits the party and elects liberals.

(I like Kay Bailey Hutchison better than Rick Perry, but still wish they were not facing off against each other.)

Specter barely survived Toomey, but Toomey is taking him on again for the 2010 race. I again wish this had not been the case.

Arlen Specter did two dishonorable things. Switching parties was not dishonorable. Yet a pair of actions connected with the switching are dishonorable.

First of all, I believe that when a politician switches parties, they should resign. Period. They should run again, but not as a sitting Senator. Even Richard Shelby, who blatantly telegraphed and all but announced his switch on a megaphone before his 1994 reelection, should have resigned. Phil Gramm did it the right way. He left the Democratic Party, resigned his seat, ran as a Republican, and won. That is honor.

Arlen Specter should return every dollar from every donor that wants their money back. Many people, rightly or wrongly, vote based on party. His switch is a breach of contract (morally, not legally).

The second act of dishonor is his blaming the Pennsylvania Republican electorate.

Losers blame the voters. I respect the American people. Unlike liberals, who blame voters whenever they lose, Conservatives should be above that pettiness. Republicans lost the 2008 elections. I don’t blame the voters. We lost.

Arlen Specter drifted away from the party in the same way Bill Clinton triangulated his way to a second term. They are both about self-preservation at any and all costs.

One thing that will be interesting is whether Democrats bail out Specter the way that Republicans aided Lieberman. Many Democrats will be resentful if they have to shelve their own ambitions for Specter.

So what do Republicans do now?

The main thing we do is stop cannibalizing each other.

I speak around the country, and one message that I hammer over and over again is that if you have an “R” next to your name, then you are party of my political family.

I have no litmus tests.

I get angry when the moderates attack the social conservatives. I get just as angry when the social conservatives refer to moderate Republicans as RINOs (Republicans in name only).

Ronald Reagan gave the 11th Commandment, that “Thou shalt speak ill of no other Republican.”

I want Sam Brownback in my party, and I also want Susan Collins.

What I want most is to win elections. There are no moral victories in politics. Winners get to govern.

Some conservatives think that it is good to have a Democrat win from time to time so that they can screw up and get “real” conservatives elected. They point to Jimmy Carter being followed by Ronald Reagan.

Jimmy Carter was a disaster, and Ronald Reagan probably would have won anyway.

John McCain is not the same as Barack Obama. There is a lot more than a “dime’s difference between the two parties,” despite what George Wallace said.

For those who forget, it was moderate Republicans in 1993 that defeated the stimulus bill debacle put forth by Bill Clinton.

We need to unite. We can have all the disagreements in the world when we are governing, but if we are fractured now, then the march to socialism will succeed, and we will need a couple of generations to reverse the damage.

The national party must flood Norm Coleman with money in Minnesota so that Al Franken never becomes that 60th seat. Coleman will be under heavy pressure to quit, even though Al Gore was allowed to nearly provoke a constitutional crisis. Liberals never resign with honor. They hang on kicking and screaming. Norm Coleman must hang on and win. Otherwise Democrats will continue to try and steal elections because they will (correctly) conclude that Republicans will not fight to the end.

Losing numbers is losing, period. It is not a victory, especially if Toomey loses.

We need to respect the members of our political family that we disagree with. Idaho and Mississippi are not California and Massachusetts. Republicans can win in California, but they have to be moderates. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger went too far, but Pete Wilson was attacked as a “moderate,” and he was a fabulous Republican governor. Would I like a conservative like Tom McClintock? Of course I would. Yet I don’t have the votes.

The liberals have destroyed California. The only way we can save the state is with moderate Republicans. As long as these moderate slash taxes and protect our safety, I can be more patient on re meat social issues.

We have to stop the bleeding. We need to make sure that Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins stay with us. Maine is not going to give us leadership that would make Alabama happy.

Lindsey Graham said it best. He said, “I can’t win in Pennsylvania. I can win in South Carolina. I cannot win in Pennsylvania.”

I am absolutely not advocating that we water down the party or act like Democrats. I am saying that we have to give some of our members latitude when they need to stray from time to time, provided it does not become the rule instead of the exception.

Arlen Specter betrayed the Republican Party. He violated his oath to those that supported him.

Yet the entire party needs to make sure that we do not have this situation occur again. This is not a blessing in disguise, or even a blessing for all to see.

This is a party that wants to wreck this country moving one vote closer.


7 Responses to “Arlen Specter–Blame everyone”

  1. Micky 2 says:

    I’m not too worried about whatever majority the dems may hold. Yea, it’ll hurt for a little while and then there no guarnatee that Spector will always fall in line with every vote. Many middle of the road moderates that no longer have any faith in Obama along with these numbers here make it pretty clear that some serious changes on the hill will happen in 2010.

    “Democrats are a bit less unhappy than other voters. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans would vote to throw out the entire Congress as would 62% of unaffiliated voters. Only 43% of Democrats go along. Still, just 25% of those in Barack Obama’s party would vote to keep the entire Congress even though it’s controlled by Democrats. ”

    We need members who will adhere to conservative principles and not be fair weather floaters like Spector who pander to expediency instead of towing the line that will save this country.
    Good ridance.
    Its typical, the left always picks up those who wont fend for themselves. I doubt they’ll trust him but look at him as more of useful tool if anything.
    Hes 80 years old for crust sake man. Shouldnt we have term limits or at least age limits on these guys ? It seems ther longer they stay in politics the loonier and more unpredictable they get

  2. Funny, when lieberman did something like this it was out of principle, but when Specter does it… Hypocrisy, anyone?

    Specter didn’t “(violate) his oath to those that supported him,” but he did turn coat on the GOP in PA. And yes, there can be no doubt that this was vanity in action, pure and simple. On the other hand, he may well see something in being a part in a bigger historical picture: with a filibuster-proof senate, maybe we have a chance at some significant changes in America, the likes of which we haven’t seen since FDR. That’s a big “maybe,” though. Contrary to the opinions of the easily led, Obama and the Dems are mainstream establishment thinkers, and the courts are still very conservative. Those two facts stand solidly in the way of some of the vital progress we all need. Don;t expect single-payor healthcare, or massive reductions in the cost of education, or a major contraction of the military industrial complex, or fair trade, or a truly reinvifored labor movement. Unfortunately, without such changes, we may still be on the highway to h@ll – just in the slow lane instead of the conservative fast lane.


  3. Toma says:

    You are right Micky Specter’s action is typical and I for one am glad he is gone. He wasn’t any help anyway.

    The party, group, bloc or segment of population that bares watching are the real citizens of this nation. By real citizens I mean we the people with VALID social security cards, VALID voter registrations cards, VALID drivers licenses, and even a VALID birth certificates. We the people are of all parties, nationalities, creeds, religions, tribes and family groups. We live and work inside the U.S. and we value our liberty. I repeat, we value our liberty. We are the people that will make the progress we all need. Right now we don’t like what is happening. We will make some changes.

    Just you wait and see.


  4. Micky 2 says:

    I think it says something when you’ve only got two losers like Franken and Spector left to fill that void that makes the filibuster proof majority.
    Or are most of the incumbents and candidates pretty much the same caliber and due to the circumstances just not getting as much focus ?

    I’m glad there more than likely will be a super majority for two simple reasons.
    (1) From here on they cant blame Bush or anyone else anymore. Whatever happens, they own it. That of course doesnt mean they wont try to cast blame elsewhere. After all, thats pretty much their main function but its going to pretty hard to keep their nomes off the slew of failures on its way.
    (2) From here theres only one way to go, and thats down. Its actually started for them but wont really show til folks hit the polls in a year and a half.

    Theres media out there thats trying avert the inevitable change and use a bandwagon effect or propoganda to BS us all into thinking its all peaches and cream.
    I found a perfect example of this ” Goebbles ” type propaganda with an AP story AOL carried on my home page that conducted a poll on the same subject right under the article.

    AP Headline; “For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction”
    The story goes on to brag about what great job Obama is doing and how the majority of the country thinks were going the rihght way

    After reading this snow job I go to look at the results from the AP poll directly under the article.

    AP poll——-
    Do you think the country is headed in the right direction?
    No 58%
    Yes 42%

    The majority of the people reading the article didnt agree with it and yet the article stayed up all day, checking back, the percentages stayed the same all day.
    Most people DO NOT feel the country is headed in the right direction yet the media is going to do its best to make us think so regardless of the facts.

  5. thepoliticaltipster says:

    I’m agnostic about Specter’s decision (not least because I have little or no skin in the game when it comes to US domestic policy) but there are several differences between him and Lieberman:

    1. Lieberman never actually left the Democratic caucus.

    2. Lieberman was elected as an Independent who promised that he would caucus with the Democrat. After he was elected he did just that.

    3. Lieberman had to immediately face the voters, running against a candidate backed by the Democratic machine. He also knew that although many in the GOP were sympathetic to him, they would be tempted to replace Schlesinger with a more electable candidate (as indeed there was an attempt to do so).

    4. Unlike Specter, Lieberman drifted away from the Democratic Party for clearly defined reasons (Iraq).

    5. Lieberman was principled enough to endorse McCain in December 2007, even though most pundits considered McCain a long-shot at best. Lieberman also had the integrity to continue to actively campaign for McCain, even after the humiliation of the Palin selection and when it was obvious that McCain wasn’t going to win – indeed his behaviour was closer to that traditionally expected of a running mate than Palin.

    However, if McCain had selected Lieberman as his running mate Lieberman should have immediately resigned from the Senate (which would also have made a floor fight much more difficult). I also think Lieberman should have resigned from the Democratic caucus after the election and become a “caucus of one” (and I guess that’s what Lieberman was planning to do until Obama called his bluff over the committee positions) – IMO the committee system and “sore loser” laws are the two biggest obstacles to genuine independents.

    Indeed, a small part of me still wishes that McCain had dropped out of the Republican contest in September 2007, stuck to his guns on immigration (and returned to his 2001-5 position on taxes), and run as an independent (since sore loser laws do not apply at the Presidential level).

  6. Dav Lev says:

    This is the bottom line: who cares? Specter had no chance of
    winning in Penn. and did the smart thing. Had he lost, he would have
    been out of the Senate. It’s that simple. If the Republicans in that state
    have any smarts, they will try to draw Democrats into their party.

    Legislators have every right to switch parties in our Democracy.
    In fact I disagree with the LA Times op-ed which criticized his
    principles. His principles AND re-election chances forced this

    I happen to admire Specter, a lot more than my reps..Boxer and
    Feinstein. Boxer is a card-carrying liberal..and Feinstein waffles and
    straddles the fence..having no principles.

    Sooooo, thanks to our reps…the State of California is both attracting
    every US immigrant, disaffected residents of other states, and
    losing it’s middle and upper middle classes to bordering states.
    Sure it’s blue..but turning gray..on it’s death bed. Industry is fleeing
    along with the bordering states, like Nevada, Colorado,

    The liberal coastal populations…..gave Obama the election.
    Perhaps McCain should have chosen a different VP, looking back.
    I wanted Giuliani, his law enforcement and tough on our enemies
    policy. (He never would have apologized to Ahmad, Chavez
    and Castro..or reached out to Iran’s mullahs, Hamas and Fatah (all
    murderous groups bent on killing every Jew and Christian).

    But things can, and will change in two years..when the reality
    of trillion dollar deficits begins to hit., Iran tests an atomic bomb
    and threatens Israel, the Gulf States and our other allies (with
    teeth), No. Korea continues to add plutonium bombs to it’s arsenal,
    the Pashtun have our forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan reeling,
    and Hamas and Hezbollah allied with Syria and perhaps a Taliban
    Pakistan become bolder.

    This is politics. I do not fault Specter. He did the right thing for himself.

    We Republicans are on the defensive..a confused party..not having
    any real viable alternatives to the Democratic whiz kids, youth,
    and remedies for all that ails US, other than meaningless printing
    trillions of dollars (to be paid back forever), mortgaging our souls
    to the Chinese and Arabs, and wishful thinking that Islamo-fascism
    will somehow reform itself once it sees the light (or tastes chicken soup).

    The people spoke on Nov 4. But we are fickle people..and things
    can change and most likely will, G-d willing.

  7. Wow! Look at tipster jumping hoops to prove Lieberman’s Republican supporters aren’t being a bunch of cry-baby hypocrites!

    If anyone believes Lieberman became an independent just on principle, not only do I have a bridge to sell you, but a time share on a bridge! LOL!

    Naive AND hypocritical!


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