It’s His Party, and He’ll Leave If He Wants To!

From the Los Angeles Times:

Standing before the cameras and the Klieg lights Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) kept a brave face.

“This is not a national story,” McConnell said, playing down the party defection of Pennsylvania’s now-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. “This is a Pennsylvania story about his inability to be renominated by the Republican Party or be elected as an independent. He made a totally political decision.”

It’s a decision, however, that leaves the Senate with no GOP representation in the Northeast save for Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who is retiring, and moderates Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe in Maine — both of whom joined with Specter in deserting their Republican colleagues to support President Obama’s economic stimulus package.

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To find other Republican senators, you have to head as far west as Ohio, where Sen. George V. Voinovich is soon retiring, or south to McConnell’s home state.


Good news has been hard to come by for the GOP of late: Republicans were hammered in the general election in November, losing what looks to be eight seats in the Senate — depending on the outcome in the disputed contest in Minnesota — and yielding even more ground in the House. The party’s new chairman, Michael Steele, got off to a rocky start, alienating rank-and-file conservatives. And in a Pew Research Center poll earlier this month, just 28% of voters identified themselves as Republicans.

I’ll say things are bad for the Goopers! Why look what happened after the announcement–in Texas of all places!

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Although McConnell did not portray Specter’s move as an occasion for soul-searching, Collins said: “I do think our party needs to make clear that centrists are welcome.” She cited the efforts of Sen. John Cornyn (R- Texas) — who is trying to recruit some of the few remaining Republican moderates in the House to run for the Senate next year.


But there remains a divide within the party about how best to press forward. That was evident in the Pew Center poll, which said the majority of Republicans polled wanted the GOP to move further to the right.

To that extent, said Ron Nehring, chairman of the California Republican Party, Specter’s departure was welcome.


“The Republican Party didn’t leave Arlen Specter. Arlen Specter left the Republican Party some time ago,” Nehring said.

From Olympia Snowe‘s Op-ed in The New York Times:

IT is disheartening and disconcerting, at the very least, that here we are today — almost exactly eight years after Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party — witnessing the departure of my good friend and fellow moderate Republican, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, for the Democratic Party. And the announcement of his switch was all the more painful because I believe it didn’t have to be this way.

When Senator Jeffords became an independent in 2001, I said it was a sad day for the Republicans, but it would be even sadder if we failed to confront and learn from the devaluation of diversity within the party that contributed to his defection.


Regrettably, we failed to learn the lessons of Jim Jeffords’s defection in 2001.


It is true that being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of “Survivor” — you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe. But it is truly a dangerous signal that a Republican senator of nearly three decades no longer felt able to remain in the party.


I have said that, without question, we cannot prevail as a party without conservatives. But it is equally certain we cannot prevail in the future without moderates.


There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party.


We can’t continue to fold our philosophical tent into an umbrella under which only a select few are worthy to stand. Rather, we should view an expansion of diversity within the party as a triumph that will broaden our appeal.


Filed under Arlen Specter, Barack Obama, Democrats, George Voinovich, humor, John Cornyn, Judd Gregg, Mitch McConnell, movies, Olympia Snowe, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, Susan Collins, Wordpress Political Blogs

17 responses to “It’s His Party, and He’ll Leave If He Wants To!

  1. jeb

    I find myself in complete agreement with McConnell (blech, I just threw up in my mouth after typing that). Specter has always been about Specter – all politicians are to some extent but he’s just more blatant than most. As I recall, in 2004, he had to journey to the dark side and promise to be a good little neo-con to keep the hard right from supporting a primary challenge against him.

    I hope when I’m 80, I’m not scrambling around trying to pathetically hold on to my career.

    • mcconnell is wrong. this is not just about pennsylvania. it’s about the national rethug party and their attacks on anyone who won’t kiss the ass of rush limpdick and kowtow to the christian right. yes, arlen is about arlen, but that’s true about almost every politician. maybe because he’s 80, he realizes this is his last chance to be a mensch and actually stand up for what he believes instead of being told what to do or say. don’t misunderstand, i think he’s been a real shithead on several occasions in the past. however, i think his defection is a good thing. it makes the rethugs look bad, it takes away their token senate jew (all they have left is eric cantor 😆 ), and it will probably help pass legislation.

  2. Dusty

    I hope to hell the Rethugs keep moving to the extreme right..they will be nothing more than a fringe party.

    Snowe said she wouldn’t leave the party. But if they put up some rightwinger to run against her..what chance would she have?

    I hope to see the Rethugs completely marginalized within the next four years. 😉 I friggin pray for it!

    • i think snowe and collins are very safe. the people of maine seem to really like them. i don’t think they would vote for a rightwinger. that’s what makes them more free to criticize the rethugs. there’s really not very much the rethugs could do to hurt them. that said, i don’t know why they would stay in a party that disses them. it would be one thing if there were some reasonable people left who might be persuaded to rethink their stances. however, all that’s left are wingnuts, and they aren’t going to change.

  3. Dusty

    David Schuster interviewed Snowe this morning and she said she would rather stay and fight to change the party ..which fits into your way of thinking on this Nonnie..they can’t hurt Snowe or Collins.

    But still, like you said, who would want to stay in a party that constantly calls them names, and rips them for how they vote?

    I just don’t get it..they are intelligent females, wtf?

    • maybe she’s sentimental and doesn’t want to change that R after her name. i can understand staying and fighting when there is something left to fight for. it’s quite another thing to bail out water on the titanic.

  4. Dusty

    Nonnie, don’t you think the Rethugs are basically becoming a green party-like group of wingbats? They are regional now as there are no conservatards left in the northeast and west coast areas of the country. Which is fine w/me! 😉

    • There are wingnuts everywhere, including the Northeast and West Coast (I should know, I’m originally from California and used to live in Bakersfield). There just aren’t enough of them in those regions to elect someone to statewide office.

  5. Dusty

    I just read what I wrote..I did not mean the green party is a bunch of wingbats..its just that they have no power, very little organization and I don’t think any federal elected officials.

    • i think the rethuglican party should rename themselves the republican parody. they are really a laughingstock. i think there are some who are sincere and well-meaning, even if i don’t agree with many of their stances. however, they’ve been overtaken by religious zealots, the nra, and racist homophobes. there used to be repubs you could admire. there might be a few left, but they can’t be heard over the shrill bullshit being spewed by the true wingnuts. i would be embarrassed to be identified as being a member of the same party they belong to.

      • dusty

        My father, a staunch, life-long Rethug told me 4 years ago he would never vote for ‘one of those bastards’ ever again. made my day!

        Goldwater was a Rethug I admired on many levels. But his libertarian streak on civil rights really chapped my ass.

        • when the rethugs started concentrating on social issues, they lost my respect. they want small government, except for the branch that will monitor what goes on in your uterus or in your bedroom or that makes sure you are praying in school.

    • A better comparison would be to the Libertarians and the Constitution Party, both of which are minor parties on the Right–and both of which poach voters from the GOP.

  6. dusty

    Pat Buchanan is one wingnut that can stay with the extremists.

    He drives me insane daily on MSNBC. 😉 God how I hate that moron!

    • dusty,
      i just watched him once again trying to defend torture. jonathan turley had him for lunch. when pat breaks out his nervous giggle and starts calling his opponent snide names, you know he’s lost the argument.

  7. This is one of those situations in which I don’t think that there is a good guy.

    Specter is a weasel. He’s never had a problem breaking with the GOP before, but now he feels like he needs to break. That’s probably because he’s facing a primary challenge next go-round.

    As for the GOP – It’s certainly true that the loudest voices in the party have no patience for anyone who isn’t in line with the Limbaugh crowd. They haven’t liked Specter for a long time, and he wasn’t really welcome at the party anymore.

    • i agree, wickle. there are no good guys and there are none who are not looking out for their own political future. however, that’s the nature of the beast when you’re talking about politicians.