Often described as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) on the right, Specter’s departure isn’t exactly being mourned in conservative circles, but fellow “moderates” are circling the wagons. Ringleader David Frum considers the defection some sort of catastrophic event:
For years, many in the conservative world have wished for an ideologically purer GOP. Their wish has been granted. Happy?
Let’s take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party. And until and unless there is an honored place made in the Republican Party for people who think like Arlen Specter, we will remain a minority party.
Honored place? What’s so honorable about voting for a bill that will bankrupt our nation and put our children and grandchildren into hock before many of them are even born? Or bailing out the auto industry instead of allowing the market to separate the good eggs from the bad?
And Sen. Olympia Snowe from Maine wasn’t surprised at his move. Perhaps she’s not far behind?
GOP leaders, however, were taken by surprise, which either proves that Specter truly kept his intentions a secret until the last minute or that the Beltway Republicans are completely out of touch with the Republican base. I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the latter.
We hear a lot about “moderate Republicans” and how we should honor and respect them and make room in the “big tent.” But what about those “moderate Democrats” and their big tent? Last time I recall a prominent Democrat bucking the party line, he was defeated in the primary but, due to his overall popularity in a state with more independents than Republicans or Democrats, was elected as an independent. Democrats didn’t make much room in the tent for Joe Lieberman, did they? And his party had to welcome him back into the caucus, even if it wasn’t with open arms, if they were to hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.
If you’re going to act like a Democrat, you might as well be one. Will the real Arlen Specter please stand up? It looks like he has. And fortunately for Pennsylvanians, they’ll be able to vote for the real Arlen Specter next November instead of the pasteboard image that’s been propped up for years.
The question on everyone’s lips now is, facing a similar primary challenge, will John McCain follow suit?