So why did Senator Arlen Specter (R- I mean, D-PA) switch parties? Let me break it down for you. Specter is up for reelection in 2010. He won his 2004 primary against his conservative challenger Pat Toomey by only 51 to 49. Just a few days ago, a Rasmussen poll put Toomey ahead, by 51 to 30, among Republicans in Pennsylvania.
Additionally, Specter was viewed unfavorably by 55% of the GOP electorate, compared to only 42% favorable. The same poll found that 79% had a favorable view of the Tea Parties. In the light of Specter’s support for President Obama’s Stimulus Package, without which, would not have passed, Specter realized he was facing an insurmountable brick wall for reelection. His decisions were to either gracefully go down with the ship, or jump ranks to the majority. He chose the latter, for obvious reasons.
As he stood the chance of losing the Republican Primary in Pennsylvania, there is one more technical reason Senator Specter couldn’t “Pull a Lieberman” afterwards and run as an independent: In Pennsylvania, a ”Sore Loser Law” prevents just that. Specter didn’t want to risk his honor by being unemployed at 80 years old, so instead, sacrificed it himself at the altar of public opinion.
In response to the swap, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “I say to Republicans in America take back your party… The party of protecting the environment, the party of individual rights, the party of fairness.”
We appreciate your audition as a chief strategist, Madame Speaker, but seemingly unbeknownst to you, “fairness,” does not define Republicans. Equality defines Republicans, or the conservatives, or the “right wing extremists,” as DHS Secretary Napolitano put it. However you define us, we waning right-wingers believe in equality of opportunity – not equality of outcome, or as you put it, fairness. We believe in “Equal Justice Under the Law,” the phrase engraved on the Supreme Court building, embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and upheld by the Court itself. Whereas justice is based on judgment, fairness is based on emotion, which waivers with opinion more so than sound judgment.
Which brings me back to the shifting-sands mentality of one Senator Specter. I still respect Arlen Specter, an humble public servant, albeit sans political courage. The problem I have is not with Specter’s defection, which could not be stopped, but with the GOP’s response to it, which possibly could have been.
Michael Steele, the slapdash chairman of the Republican National Committee, told reporters, “For the senator to flip the bird back to Senator Cornyn and the Republican Senate Leadership, a team that stood by him, who went to the bat for him in 2004, to save his hide is not only disrespectful but down right rude… I’m sure his mama didn’t raise him this way.” The Chairman went on to say, “If Sen. Specter survives in the fall — get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we’re coming after you and taking you out.”
Pardon? In my opinion, this is a less than appropriate response. Your haphazard colloquialisms, Chairman, are not helping the party’s image. Off the cuff, let me help you out, sir:
“Good afternoon. As you may have heard, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, has made the decision to caucus with the Democrats for reelection in 2010. This comes as a disappointment, but not a surprise. We are grateful for his three decades of service in the Republican Party, and we wish him well, but not luck, in the future.
“This is a good moment to address the subject of moderates in the GOP. As always, the Republican Party’s doors are open to all those who share our values – the values of a fiscally conservative, limited government, the values inherent in maximum economic and individual liberties, and the values of a strong internal foundation made possible by an equally strong national defense. These are the same values upon which our forefathers founded this nation, and as Republican figures such as George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were fiercely independent, we have come to expect our party’s members to be so as well. This is what has attracted the Barry Goldwaters and Ronald Reagans, and more recently, the John McCains and Ron Pauls to our party. They are all welcome here.
“So when members decide to bail for political expedience, based on their recent voting record and poll numbers, it is a blow not for the party, but for us as a people, because we hate to see folks abandon their principles and succumb to the pulls of populism. We understand Senator Specter had to go to Pennsylvania and put his proverbial finger in the air to detect which way the winds were going to blow. It is disappointing he didn’t regard his own values strong enough to stand on during winds of change.
“As an opportunist, we don’t expect Senator Specter’s voting record to change much with his recent switch in party membership; we expect him to vote with us some of the time, and against us other times, as he has done most recently with the Stimulus Package, the largest spending bill in the history of the world. We can certainly handle the loss of his embarrassment along with his party membership; however, we still invite Senator Specter and other Democrats to vote with us when their conscience decides so.
“We do not welcome the votes of opportunists, though. We are willing to hedge our bets against the Democrats with our strong understanding of the Constitution and this nation’s rich and vibrant history, because here, we are able to draw a broad line of demarcation between ourselves and our friends on the other side of the aisle. From the values of our founding we draw our strength. We will continue to offer better solutions to the American people, and pledge to work for you, fighting the recent proliferation of government intrusion in your lives. Therefore, we pledge to hold the line on government spending, the root of our current and future economic problems.
We pledge to fight for a better, brighter, stronger America. We didn’t become a world leader by capitulating to the sentiments of others. We got to this place by standing up, and occasionally fighting, for the freedoms of others. We pledge to fight for our values, the same values as those who have come before us. This is our pledge to America, and we look forward to a brighter future in the Republican Party, with or without Arlen Specter. Thank you.”
…it’s that simple!Share on Facebook