Ross Mackenzie

The switch of Pennsylvania's Sen. Arlen Specter from the Republicans to the Democrats serves those Neanderthal Bush-Cheney Republicans right -- don't you think?

Yes and no. The decision by the always-liberal Sen. Specter says a lot about him and a lot about his party.

About him it says that even at 79, his primary interest is power -- specifically re-election next year -- and he has so abused Pennsylvania Republicans and their values with his wacky positions and votes on so many issues for so long that only running as a Democrat can bring him victory.

But doesn't it suggest the Republicans are too Southern, too conservative -- too extreme -- to retain moderates in the party?

About the Republicans, it surely says they need to focus less on ideological purity, stop purging ideological deviationists, get their game together, and start offering better candidates with compelling, persuasive positions.

Let's be clear that last fall not all Republicans hated George Bush. And not all opposed John McCain and Republicans generally in the hope that a heavily Democratic Congress and a dose of Obama leftism would knock some necessary sense into all right-thinking Americans come 2012. The idiot Republicans who thought that way, and voted that way, have gotten the calamitous consequences they wished for. And the Democrats are standing in the tall cotton.

I still say it serves the Republicans right.

If you're in the business of allotting blame and want an acknowledgment that this all is partly the result of Republican missteps and stupidity, then OK.

But it's not entirely so. It's also a reflection of the ideologization of the electorate. Just as the Republicans boast few remaining liberals, so the Democrats boast few conservatives -- it's hard to name any. Liberals shun the word "liberal" and have appropriated the word "moderate." They're devout leftists nevertheless. Little room remains in the center anymore. Perhaps never has the maxim been truer: If you drive in the middle of the road, you risk getting hit from both directions.

You mentioned "calamitous consequences." What do you mean? What's so calamitous about the Specter switch?

With the craziness in Minnesota that looks like a loss for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman -- thereby raising to a filibuster-proof 60 the number of Democratic senators -- Arlen Specter's deviation greases the rails for the leftist bullet train to scream through the living room.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

Be the first to read Ross Mackenzie's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.