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.
Specter said that aside from political self-preservation and a growing ideological indisposition to conservative Republicans, he switched largely because he agrees with liberal Democrats on spending and taxes.
That means we're in for still more "stimulus" spending. (Question: In this euphemized hour when a liberal is a "moderate," how is it "stimulating" to incur debt to spend on things we cannot afford, do not need, and until this morning didn't know we wanted?). We face higher taxes and deficit financing for everything from preschool and alternative energy (but not nuclear power, of course) to Social Security and socialized medicine. And we haven't even talked about the war on terror.
There you go again. The Obama administration has discarded the phrase "war on terror" -- terming it imprecise and archaic.
Which reinforces the point about euphemization. Why nice things up? Why not call them what they are? Whether we like it or not, suicidal cut-throats are waging a religious war against us to set up a worldwide caliphate. Sounds like terror and calamity to me. But that's another conversation.
Right. Do the Republicans have a future? Can they ever come back?
Of course they can. In 1980, after two election cycles, Republicans took control of the Senate -- having held just 40 seats four years before. In the 1994 congressional elections, the Democrats lost big time, prompting political cognoscenti in the academy and the press to predict the end of the donkey party.
These days the donkeys swamp the elephants. And the legislative and executive branches are so lopsidedly leftist there may be no way to stop the Democrats from taking the nation over the banana-republic cliff.
Right now, for instance, the Obama administration is contemplating criminalizing past actions of the Bush administration on such things as waterboarding three al-Qaidists to get them to disclose imminent attacks against America. That's our version of the firing squads one tin-pot junta employs when it throws out the preceding one.
Sounds like on the Specter thing you're going macro, postal, ballistic.
In the early part of Obama's political career in Chicago, he prevailed electorally several times when his opponents -- or his strongest opponents -- were removed from the ballot for various reasons: luck, last-minute revelations, and the likely diligence of his operatives -- some of whom remain in his retinue.
Now, evidently having tasked Joe Biden for the job, this most liberal administration ever has turned perhaps the Republicans' most liberal senator -- putting the Democrats on the cusp of unstoppability regarding whatever they want to do. And in the November 2010 elections, Democratic margins may increase.
So, no checks?
No checks on the enslavement of the citizenry to the government -- whatever the cause, whoever's to blame. Not good. And not healthy -- particularly not healthy for this beloved country once called, before the phrase was discarded as archaic, "the land of the free."
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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