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Republicans need Washingtons, not Specters

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The columns are all over the place, and all the analyses seem to be the same.

The Republican Party is supposedly deader than a doornail. Except in a handful of states in mid-America and in the South, Americans, according to these columnists, see Republicans as irrelevant, out-of-touch, mean-spirited dinosaurs.

And, they continue, among those groups that will demographically define the America of tomorrow -- the under-30 crowd and non-white America -- Republicans are toast.

These many columns inevitably lead to the conclusion that Republicans have no choice but to lighten up on the conservative agenda and buy into a new America of big government and gay marriage.

But, may I remind folks, that we just had a presidential election in which 130 million voters cast ballots and the difference between the winner and the loser was 9 million votes. Not exactly what I would call an insurmountable divide.

Nor should we forget that there was that window following the Republican convention when the McCain-Palin ticket was leading.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows 42 percent self-identifying as Democrats compared to 31 percent as Republicans. But the same poll shows 35 percent identifying as conservatives compared to 24 percent as liberals.

According to Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic Party shows what's wrong with Republicans -- they can't tolerate moderates -- and not what is wrong with Specter.

But there is little doubt that Specter changed parties because polls were showing him getting his clock cleaned in the Republican primary by conservative Pat Toomey.

More revealing about Specter is that, in light of this, he didn't simply choose to retire.

Here is a 79 year old man, elected five times to the US Senate as a Republican, who concluded that it is so important that he continue -- that he have a sixth term, serving well into his eighties -- that he totally shafts the party that supported his national candidacy for almost 30 years.

We're talking about years of getting party funds and Republican leaders coming in to Pennsylvania to campaign on his behalf.

Not only does he shaft the party that supported him, but he does it when the power balance in the Senate hangs on a thread, and a shift of one -- Specter -- makes the Democratic majority filibuster proof. And, he does this at a time when the most left wing administration in our history is pushing through a mega-ambitious agenda to nationalize everything in sight and undermine every traditional value we hold dear.

Truth is that Specter is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. He is a self serving egotist that stands for nothing other than the pursuit of personal political power and having the federal government as his sandbox to play in.

Consider that the first American politician to term limit himself was George Washington. As Washington's second term came to a conclusion, many around him felt his leadership was indispensable to the fledgling nation.

Yet Washington, who led the nation in war, and then as its first president, took himself out of the running. He knew that America fought to throw off the yoke of kings and the capricious use of power.

Considering that the greatest of Americans limited his political career out of principle casts further irony that the most unprincipled of Americans, Arlen Specter, feels he's so indispensable that he'll betray anyone or anything to hold on to power.

We should also recall Washington's guidance in his farewell address that "Of all the dispensations and habits which led to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports."

It's a message as relevant to today as when Washington wrote it in 1796, and relevant to every American of every background.

Republican Party problems started from straying from principles, not from sticking to them.

The party's future lies in principles, not in pandering. We need George Washingtons. Not Arlen Specters.

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