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Arlen Specter's Switch and GOP's Identity Crisis

The Republican Party's identity crisis just got worse with Sen. Arlen Specter's announcement that he is leaving the GOP to join the Democrats.

I know, I know. Specter's move is about his own political survival. He was facing a stiff Republican primary challenge from former Rep. Pat Toomey, who was leading the senior senator from Pennsylvania in the latest Quinnipiac poll 41 to 27. (To show its appreciation for Specter's switch, the Democratic Party has promised not to field any other candidates for the 2010 contest.)

But there is also something to Specter's public explanation of his decision: "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

Moderates like Specter have been run out of what, as November's election showed, has become a niche regional party in thrall to its far right wing. Just take a look at this map that illustrates how votes shifted between the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. Although nationally the country trended blue, as did most of Specter's Pennsylvania, the GOP gains were concentrated in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and parts of Texas, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Meanwhile, the GOP hasn't coalesced around any ideas that weren't born in the Reagan years. It hasn't been able to muster the kind of galvanizing policy positions that made the Contract with America a rallying point for Republicans to go toe to toe with President Clinton in the 1990s. And it's still in search of a leader.

Specter's switch potentially gives Senate Democrats the 60th vote they need to move on President Obama's vast agenda without Republican votes. This has the Democratic party faithful fist-bumping from coast to coast. But for the health of the republic, there must be a robust Republican Party -- one whose ideas and leaders challenge the majority and help to create good laws, programs and policies.

While the party isn't over for Republicans, it's getting there after a day like today.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 28, 2009; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

I think it is nothing more than opportunism and a display that the GOP and DNC are equally bad. No matter who you pull the lever for you get big government, big spending, and huge deficits.

There is nothing surprising or noteworthy about it at all.

Posted by: tk221 | April 28, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Machiavelli eat your heart out

Posted by: rgodwin | April 28, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey GOP:

SHRINK ON!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jfern03 | April 28, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Specter has always been a political opportunist of the worst kind. But it is a rational decision on his part. He clearly recognizes the Republican train wreck up ahead as the party becomes a religion based party of the cotton South and isolated pockets of wingnuts in the Rocky Mountain West.

Posted by: slim2 | April 28, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

A party of fundamentalist American Taliban, bigots, hypocrites, racists, theives, treasonous outers of covert CIA agents, and greedy skinflints is...

UNAMERICAN!

THAT is why Americans REJECT them in overwhelming numbers.

Apparently only 20% of the nation agrees with the party of fundamentalist American Taliban, bigots, racists, theives, hypocrites, treasonous outers of covert CIA agents, and greedy skinflints.

"WHIG" = NEOCON

Posted by: onestring | April 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The WP has it wrong AGAIN. The GOP is cleaning house and Specter was no longer welcome, nor is his insatiable need for power going to play well with the republicans who voted democrat in the last two elections. A huge majority of voters want change, meaning getting rid of every one of the dinosaurs in the senate and house. Specter is as old as dinosaur poo. He and Murtha are going bye bye from politics.

Posted by: candyzky | April 28, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart you are and idiot... How in the world does this hurt the republican party? they are losing a member who almost never voted with them in the past few years? If the conservative movement/ republican party is dieing so quickly as you are pointing out then why is foxnew destroying msnbc and cnn combined during the week? They may not have a leader but neither do the democrats! Who is it nancy polocy , harry reid , obama? You have no real leader either!!! So try for one moment no to be bias and report from both sides...

Posted by: skinsfan1313 | April 28, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute. You say, "But for the health of the republic, there must be a robust Republican Party -- one whose ideas and leaders challenge the majority and help to create good laws, programs and policies." Malarky!! Substitute "electorate" for "Republican Party" and read some history books, too.

Posted by: 0nl00k3r | April 28, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The WP has it wrong AGAIN. The GOP is cleaning house and Specter was no longer welcome, nor is his insatiable need for power going to play well with the republicans who voted democrat in the last two elections. A huge majority of voters want change, meaning getting rid of every one of the dinosaurs in the senate and house. Specter is as old as dinosaur poo. He and Murtha are going bye bye from politics.

Posted by: candyzky | April 28, 2009 4:07 PM

That is exactly the thinking that has led the Republican party to their 21% voter identification rate. If there is no room for moderate conservatives in the Republican party, how will the R's ever win another election? Face it, candyzky, there aren't enough "true believers" left to win an election or govern effectively.

Posted by: NMModerate1 | April 28, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This rump party with the Republican lable just needs to go away along with the likes of Limbaugh, Cheney, Hannity, all Bushes, "The Hammer", Newt, al of the so-called Christian Right, not to mention Palin, John, Kyl, and the other hate-inspired Republicans!
I am proposing a new Libertarian party open to Liberal Democrats on issues like insurance, government reform, Green policies, and restraint of corporatism; and moderate Republicans interested in removing things like Education, rampant militarism, foreign adventures from national government, and working for a pay as you go budget, replacement of that traitorous tax code to a simple flat tax on all income after an automatic adjusting deduction based on area poverty income; to removal of all subsidies that distort business for politcial ambitions, removal of all earmarks for ones congressional district, and full accountability for all governmental actions.
The Republican Party like the Democratic party are simply extensions of Corporate Fascism and a new party not controlled by these dark forces is needed to provide that balance the FOX propaganda rag refers to occasionily!

Posted by: Chaotician | April 28, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

As a former Pennsylvanian, Specter is confirming what I've always thought about him - A politcal opportunist and nothing more. If he helps the nation get to universal healthcare, then the change may be worth the trouble. If not, he won't be filling the seat much longer. Another Democrat will be taking his place. Republicans are fools if they think Toomey can win PA.

Posted by: JacksonGA | April 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Citizen Specter is subect to a future election. He obviously did not make this decision 'lightly'. Maybe at His age He's thinking more along posterity lines.... You know.... larger than party policy hacks. Maybe there are more of them? We can only hope at this point.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | April 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Another Blog has a quote by Limbaugh stating that John McCain and his daughter should join Specter in leaving the GOP. It will be interesting to see if Mt.McCain erupts or just apologizes to Rush. I'm waiting for the words of Palin. Bachmann and Hannity.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | April 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The time has come to cut out the crap about blue and red states and get back to the party in power and the loyal opposition. Spector is smart enough to realize this and hence his change of parties.

We have major problems in this country that need to be fixed ASAP or we'll never get out of the mess we're in. Spector is smart enough to realize this.

Give the guy credit for caring and wanting to do improve things.

Posted by: pjente | April 28, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

These are overweighted charges. What new ideas have the Democrats coalesced around? Expanded health care coverage and green energy were priorities in the Carter administration!

I agree that the GOP needs to expand beyond its Southern roots. In order to accomplish this, I would favor that the GOP moderate its national views on social issues, which should not be that hard given that most of these social issues are determined by either the states or the judiciary (abortion, school prayer, evolution, guns, gays, etc.)

Nonetheless, given Democrats will soon be blamed for the economic morass because they are in power, the GOP could probably just win by sitting on the sidelines and hurling stones, like the Democrats did from '01 through '08

Posted by: Dellis2 | April 28, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Reagan came to town with the professed ideas of a limited federal government, and Specter in his speech is trying to say he rode in on the same things that got Reagan elected? Bull.... he was trying to cover his own arse prior to the upcoming primary. Also, he is not a moderate, which appears to be the WP's term for a Republican who routinely votes Democrat. He is a soft-liberal politician who used to have an R in front of his name. How many times have we heard the Post talk about moderates on the D side of the aisle?? Hardly ever, and all are treated the same by the Post and others... that they are persons of integrity and are without reproach.
Congressmen William "cold cash" Jefferson and Charlie "what taxes" Rangel ring a bell to anyone? Where is Pelosi's reign of integrity that she promised to the House? All republicans that even smelled of scandal were run out of town, yet these two and others remain from the Dems, and have never been investigated.
C'mon jfern, slim, onestring, and Moderate... are you going to be part of the party of hypocrites?

Posted by: alutz08 | April 28, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is cleaning house and Specter was no longer welcome....

Feel free to continue to "clean" your house by burning it down.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | April 28, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Specter's switch potentially gives Senate Democrats the 60th vote they need to move on President Obama's vast agenda without Republican votes.
______
Well so the Democrats control everything now.. no more excuses. So let Obama put in his "vast agenda" then lets' see what shape this country is in when the bill comes due.. Way I see it this could be a boom for Repubicans running in 20l0. And in 2012. Obama can't run on "change" again. I hope things improve but if they don't who should we blame next time???

Posted by: sovine08 | April 28, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Wait till all the rest comes out. You think the Republican Rats are scurrying over each other now to jump ship!

Specter is just the beginning of the end of the Republican Party.

When will the conservatives with a moral compass finally realize they need to start another party?

Its what the Berlin Wall was to the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Regeman | April 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: skinsfan1313

Mr. Capehart you are and idiot... How in the world does this hurt the republican party? they are losing a member who almost never voted with them in the past few years? If the conservative movement/ republican party is dieing so quickly as you are pointing out then why is foxnew destroying msnbc and cnn combined during the week? They may not have a leader but neither do the democrats! Who is it nancy polocy , harry reid , obama? You have no real leader either!!! So try for one moment no to be bias and report from both sides...
--------------------------------------
skinsfan1313,
your post removes all doubt as to why the republican party is in the dire straits that they are in and WHY they continuing to keep sinking in quicksand. Here is a news flash for you: TV NEWS RATINGS DOES NOT COUNT AS VOTES! Geee!!!

Your rationale for the democrats not having any leadership and the republicans having leadership based on Fox News viewer ratings being better than msnbc & cnn is as stupid as it gets!

What you should be asking is why the h3ll aren't the great republican ideas being embraced by the majority of Americans if you are so convinced that the right-wing ideology is SOOOOOO RIGHT????

Why is that???

And please don't insult America, as does your Hero Sandwich Rush Limbaugh, by calling the majority of Americans stupid! The evidence is simply does not support it but the evidence does support a vast amount of stupidity on the right-wingers side.

How you guys are able to rationalize completing screwing yourself into oblivion is a talent all of its own!!

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | April 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Dream on Pal.
It's Arlen Specter who has the Identity crisis not the GOP.

The GOP knows it doesn't want a socialist form of Government it's you liberals that do.

The lines are clearly drawn and keep in mind almost half of this country didn’t vote for the messiah.
So stop acting like you’re going to win the next 50 elections.

If you think your liberal policies are so great, just cast your eyes up to the great Northeast.
For the last 60 years it’s been nothing but Democratic rule.
You’d think this should be the land of milk and honey by now.
Think again.
We have the highest unemployment and taxes anywhere.
Business can’t get out of here fast enough and who can blame them.
And you can’t blame that on Bush, that’s been going on here for YEARS!

And what’s the liberal democratic response to the problem?
The same as it always is, you’re not paying enough taxes so we’ll raise it some more!

Ask yourself why anyone would keep voting for these democrats if they’ve created this insane
situation?

We’ll, up here its unions and State and Local government jobs that control just about everything.
Teachers Unions, Police and Fire Unions, State and Local Government Unions, ect.
The strongest unions are the government employee unions…get the picture?
They all vote the same way Democratic.
The normal working people have no chance of getting them out of office there’s just not enough of them
to make a difference, as I said the businesses can’t get out of here quick enough thus the highest unemployment
ANYWHERE!

And that’s what’s headed your way if you don’t start getting a clue.

Without the truly corrupt liberal media in this country the democrats could never get elected.
Why not?
Because a fair and honest media would treat both parties equally and expose wrong doing equally.
But that’s not what we have today.
We have a president get elected without any type of vetting.
Certainly not the type of vetting Bush got or previous presidents got.

We have one of the worst financial crisis ever, yet no type of investigation or even a curiosity as to
how, why and who was responsible for it.
No public accounting of it what so ever…Does anyone else find that more than a little strange?
I’m sorry but I thought part of the media’s job, aside from always telling the truth, was to get to the bottom of
stories that people didn’t want you to get to the bottom of.

We have a media that when Specter decides to switch parties they break out in celebration.

That’s the kind of bias, from the people reporting the news, that you liberals rely on to give you the truth….It’s truly Pathetic…and Dangerous….

Posted by: rockmon | April 28, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the country run by the people, for the people? Now it is run by the government, for the government's own purpose. What happened to the founders' insistence of keeping the federal government limited in size and scope? The Constitution was not written with the intention of the Fed becoming as large as it is today. The focus was on states rights and state rule, but the federal government would protect the states and the union from outside encroachment on our liberties.

Unfortunately, it appears that too many out there, including so many on this message board have fallen into the trap and believe that government can solve every problem. Please tell me, other than the military, one major program of the government that is completely successful?
Can't name one... go figure.

Posted by: alutz08 | April 28, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Capehart: You're a little late. Rush Limbaugh recited your column before you even posted it.. He and anybody awake knew what you would say. Predictability, unfortunately, does not always equal job security. Make sure you get Soros or somebody to sponsor you when the Post folds.

Posted by: chatard | April 28, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

To show its appreciation for Specter's switch, the Democratic Party has promised not to field any other candidates for the 2010 contest.

This has the Democratic party faithful fist-bumping from coast to coast.


According to whom?

Posted by: miket000 | April 28, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the quality of both parties just went up.

Posted by: tengam | April 28, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

No, the country does not need a robust - or even functional Republican Party. The country may need a loyal, capable opposition party with both good faith and an actual plan/program to compare to that of the party in power. But the Republican Party is not that party. The Republican Party is dying, and the sooner the better. Not to worry. Another party (or other parties) will come along as needed. The constitution says nothing about our requiring this dying white elephant.

Posted by: rlevine2 | April 28, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Beg to differ with editorialist Capehart who, 99% of the time, makes perfect sense. However, the nation's political health does not depend on a "robust Republican Party". Far from it. In fact, Senator Spector has pried up the rock back under which the detritus of the GOP can scurry--a dark, moist and unwholesome oblivion it richly deserves. Let some other party, or parties, take its place. What we need is rational, realistic and robust political discourse in our republic, not the ravings of a loony, southern states-based, recidivist right-wing.

Posted by: woodmack | April 28, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sovine08

Well so the Democrats control everything now.. no more excuses. So let Obama put in his "vast agenda" then lets' see what shape this country is in when the bill comes due.. Way I see it this could be a boom for Repubicans running in 20l0. And in 2012. Obama can't run on "change" again. I hope things improve but if they don't who should we blame next time???
--------------------------------------
sovine08,
you are absolutely right; however, the converse of your argument is the Republicans will be left without a single excuse. When President Obama' agenda works and the Democrat control Congress produces legislation that jump starts economic prosperity what will the republican excuse and rationalization be then?????

I can hear the 2012 campaign slogan now " If you are better off now than you were four years ago re-elect President Obama".

And the headlines will read the day after the election " President wins re-election in an electoral landside carrying all 50 states. Congress tilts decidedly to the Democrats as they pick up ten more seats in the Senate and 30 more seats in the HOR."

Keep thinking you right-wingers are so right and everyone else is so wrong and stupid! The way the republicans are handling their HUGE problems is affirmation to the rest of us Americans that we are doing the right thing by getting rid of them.

Rush Limbaugh et al are rich! They will continue to be rich even after it becomes obvious to the poor working class republicans that they were fighting for the wrong issues.

The sad thing about this whole republican mess is that the conservative ideas that need to be promulgated are being cast aside because you right-wing idiots are more interested in going broke on being right about the wrong ideas! Tea bags are for making tea not for poor working class people to use to make a point about rich people being taxed too much. Not single rich person nor corporate representative showed up to the tea party to protest being taxed too much. You tell me how much sense that makes!

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | April 28, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

rockmon wrote:

The lines are clearly drawn and keep in mind almost half of this country didn’t vote for the messiah.
-------------------------------------
rockmon,
less than half voted for your action hero George W. Bush! or have you forgot already!!
You right-wingers are not lying when you all say ya'll don't watch nor read MSM. You right-wingers are some of the most ignorant SOBs I have ever had to listen to!!! Get out and listen to someone other than the idiots you been listening to because you guys are totally oblivious to the fact the republican boat is sinking really fast and the only thing left on that sinking boat are the dumbest rats in the world!

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | April 28, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's what the Specter defection represents. The moderate, educated, fiscally conservative and socially moderate voter that used to define the Republican party--that voter is no longer welcome in the party.

Wow.

Posted by: tmaffolter | April 28, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I believe that there is both opportunism and truth in Specter's party switch. It's true that what is left of the Republican Party has no place for him - Toomey and the Pennsylvania Republicans have told him so. This is an opportune moment to leave. It's also true that Specter will almost surely beat Toomey in a general election as a Democrat - and beat him handily. Whatever his party, Arlen Specter has been more comfortable with the Democratic position for years. He is an intelligent and moderate person, how could he not question the brand under which he worked now that it has been captured by its immoderate southern wing.

As to needing Republicans, remember that they evolved from the Know Nothings. Like trees that grow then die, they are rotting into the soil from which they sprang - returning to their roots. Something new is needed. It may call itself Republican again, but if what we see is what they got, then we need to figure out how to challenge the dominant party's ideas some other way in order to sustain the healthy debate that makes for a strong democracy.

Posted by: eroot | April 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I will be extremely happy to see Arlen Specter's obituary notice.

Posted by: hclark1 | April 28, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Re: William Kristol/Newt Gingrich retorts on Arlen Specter's leaving the GOP --- "lipstick on a pig" is the way I'd describe their "good news" comments. Or, perhaps, "whistling past the graveyard" might fit the bill.
Really, these guys crack me up! Heck of a job, Newtie/Billy!

Posted by: timmat | April 28, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

>there must be a robust Republican Party -- one whose ideas and leaders challenge the majority and help to create good laws, programs and policies<

Why is this true? It's reads like a sop to conservative readers.

Frankly, there's no reason Democrats won't challenge themselves - they are hardly an homogenous lot.

And let's no forget that George Washington was no fan of political parties. ""I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State" he spoke in his 1796 farewell address.

Posted by: davewyman | April 28, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Specter was right on the mark when he complained about the GOP's neocon/far-rightie seismic shift.

The GOPERS confused their victory over Jimmy Carter. They thought it was as mandate to undo the New Deal. Far from it. Now through decades of Constitutional erosion, Big Government spending, and interference in people's personal lives by trying to enforce some imaginary morality on us, they are left with nothing but the blame.

And there's plenty of it. Their rule has left America in a shambles, internationally shamed and domestically in ruins. Their greed-driven tax policies allowed corporations to screw every nickel they could out of the workforce and the tax system, then move overseas.

The free-trade model was a complete, abject failure which has destroyed the American manufacturing base while shrinking the middle class and shifting 50% of the nation's wealth to the top 1%.

Thanks, GOP, for the memories.

-Wexler

Posted by: WWWexler | April 28, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Joe the Plumber can save the GOP.

Posted by: guitar1 | April 28, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

R.I.P. GOP !

I guess Specter had enough of takeing orders from Rush Limbaugh!

I'm sure all the pundits will say "good riddance"...anything they can tell themselves to keep their mind off suicide, I suppose is worthwhile.

Posted by: free-donny | April 28, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

sovine08,
you are absolutely right; however, the converse of your argument is the Republicans will be left without a single excuse. When President Obama' agenda works and the Democrat control Congress produces legislation that jump starts economic prosperity what will the republican excuse and rationalization be then?????
_____
Here's to yah.. A one party government, just what the founders pictured when they created this country.. Thing is you still have to do it first. You guys are all happy cause you won an election. Hate to break the bad news but Republicans won a lot of elections in the past. But now is the hard part. Lets' see if big government is the answer.. let's see if Reagan was wrong. The way I see it we got this problem was because Republicans acted like Democrats and spent to much. Bush was weak and wouldn't veto anything.. Now Bush is gone and Repubs are either gone or like Spector became what they already were anyway.. So now we will have Democrats acting and spending like Democrats. with no one slowing them down... So here's the test do well and your'll be around for a long time.. Not and well you remember Jimmy Carter right???

Posted by: sovine08 | April 28, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

We need a credible opposition, but I doubt that the Republicans will ever again be that party.

Posted by: unojklhh1 | April 28, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

The Republican party continues to hemorrhage people. They don't want you if you're concerned about the poor and pollution, if you're a minority member, gay, not a religious Evangelical or a moderate. If you're not willing to love torture, Bush, Cheney and Rush, you are not welcome.

Posted by: jaynashvil | April 28, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Why all of the fuss by the GOP naysayers who allege Specter's switch to the DEMO from the GOP was based on his political desire to remain in the US Senate?

Specter read the "political" tea leaves and saw the futility of trying to run for reelection as a GOP in PA that has shifted greatly to a DEMO leaning state.

Moreover, Specter's political philosophy and demeaner is more akin to the DEMOS and Independents. In short, Specter understood that remaining in the Sounthern-based GOP would end his political career. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. As a 84 year-old DEMO, I hope the GOP sinks deeper into a regional, Southern, political party. This will strengthen our party's hold on the US House and Senate for years to come, and it will cement the GOP's status as a toothless tiger minority party.

Posted by: fgerard | April 28, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

jj153 wrote on April, 28 6:51 PM:
since when should we allow the friends of israel control our country we should turn back to the times before shifty lawyers got into the system and bent almost all the rules to favor the top 1% of the people in this country

Posted by: johnjamj | April 28, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

". . .there must be a robust Republican Party -- one whose ideas and leaders challenge the majority and help to create good laws, programs and policies."

Who could disagree with this? Right now, the Republicans come across as favoring tax cuts for the wealthiest, and it's okay for children to go hungry, for many people suffer because they have no health care, for cities to be unable maintain basic services. Add to that a determination to be against equal rights for all citizens and you have a perfect strategy for political decline. If the Republicans could come up with a plausible strategy for the country to provide essential services to all citizens AND pay for the needed programs without running up huge deficits, I'd be interested. But their current policies are losers and will attract fewer and fewer voters. A party of the rich and greedy and bigoted isn't going to succeed let along grow.

Posted by: gjhinnova | April 28, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

"I will be extremely happy to see Arlen Specter's obituary notice."

Ouch! Because he switched parties? Wow!
I'd be scared if I were a GOP citizen or politician -- not of any Democrats or Independents but of gang-mentality GOP constituents .... nobody, absolutely nobody, leaves or sells out the GOP, lol.

Come on GOP, you'll get your turn to rule again, and maybe sooner than you really want. No party stays in power absolute. The Democrats will make mistakes given a shift in political values/winds over the next 8 years or after, and then the cyle of 1-party-rule will begin again. So chill -- be patient:)

Posted by: GroupThink | April 28, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the author except for this part;

"But for the health of the republic, there must be a robust Republican Party -- one whose ideas and leaders challenge the majority and help to create good laws, programs and policies."

No, there doesn't.

There just needs to be a SECOND party or better yet, a third.

I think the U.S. would benefit from the rise of a more pragmatic, libertarian party that believed in the concept of government but a more efficient and limited one, did not endorse a needlessly belligrent and hostile foreign policy, was neutral on social issues, and whose rhetoric was more positive and less hostile, hysterical and hateful than that of the current Republican Party.

I sincerely hope rational and sane conservatives do this eventually and leave the Republican party to the Christian Taliban and war loving neo-conservatives.

It would benefit everyone in the long run.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | April 28, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

It's funny to watch the Republicans implode. I'm a libertarian who once leaned Republican, but the party today is just unrecognizable. The GOP should keep their purification game going. They'll be at 15% party ID by 2012.

Posted by: smc91 | April 28, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The current Republican party offers no positive vision or agenda to appeal to most moderates or independents. The GOP increasingly has become dominated by socially intolerant persons, those obsessed with keeping the wealthy rich, and some who seem to prefer a quasi-authoritarian regime, which tramples at many civil liberties.

Any reasonably intelligent, well informed voter, not a rabid conservative ideologue, realizes the Republican party has no credibility in opposing high government spending by the Obama administration and overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. Most in the GOP support huge deficits when their party controls the national government, but pretend to support fiscal responsibility when Democrats replace them.

Most people realize giving or keeping unfair tax reductions for the rich does very little or nothing to help ordinary people, especially needy persons in this country. Republican opposition to investigations, as well as prosecutions for torture, human rights abuses during the previous regime nullifies any contention their party stands for law and order, the rule of law or civil liberties.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | April 28, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Hoping to keep his seat the elitist Specter, will not make it out of the next primary. The identity crisis was and is his, not the Republican Party, as you centrist, mavericks, moderates, and leftest seem to think or wish.

Posted by: xthat | April 28, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party is now the American Parliament. As long as it stays center left all Congressional power will be exercised by majorities within the Democratic Party. The loyal opposition will be elements within the Democratic Party. The Republican Party will decline in National significance and only serve regional interests at the State and County in seven states.

Posted by: Jerry_Fresno | April 28, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The expression "I think I can see light at the end of the tunnel" often has meaning. Currently any serious thinking Republican can only say "we are marching into oblivion.

Posted by: Billy1932 | April 28, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm a formerly-Republican leaning libertarian. The party I once voted for has made it clear over the past few years that it no longer wants me. I don't blame Specter for leaving. I have, too.

Posted by: MisterTanaka | April 28, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Capehart: a robust democracy requires political balance, opposition. It's sad, really, watching the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan self-immolating over extremist religious litmus tests and conservative score cards.

And with no coherent campaign strategy to win back independent voters, look to deeper republican losses in the southeast, midwest and mountain west.

There just isn't enough time for a republican party make-over to win back seats in 2010 or 2012. And probably not even 2016. Which means democrats are likely to be in power for a generation.

DAStubbs,
Minneapolis

Posted by: dastubbs | April 28, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

These 200 thousand wobbly former Republicans in Pennsylvania are certainly not going to be a permanent fixture for the Dems. Once the green hustlers force Obama to destroy the last remnants of the rust belt economy in pursuit of their pop science fairy tales Ohio and Pennsylvania will swing back with a vengeance.

Naive liberals who believe that we proud working class Americans long to grovel to the government for subsistence are in for a rude awakening. When voters catch on to the fallacies of class envy rhetoric and zero sum economic theories they will realize that leftist are simply pursuing their own selfish interest.

Posted by: dcn1 | April 29, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the GOP needs to fade away completely, like the Whig and Federalist Parties. They seem to have outlived their usefulness.

Posted by: bobster1985 | April 29, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Good for you Arlen! you do deserve better than the stab in the back the irresponsible Republicans gave you after all these years! Welcome to sanity, solidarity and sensibility, welcome to the Democratic Party, glad to have you.

Posted by: Hillary08 | April 29, 2009 5:34 AM | Report abuse

I do appreciate Specter standing for the secret ballot by opposing the Employee Forced Choice Act.

Posted by: hz9604 | April 29, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Actually, there is no longer any need for the GOP. All of their ideas have fallen flat and broken their noses! We do need alternatives, but this hide-bound group of people frantically trying to protect their own gravy train and fiefdoms through fear and bigotry is hardly a competent opposition. I have a hope they keep on pressing the accelerator (signs say "yes") and the GOP disappears over a cliff. Good day to you, sirs!

Posted by: blackmask | April 29, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Specter has been an decent statesman for this country and will continue to be so. He is right about the republicans going to far right.

In my opinion far too many in the republican party treated the American people like stupid low classed citizens.
And I can thank Rush, Hannity, O'Reily as Bush/Cheney/Rove drove the last nails in the republican coffin as they proved more and more only the wealthy counted and the rest of us were a waste of time. We were to sacrifice and work for them and get poorer every year.

Posted by: mac7 | April 29, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

The next true American resurgence that the Republicans should embrace is classical liberalism (which is the libertarianism + Natural Law).

Individual Liberty and Freedom is paramount. The federal government's job is to gaurantee that and NOTHING ELSE. As a follower of classical liberalism I have no problem with individual states wanting to experiment with social issues that they believe in, but I want to be able to move to another state if I don't like it.

Concentration of power in central government leads to totalitarianism (eventually) and is NOT good for Freedom.

Posted by: Dug0915 | April 29, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Getting rid of Specter is a huge win for the Republicans.

Any Democrats who think this is good news for their side really must not know much about Arlen Specter.

Posted by: NeverLeft | April 29, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

What's the big deal? As a liberal Democrat I am not looking at Senator Specter as a big "get".

It's not like he's said he's changing his vote on any issue. Obviously, the only reason is he was going to lose to Toomey in the primary and didn't see the out of starting the "Specter for Pennsylvania" ala "Lieberman for Connecticut".

I see a "Conservative Democratic" bloc forming to offset the Progressive Democrats. How many times do you see Johnson, Landrieu, Nelson, Lieberman, Bayh and Specter alternating votes to prevent the Senate getting to the magical 60 votes on any number of issues?

The most I hope for is that he will be more likely to vote for cloture on the President's nominees for judgeships and other appointments.

Posted by: capemh | April 29, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

refresh my memory please, which Republican national personality said "I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me". Buckley? Atwater? Their offspring supported Prez. Obama in November. Nuf said.

Posted by: katem1 | April 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

GOP Identity Crisis? Au Contraire! The reality is there are a handful of people in both parties who are pure misfits.They simply don`t believe in the basic platform of their own party.Let`s hope the Democrats get a solid,cloture free majority.That assures there is no room to hide.They will have total ACCOUNTABILITY and no excuses for whatever happens on their watch from the economy to foreign policy.

Posted by: bowspray | April 29, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Making Lemons out of Lemonade?
Republicans in Congress should to begin to put forth compromise ideas to our current problems (such as using money saved by enacting certain cost saving programs and putting that money toward paying down the National Debt). Paying down the National Debt is not a "Party of No" idea, it is one that many Americans might get behind and resurrect the GOP. The GOP is pretty much a continuation of "Party of NO" politics as all it does is provide cover for Republicans to say, "It wasn't us, it was them" instead of contributing toward solutions. There is a danger that ultra-liberals will now pressure the Obama Administration and Congress into committing too far to the left. Let's hope we have learned a lesson about ultra-liberal AND ultr-conservative positions on issues. I would hope we could declare a "War on Ultraism" and focus on Compromise issues which benefit the American (and eventually the World) situation.

Posted by: JSKEVV | April 29, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Arlen Specter leaving the GOP should wake the sleeping Republicans from a deep sleep . Hopefully Snowe & Collins will follow Specter to the other side . Specter leaving the GOP proves that the Repub's have no message and no one is listening to them with the exception of the hand full left working over @ FOX . Our world has changed and left the GOP behind .The past election shoed that this is so but the GOp still don't get it.The talking heads that are hurting the GOP are ,Limbaugh, O'Reilly , Hannity, Bill Kristal ,Newt Gengrich,Cantor,Karl Rove and all the others, who are basiclly hate mongers and do not reach out to those who are of different mind sets than them. To get votes you must come along and get with the program .Young people do not relate to old ideas.Elsisabeth Hasslebeck has got to be the only young person that is a die hard Republican . She is not thinking about a new world for her young kids .

Posted by: dotbed1 | April 29, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Very interesting how the GOP haters on here are so quick to claim victory and spout that they will rule the nation for decades to come... that they don't understand what it is they are saying. They are essentially saying the party is now the ruling monarchy of the land, and there is very little check to that party in power. Is that what the founders wanted?

Another point for all of you and especially SteelWheel. Have any of you taken economics classes or diligently observed other national economies compared to ours of the past? You are claiming that Obama's policies will make our nation prosperous for decades, but you continue to FAIL in providing any hard analysis as to how and why his (don't you mean the democrat party's) ideas might work. You all and this sorry excuse of a media outlet, are so quick and eager to run with his proposals, that you don't stop to ask if you should.
Isn't the entire economic mess caused by the financial sector and housing meltdown?? Wouldn't it make more sense to fix and stabilize those causes first and foremost, before looking to see whether anything else needs adjusting. Remember Rahm's quote during the campaign: "Don't want to let a crisis go to waste." In other words, take advantage of the country's populist vulnerabilites to propose new programs, restrictions, entitlements, and taxes which may in the long term destroy the free market / capitalist system that made our country so great.
There were times not long ago that the hard work and dedication to seeking out oppurtunities meant you were rewarded in our free market system. In America, you have the opportunity make whatever you want of your life. I fear for the large fundamental changes that Democrats have in store for the country, but the historical problem of government programs is, that once an entitlement program or tax is in place, it is extremely rare that it is removed. Fixing the future damage caused by these socialist policies and programs will be near impossible.

Pity there are too many uneducated dolts in our society who just jump on the most gaudy bandwagon and never really look to see what it is they are signing up for.

Posted by: alutz08 | April 29, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey, we're not ALL dumb rednecks down here in the South!!!

We in the South are first in some things - right there at the top in obesity rates, right there at the bottom in literacy and graduation rates, etc., etc., etc.---

I saw John Boehner (or is is Bonehead?) last week on This Week; with his comment on it being comical to think that carbon dioxide might contribute to global warming and essentially dissing the whole thing, that pretty much nailed the coffin shut on this ex-Republican voter thinking about voting again for another Republican until they quit letting the extremist elements or right-wing radio dolts run things--

Posted by: southernbutnotstupid | April 29, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I am humbled by the job of being a politician – be it local, county, state, or federal. Each must strive to reconcile, balance, competing often contentious self-interests: their own career, constituent needs, and the nation’s needs. Yes, politicians chose their profession. They get a paycheck – some a high income. They get perks. They wield power – which benefits or adversely impacts people’s lives. But still the job is complex and precarious.

All politicians have opposition – be it individuals, groups, institutions, or other nations. All of these supporters or opponents expect, demand, politicians accommodate them. Such is the nature of democracy. Therefore, given these complex and precarious circumstances, should it surprise us that most if not all elected officials become opportunistic, Machiavellian, pander to our biases, exploit our fears, act self-preservationist. So, yes, let us hold our officials accountable. Let us challenge them to meet high standards. Let us require them to meet SOME of their constituents needs vis-à-vis other competing self-interests. But let us also do a reality check. Being an elected official is a complex precarious job.

So let us citizens also voice our opinions with a few less ad hominems and a few more facts – be they anecdotal, statistical, or fallacy-free rational arguments. Let us citizens not pretend we’re all highly trained, skilled, and experienced policy analysts, economists, or sociologists. Let us acknowledge few of us 100% understand the complexity of every issue. Let us acknowledge few us could do the professional and precarious job of a politician – reconcile the competing self-interests of 307 million citizens, and do so effectively within the complex global context of 6.7 billion souls.

For example: My kudos Senator Specter for wanting to keep your job, even if it means you had to switch parties. I, one citizen voice out of 307 million, admit I could not fill your challenged and precarious politician shoes.

Posted by: GroupThink | April 29, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"I hope things improve but if they don't who should we blame next time???

Posted by: sovine08 | April 28, 2009 4:34 PM"
-------
Blame the POTUS and his party's policies, but give them a chance to play out.

I wasn't so happy when W got into office, but I gave him a chance and I think the Dems did too.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 29, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

SteelWheel1 Wrote:

less than half voted for your action hero George W. Bush! or have you forgot already!!

- You right-wingers
- ignorant SOBs
- the idiots
- dumbest rats in the world
-------------------------------


I’m never disappointed when I write my comments about liberals.
It’s always the same. They can’t discuss issues but they can name call.
The thing with that is anyone can do that, it’s not hard….
It also solves nothing.

I made many comments in my post but I guess you couldn’t get past the first one so I’ll comment on it.

My point is all you liberals are ready to throw dirt on the GOP’s grave yet as you point out Bush didn’t win by overwhelming numbers either but that doesn’t stop you liberals from believing the end has come for the republicans…..
Maybe that’s an idea that’s just too hard for you to grasp…

Posted by: rockmon | April 29, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I'm very happy that we can move forward more easily now in implementing a smart, comprehensive agenda that will help the economy long-term as well as short-term. I believe there will be big fights within the party, but by definition those will be between individuals, who can negotiate, bargain, compromise, and so forth to reach an actual solution...you know, govern.

As an American, though, I would rather have had a 55-45 Senate if among the 45 we could have two dozen genuinely centrist Republicans willing to engage and deal. It would be healthier for the republic not to have the current Republican caucus daintily keeping off to the side and not soiling its skirts with the work of government. There should have been many more Republican Senators for a stimulus and maybe then there could have been a few Democratic Senators against it, and the result as a whole would have been stronger for it, perhaps with 80 votes of support. Then each of those 80 could have been touting its benefits and rooting for it, instead of going home, talking it down, and hoping it fails, as the nay-voters will now do. I wish the Republican Senators had come to town to do work for all of us instead of walk away in a huff.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | April 29, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Senator Arlen Specter (RINO-PA)...

Posted by: DQuixote1 | April 29, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Over the past two decades, the GOP has perpetrated the biggest political scam since the Southern aristocracy conned the general white population (who had everything to gain from the dissolution of the plantation system)into fighting the Civil War for them by getting them to believe they were fighting the Revolutionary War all over again.
Years of kow-towing to so called "social conservatives" with no real intention of resolving issues like abortion, gay rights and gun control as long as they were getting votes out of it has all but played itself out. The contingent who look to the Republican Party as their avenue to establish a sort of "Christian Iran" in the USA is rapidly shrinking.
What the GOP neglected during their heady romance with the neocons were the shop owners, the home start-ups, the small business owners and entrepreneurs who once accounted for the majority of the nation's economy and wealth; the people who were once the core of GOP support.
The GOP will always be an instrument of big business/industry/finance and sometimes teeter towards fascism, but they'll still need votes from the other 95% of the population.
My hunch is that the "re-branded GOP" of the 2010 elections will target itself to those that have been able to "tread water" during the recession while their taxes went to assist less-deserving others.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | April 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Capehart wrote,

"But for the health of the republic, there must be a robust Republican Party ...

A quibble: There must be a robust OPPOSITION party. While the Republicans are an obvious candidate, it doesn't necessarily have to be the Republican Party.

We need an opposition party "whose ideas and leaders challenge the majority and help to create good laws, programs and policies." This is exactly what the Republicans are failing to do, and why their party is at existential risk.

The Republicans have degenerated into the braying pack of loudmouthed, blustering, ignorant propogandists led by the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, and Coulter. The closest thing they have to an intellectual is a has-been third-rate college professor named Gingrich. This is scarcely the lineup you need to create good laws, programs and policies.

For the health of the republic, we need a viable opposition party. Let the search begin.

Posted by: positronicus1 | April 29, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad someone besides me actually looked a remembered how states actually trended. I keep hearing pundits claiming that the GOP has become a regional party and that the region is the South. How can that be an accurate analysis when Obama won VA, NC, and Fla and GA and MS trended blue. It may be regional but the South is trending back to the democrats. I assume that may be discounted due the the heavy African American turn out but that only partially accounts for the trend.

I don't know what an evangelical is, where they came from or where they live but they are not mainstream Southern Baptist or United Methodist. As far as I can determine the 'religious right' appears to be extremist that are convinced that they are entitled to impose their values and beliefs onto the entire population. Whoever they are, they are out of touch and out of step with the majority.

Posted by: xclntcat | April 29, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"But for the health of the republic, there must be a robust Republican Party -- one whose ideas and leaders challenge the majority and help to create good laws, programs and policies."

It does not have to be the Republican Party, but I know what you mean and I agree. I doubt the Democrats have all the good ideas, and other points of view (rational, intelligent, not know nothing and obstructionist) are necessary, else the best policy would be overlooked for the partisan one.

Posted by: KAP560 | April 29, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Of course he left. I would have left. The republican "party" isn't a party anymore. It's a pseudo-christian cult with hysterical wack jobs like Rush, Coulter, Palin, et. al. as the party's spokespeople.

Republicans used to be about fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility and minimizing government interference in our lives. That means, abortion is not a government decision. Who you marry and their gender is not a government decision. That means nanny-state drug laws should never have been made. That means no bail outs for anybody. That means personal responsibility, for rich people, poor people and everyone in-between.

None of this describes the current republican party. Libertarians come closest. They get my vote from now on.

Posted by: ian807 | April 29, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

The GOP has an identity ?

Posted by: stodayxx | April 29, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Both parties are thoroughly corrupt and run by complete idiots. There is nothing to choose between these two criminal organizations. Only a carnival rube sees any difference.

Posted by: garrafa10 | April 29, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

There's no real identity crisis in the GOP; it's just dominated at the moment by rigid ideologues -- and they're seem pretty comfortable with their collective identity.

The real crisis for GOP is that the vast majority of the country doesn't happen to share that identify.

And the more the party tries to explain it (in the mistaken belief that it's somehow just a matter of educating the masses), the less attractive it becomes.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | April 29, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hooray for Senator Specter for telling the truth about why he's changing parties, I've always admired his candor and consider him a welcome addition to the Deomcratic delegation!

Posted by: mrobertb | April 29, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

rockmon wrote:
"If you think your liberal policies are so great, just cast your eyes up to the great Northeast.
For the last 60 years it’s been nothing but Democratic rule.
You’d think this should be the land of milk and honey by now.
Think again.
We have the highest unemployment and taxes anywhere."

Really? Because I'm looking at the unemployment statistics for March right now, and the only northeast state in the top 10 is Rhode Island (#6, 10.5%). You have to go down to #24 (Maine, 8.1%) to get to the next one.

I also have another chart here suggesting that, broadly speaking, blue states tend to give more money to Uncle Sam than they get back while red states tend to get more than they give.

Perhaps you should recheck your figures and get back to us.

Posted by: presto668 | April 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I am enjoying this. Being a socialist who thinks that conservatives should be trampled into the mire I welcome Specter's defection. God, how I despise the republicans!

Posted by: RichardKefalos | April 29, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

you people call Specter a political opportunist, like it's an exception thing.

When we there ever a politician in our country, from dogcatcher to president, from 1776 to 2009, who *wasn't* a political opportunist?

And the virulent hatred from the republicans, what is that all about? Do you republicans think that shrinking yourself down to the last black-hearted demagogue is going to win you any elections any time soon?

All you have left is the fervent hope that this guy Obama fails. Do you think the rest of us don't see that? Are you really paying attention to anything at all?

There are a lot more people in America than just the democrats and the republicans, the conservatives and the liberals. This war between the two of you is destroying the country, and you republicans are destroying yourselves.

You seem too stupid to understand that. why would the rest of us want to vote for any group of people so stupid they can't the bleeding wrist in front of their face?

Posted by: katavo | April 29, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

The current right-wing fixated GOP is really what one would get if one crossed the old Dixiecrat off-shoot of the Democratic party with the Know Nothings of the mid-Nineteenth Century, with the operative being 'know nothing'. These are people who have always mistrusted intelligence and education, whose thought of improvement is only an improvement of financial status, buying power, with no thought at all to improving the intellect or the social mobility. Unfortunately, the majority of the Deep South has always been this way. The defection of the Dixiecrats to the GOP in the wake of the Civil Rights Amendment in the Sixties re-defined the Republican party. The GOP were and are welcome to those people. They brought with them, too, their fundamentalist Christianity. Fundamentalist anything is never good for politics.

Posted by: marion_watts76 | April 29, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I just get a warm and squishy feeling everytime libs write about how worried they are for the future of conservatives and how the best remedy is to quit being a conservative .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | April 29, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly what happened to Democrats in 2004 when Joe Lieberman quit Democratic Party because he would have lost Democratic primary. Then Republicans did not field a candidate against Lieberman during general election, guaranteeing Lieberman’s election to US Senate as an independent.

Posted by: simplesimon33 | April 29, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I regret that Mr. Capehart believes our republic's health requires a strong Republican party. This is a testament, I think, to how far to the right we have degraded in our national political discourse. Gone is any real recognition of our radical political heritage, the kinds of ideas that brought us ultimately to the lifestyle that we know today with prohibitions on slavery, child labor laws, with the vote for women, and so on. Given the tremendous role that money plays in our national politics, I should think that Mr. Capehart would realize just how similar the Democratic Party is to the Republican Party in protecting moneyed interests. So, really, a Republican Party would never provide as much a contrast and ideological tug to the Democratic Party as, say, a Working Family's Party or a truly Progressive Party. I would urge Mr. Capehart to shift his frame of reference and invite his readers to explore the many exciting political possibilities that the death of the Republican Party can bring to our republic!

Posted by: DCEsq | April 29, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Reagan came to town with the professed ideas of a limited federal government, and Specter in his speech is trying to say he rode in on the same things that got Reagan elected?

Posted by: alutz08 | April 28, 2009 4:30 PM

-------------------------------------------

Reagan ran for the the most powerful governmental position in the world ( the President) on the platform that government was the problem. Like a Marxist wanting to be CEO, it just doesn't compute.

In other words, the whole limited government thing was a just bill of goods that a lot of people bought.

If Reagan, et al really believed that government was the central problem they wouldn't have run for office, or otherwise gotten involved in the first place.

Posted by: UnPatriotic | April 29, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I just get a warm and squishy feeling everytime libs write about how worried they are for the future of conservatives and how the best remedy is to quit being a conservative .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | April 29, 2009 6:52 PM

------------------------------------------------------------------


Actually, this highlights the central problem the Republicans right now. There's no shortage of criticism that the party or candidates aren't conservative enough.

What does it mean to be conservative?

Posted by: UnPatriotic | April 29, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

The user "rockmon" has made a fair comment that liberals should not expect to further intelligent discourse if all they will offer are ad hominem attacks. At least, that is how I choose to interpret that post above. So, rockmon, I will address the subtance of your initial post quite plainly: your criticism of the poor economic conditions of the so-called Democratic Northeast neglects one interesting spot - Wall Street. You failed to mentioned the millions pumped into the economy on Wall Street (and the attendant obscene lifestyles) that are, unfortunately for your argument, equally encouraged by Democrats. Otherwise, your critique lacks one shred of evidence, being merely the same tired assertions from conservative quarters, which invariably fail to connect the dots between a strong labor movement and a poor economy. I can't take seriously your claim that the region has the highest unemployment rate "anywhere." The rest of the post is an abrupt (and common) conservative attack on the so-called "liberal media." Have you seen some of the columnists on the so-called bastions of liberalism, The New York Times and The Washington Post? Liberal indeed! And did you get a chance to read the article last year counting the significant number of times that The Post held Obama's feet to the fire? The implication in your argument that the media should provide identical treatment of presidential candidates (even if one lies more than the other) is nothing less than an argument for the so-called "fairness doctrine," which is anathema to conservatives, for anyone who has been following that issue in the last year or so. Therefore, relax, and rest assured that there are plenty of liberals who can set the time aside and deflate the kinds of tried and failed conservative arguments that you can bring without once resorting to ad hominem attacks.

Posted by: DCEsq | April 29, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Ah Irony! Apparently the Republicans favor monopoly industry more than they favor monopoly government. The GOP is arguing that you need to vote for them, because we need a competitive two party system, even if their ideas are awful.

This is from the same party that whose most central idea is that if you can't compete you should fail. They claim you should fail even if it creates massive inequality and single corporation industries. But now they're reduced to begging for political welfare. At least the Dems wouldn't be hypocrites if they were asking for a handout.

Posted by: zosima | April 29, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the posts I have been reading, I'd say Obama's "Divide and Conquer" strategy is working quite well.

Posted by: apgbeach | April 30, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I love Democrats telling the Republican party what is and is not good for them. Why don't you try to tend to your own party who is bankrupting the country and can't even deal with the flu pandemic. You should be more concerned about trying to stay in power for the next two years. Good luck.

Posted by: Tarheelz1 | April 30, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

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