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The Democratic purge and the Obama conundrum

Last night two centrist Democratic incumbents failed to stave off challenges from the left in Democratic Senate primaries. Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter was defeated by left-wing challenger Rep. Joe Sestak. And Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln was forced into a runoff by her left-wing challenger Gov. Bill Halter.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for commentators to decry these shameful efforts at the ideological purification of the Democratic party. When Sen. Bob Bennett is challenged from the right, it is an ideological purge. But when centrists like Specter and Lincoln are challenged from the left, it’s democracy in action.

Lincoln barely survived, but she now faces a strategic question: Does she ask President Obama to campaign for her in the runoff, or does she keep her distance from the Democratic president? She’d be wise to choose the latter. Obama’s endorsement seems to be the political kiss of death these days. First it was Creigh Deeds in Virginia, then Jon Corzine in New Jersey, then Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, and now Specter in Pennsylvania.

The White House will try to distance itself from Specter (indeed, it began doing so days ago when Obama and Vice President Joe Biden reneged on theirs promises to campaign for him). But there is no getting around that this was a repudiation of the president. He ushered Specter into the Democratic party and embraced him – and voters rejected his chosen candidate at the polls. The lesson for Democrats was clear last night: Obama offers to endorse you, run the other way.

By Marc Thiessen  | May 19, 2010; 7:32 AM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

Go away, Thiessen. What Democratic "Purge"? Hello? Rand Paul anyone? How about the Republican "purge"?

You were a third-rate, malicious, speechwriter in the Bush administration; ow, you are a third-rate, malicious, unemployable loser. Hiatt must have taken you on as a charity case. WaPo has become the welfare office for unemployable neo-cons

Posted by: Gatsby10 | May 19, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Not much in Thiessen's piece that passes muster, IMHO, as political analysis. Arlen Specter's defeat in the Democratic primary seems less like a repudiation of the President than a decision by Pennsylvania's Democratic voters to not support a candidate who has been a Republican office holder for decades. I think those same Democratic voters who cast their ballots for Rep. Sestak still continue to support President Obama, which is not the same as saying they agree with everything he does or says. In this country that type of allegiance is not a requirement.

Posted by: ptcruiser1 | May 19, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

This is ao dishonest. You conveniently leave out the fact that both Sesak and Halter were ALREADY elected office holders in their respective states. They are hardly the left wing version of the carpetteabaggers, as much as it serves your hypocritical purposes to pretend they are.

Specter's switch to the Democratic party was for his own cynical, self-serving reasons and PA voters saw right through him.

Obama's endorsement in meaningless either way. The Democratic party keeps backing "moderates" who are in reality DINOs. Carpetteabaggers are just repugs by another name so it's amusing to see how the punditry goes into an orgasmic frenzy when the right wing freaks keep voting for right wing freaks, the freakier the better.

Posted by: solsticebelle | May 19, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Are you seriously equating the Democrats' failure to select a former Republican in the Pennsylvania primary with the right-wing pressure coming out of the Tea Parties?

Halter was elected Lieutenant Governor by the citizens of Arkansas. Portraying him as a "left-wing" challenger is simply dishonest.

The mood is clearly anti-incumbent, not anti-Democrat or a "repudiation" of Obama.

Posted by: EnricoPolatzo | May 19, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

The comments thus far are a perfect example of the kool-aid drinking democrats; name calling, denigration of conservatives and attacking anyone that has a remote attachment to the republican party. In the mean time you smile as the Obama administration flushes or constitution down the toilet and encourages class warfare. Keep it up and we'll all look like Jonestown.

Posted by: TB_One | May 19, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Odumbo and Plugs......couldn't of happen to two bigger buffoons. The kiss of death....please boys, campaign some more!

Posted by: elcigaro1 | May 19, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

This guy is about stupid -- Senator Specter has been a Dem for a couple of months. So how does this count as a purge at all, except in the feeble rantings of a pathetic excuse for a GOP operative????

Posted by: ccdc20009 | May 19, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Snarky BS. That's all you're capable of, isn't it, Thiessen?

Did Bennett ever cast a vote in opposition to a core Republican initiative comparable to Lincoln's vote against health care reform? He wasn't even granted the courtesy of an opportunity to compete in a primary.

Was McConnell's endorsement of Grayson the "kiss of death"?

You'd better keep your fat mouth shut until we all see of the party selections for the 2010 elections.

Posted by: st50taw | May 19, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Ridiculous analysis. Specter rolled the dice, hoping Democrats would overlook his 30 years as a Republican and vote for him in the primary anyway because of the advantage incumbency brings. This year, incumbency wasn't such an advantage and he lost. Pretty much end of story.

Could anyone imagine a Democrat switching to the Republican party and getting even a small fraction of the primary vote? We all know where the big tent is, despite Thiessen's weak Roveian attempts to spin a false equivalence,

Posted by: bertram2 | May 19, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

There is a real difference between the wins of more progressive Democrats and the win of Rand Paul. Democratic voters are expressing their belief that the party has gone too far to the right. They are trying to return the party to its roots. Republican voters are expressing their desire to move even further to the right. They are moving the Republican party to new extremes. They should remember how many states Goldwater won in 1964 (6) against a relatively progressive Lyndon Johnson.

Posted by: randy1macon | May 19, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"But don’t hold your breath waiting for commentators to decry these shameful efforts at the ideological purification of the Democratic party."

Uhm, Marc, you write for the Washington Post. You know, the "Paper of Record"? You *are* a commentator and if I squint carefully it looks like you just did "decry these shameful efforts"

This perpetual self-victimization of conservatives is so tiresome in general, that you are a self-refuting example of it is somehow worse.

Posted by: Scientician | May 19, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

So, Specter, a 30 year republican was outsted, but by your failed logic he was a repudiated democrat. Strange method of logic. Second, Lincoln is not a centerist democrat. By even thinking that, you should hand over your keyboard and resign from writing, since this simple fact shows you have no grasp of the political environment you pretend to write about.

Posted by: mty917 | May 19, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

You're a pitiful little man, Mr. Thiessen.

When the devil comes to call, he'll be looking for you!

Posted by: vigor | May 19, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Arlen Specter is no "centrist Democrat".

He's a lifelong Republican.

Posted by: vigor | May 19, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"When Sen. Bob Bennett is challenged from the right, it is an ideological purge. But when centrists like Specter and Lincoln are challenged from the left, it’s democracy in action. "

More self-refutation. I notice even you Marc weren't dishonest enough to apply the term "centrist" to Bennett. Because he's not. He's a Republican from Utah. There's no centrist Republicans from Utah, so yeah, when he gets the boot in an absurd closed caucus it is an ideological purge.

When a 30 year Republican turned Democrat and a right wing Democrat get defeated in primaries, this isn't the same thing.

The whole premise of this piece is dumb Washington groupthink anyway. What's wrong with ideological purges? Why shouldn't voters have a clear choice between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans? What value does Specter and Lincoln add in voting for Republican policies with a D appended to their names? I guess I can see why a conservative might like it, but as far as being good for the country I don't see it.

Posted by: Scientician | May 19, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

What a laughable thesis.

It was a great night for Dems, especially for voters to toss Specter, who actually bragged about supporting McCain-Palin. Purging democratic incumbents? "Centrist democrat"? What a joke. Plus, Sestak's just a great candidate.

Posted by: Justafan | May 19, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

"Obama’s endorsement seems to be the political kiss of death these days. First it was Creigh Deeds in Virginia, ..."

I take issue with this statement. I think he kissed the Chicago Olympic bid to death first.

Didn't he?

Posted by: ZZim | May 19, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I have no trouble with your hiring 'right-wing' or conservative columnists who have some intelligence and provide an alternative way of looking at the facts. But to continue to publish absurd claims like Thiessen's that Sestak and Holder are 'left wing' is to insult your readers' intelligence.
If anything Sestak is to the right of the majority of incumbent Democratic senators, most of whom are far from left wing, and Holder's avoidance of all the issues dear to coastal liberals indicates that he's no ideologue at all.

Posted by: aarthur1 | May 19, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Jesus, Theissen is the worst sort of dishonest hack.

Democrats not voting in a DEMOCRATIC primary for a guy who CAMPAIGNED for PALIN LAST YEAR is "shameful"??

How can the Post print this stupidity?

In reality, Theissen is worried (rightfully so) that democrats elected people who are more electable in the general election, whereas republicans are going all in on the crazy.

But he's too much of a hack to do anything other than lie about it.

Posted by: Egilsson1 | May 19, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I guess NRO wasn't hiring when Theissen needed a job?

This level of hackery should be on those pages, you know, where thinking people go to have a good chuckle.

Posted by: megman | May 19, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Arkansas Lt. Governor Halter is "left wing"? I wonder if he knows that?

Seriously... why does the Post give this airhead so much column space?

Posted by: CardFan | May 19, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

A lot of great comments. Just wanted to add one thing. As an actual liberal (and resident of PA), I find Sestak to be a bit conservative for my taste. But at least he hasn't had an (R) next to his name for the last 30 years.

Posted by: t-bone1 | May 19, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Why do I even read this guy? I can get all the stupidity I want by channel surfing and watching one or two seconds of Fox. Thiessen, do you remember Anita Hill? Specter's questioning of her was shameful and many believe paved the way for the Thomas confirmation, which of course Dems have been ecstatic about ever since. Specter by his own admission was a Dem of convenience, what excuse do you have for misrepresentation of the facts?

Posted by: lbross | May 19, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

And so how do you interpret Critz winning in Pennsylvania? Your thesis is bogus just like most everything you contribute to the Post. Why do you keep doing these worthless partisan pieces?

Posted by: rosebud11 | May 19, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"Obama’s endorsement seems to be the political kiss of death these days. First it was Creigh Deeds in Virginia, ..."

You don't really believe this, do you Marc? Do you really, actually, *believe* that voters who would have voted for Specter decided not to because Obama was supporting him?

It would be easy enough to be honest and say "Obama's support did not carry sufficient weight with the primary electorate to push Specter over the finish line..." - that would be accurate. Endorsements generally don't do very much except in very small races where most people don't know the candidates, but Marc has to go and pretend like there's some plausible theory whereby PA Democrats, who overwhelmingly approve of Obama, would choose against the person Obama endorses.

It's this sort of casual dishonesty that makes conservative pundits so hard to read. No one believes this crap, but it's part of the talking point game so he throws it in. Obama supported someone who lost, so why not pretend that he lost because of Obama's support?

If McCain loses in AZ, will he say the same about Palin for supporting him? Of course not.

Posted by: Scientician | May 19, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm sorry, Marc went much further in the flagrantly dishonest "Obama's endorsement hurts candidates" line, to wit:

"But there is no getting around that this was a repudiation of the president. He ushered Specter into the Democratic party and embraced him – and voters rejected his chosen candidate at the polls. The lesson for Democrats was clear last night: Obama offers to endorse you, run the other way. "

Just because you say "there is no getting around" and "the lesson [...] was clear" doesn't make it so. The by far more plausible theory is that Obama's endorsement helped a little, but that these candidates were rejected by the voters mostly on their own merits.

Endorsements matter in some places and cases - such as for fundraising, or for general legitimacy to make the media pay attention to an unknown candidate, but as far as changing the votes of large numbers of voters there's little evidence they ever do that.

If you want to show that Obama's endorsement hurts someone you need to show them *dropping* in the polls immediately after Obama nominates them. That Theissen just uses post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning is why he gets to be paid to write for the WaPo and I don't I guess.

Good job hiring this one Fred.

Posted by: Scientician | May 19, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

This makes no sense. You say left wing Democrats win but somehow it's a Democratic purge. They're still Democrats - duh.

Posted by: rlj1 | May 19, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow - you struck a nerve based upon the Far Left drivel being shared herein......

Posted by: millerdave | May 19, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but I don't see left-wing Democrats having conventions, wearing funny costumes, and complaining about government. There is no Democratic equivalent of the Tea Party movement.

As for Specter, he was never selected by Democratic voters in a primary before. So how can his defeat be a purge?

I'll tell you, on the wingnut food chain, Thiessen is one baby step up from Anne Coulter in respectability.

Posted by: maggots | May 19, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Theissen is just so predictable and boring. There is never an original idea or though in his columns at all, he pretty much just regurgitates whatever the talking point of the day is from the RNC or Fox News (whichever one is calling the shots for the Right these days). His is incapable of critical thought, his entire career has been as a mouthpiece for spreading rhetoric, not as a "thinking conservative" (is there such a thing anymore?). At least Krauthammer is capable of posting original thoughts, even though I disagree with almost everything he says, I can respect that he is at least thinking, albeit in a venal and twisted way.

Sockpuppets like Theisssen and Kristol are nothing more than propagandists basically just echoing Republican group-think, not even worth the 2 minutes it takes to skim their weekly drivel.

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | May 19, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

More hyper bloviation from the right. This is not a purge, this is not a repudiation of Pres. Obama. This is repudiation of a senator that spent 40 years as a republican who switched parties, but failed to keep his party designation straight in his head. He was repeatedly heard commenting that he was a republican. Is it that unthinkable that democrats in PA would want to be represented by a true democrat? The same could be said for Arkansas. Lincoln is looking more like a republican these days than a democrat. So it's wrong for the constituencies to want representation that matches their positions on the issues?

This is much a case of the republicans trying to make it look like the dems are in worse shape, and that's just not the case. I'd be more worried about the tea bagger influence on the republican party than I am about the dems. Kentucky just elected a full fledged nutcase. I hope the blue hairs in the state realize they just cast their votes for the abolishment of social security, medicare, and that pesky ADA which is just too cumbersome for business owners.

The republicans have painted themselves into a really tight corner - they should have toned down frankenstein when they had the chance, but they rode the wave, and now they'll have to pay the consequences.

Posted by: JilliB | May 19, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THIS RUBBISH: "THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA IS RADIOACTIVE IN CURRENT AMERICAN POLITICS". IS THAT TRUE? THIS NEOCON SHOULD HAVE CONSULTED WITH HIS OWN REPUBLICAN STRATEGISTS WHO WOULLD ADVISE HIM THAT OBAMA IS STILL POPULAR AMONG THE ELECTORATE. AGAIN, IS THIS WAPO'S CONTRIBUTION OF THE DUMIFICATION OF AMERICANS FOR HIRING SUCH AN UNLEARNING NEOCON? DON'T WE ALREADY HAVE SUCH NONSENSE FROM LIMBAUGH, BECK, PALIN, ETC. WHY SHOULD ANYONE TURN TO THE PAGES OF WAPO? NO WONDER YOU ARE LOSING READERS BY THE MINUTE. IF YOUR BUSINESS MODEL ASSUMES TO ATTRACT THE RIGHT WINGERS BY PANDERING, I THINK IT'S TOO LATE. THEY ARE TAKEN BY WASHINGTON TIMES, WINGNUTS RADIO, ETC.

Posted by: belaywca | May 19, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Listen to the Dems squeal. They have no place to hang there hat. They have a bunch of socialist spending us to death in Congress and a Liar as their standard bearer in the White House. All they have left is name calling and slurs. For the few of you that still has your hat in the Obama ring, good luck to you. It isn't any wonder why your afraid of the Dems losing control of Congress, then your free goverment money may stop and you'll have to get a job.

Posted by: Hopinghere2 | May 19, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

President Obama rode an historic wave of first-time voters to the White House. The danger in that, however, is that the gains of his party in that election were skewed by folks that are not consistently invested in voting.

Now, we have had primaries and are going into an "off year" election where the "Johnny come lately" voters that supported the President are less likely to turn-out and more "regular" participants will hold more sway and, to the extent there are "irregular" participants they are more likely to be from the far right fringe. As a result, President Obama is unlikely to be a major force in this year's elections.

However, there is no reason to think that President Obama cannot remobilize his base when he runs for re-election. As a result, we could see a president that wins two terms and sees significant Congressional gains both times he runs, but sees significant Congressional losses for his party both times he is not on the ballot.

Posted by: scott032 | May 19, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

A purge? Did you see the same election as the rest of us? Spector is no Democrat, that's why he lost. Nice try. The other elections are indecisive. Paul needs to win in November, and Arkansas doesn't know what it wants. Stick to writing speeches.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 19, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen writes fiction like this because he genuinely believes, like the GOP and conservatives in general, that if you like long enough people will believe it's the truth - to even make a statement calling Arlene Specter a 'centerist democrat' is stunningly idiotic - a 30 year republican who campaigned for McCain/Palin just 18 months ago? Who switched parties just to keep his seat, and was called out by real Democrats?

you see, this is the game of conservative spin, facts and reality have no place in Thiesen's 'commentary." The fact is the GOP is going to field a slate of extremists in the fall, and it's Thiessen and his ilk who know it, and they're the ones who are panicking at the thought of moderate Dems winning against their wack job, tea party candidates in states like Pennsylvania.

Posted by: paulserrano | May 19, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The doughy torture-loving former George Bush speechwriting hack outdoes himself today.

We all expected wingnuts to do a lot of masturbatory fantacizing about the elections, but come on, Thiessen, what makes you think that Lincoln and Specter could ever be considered real and true Democrats? Their records show the opposite. At best, they were middle-of-the-road shysters and deal-cutters primarily concerned with staying in office.

Fred Hiatt should be horsewhippe for printing this trash.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | May 19, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Well, the Republicans asked for the Tea Bag phenomenom when the welcomed in the George Wallace wing of the Democratic party back in 1972.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | May 19, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Wow, you folks sure spend alot of time attacking the writer. I'm sure you're all part of the problem inside the Beltway. The use of "Purge" applies to both parties and their incumbents.

Posted by: TAPJR | May 19, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I take issue with you, losthorizon10. Lincoln is not primarily concerned with staying in office. She is primarily concerned with keeping the heirs to the WalMart fortune from paying taxes.

Posted by: StevenEMedlock | May 19, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Uh, Thiessen? Specter was a Republican. No real suprise that he lost a DEMOCRATIC primary. Blanche Lincoln is a "moderate" Democrat the way Mitch McConnell is a "moderate" Republican. But, aside from these incontrovertible facts, I have another question. Why do you, for the sake of naked partisanship, write such mealy-mouthed, easily-refuted claptrap? Are you a journalist or a right-wing hack mouthpiece? If the latter, go write for the National Review of the WSJ editorial page, friend! This is the Washington Post! It's readers have grown to expect more even-handedness from its contributors; not the kind of whiny garbage one expects from Fox "News"! Come on, Thiessen! You can do better than this, can't you?

Posted by: chert | May 19, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, I guess the Post didn't get enough of reality twisting junk from one Bush WH alum, they needed junk from another.

In any case, nice try but no cigar Bush alum # 2.

Mr. Thiessen, Arlen Specter got 47% of the Democratic primary votes. That's a lot more than what he would have obtained had he stayed in the GOP and run against Toomey. In effect, Arlen Specter was the one purged from the GOP, then sought refuge within the Democratic Party that bought his conversion, but not fully. To most voters, Arlen was always a Republican, and that hurt him. As for the GOP, it purged Bob Bennett of Utah, Crist from Florida, and Grayson was thumped by a teabagger. On the other hand, a conservative Democrat won handily against a Republican in PA-12. It wasn't even a contest. This only goes to show that the Democratic Party, dysfunctional as it may be, is still the big tent party.

Posted by: jaysit | May 19, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Someone at the RNC or thereabouts must have sent Thiessen a note saying that the GOP had to put a stop to this idea that Republicans are a bunch of closed-minded ideologues trying to purge the party of anyone who disagrees with it. Because presto! here's a column by Thiessen decrying Democratic purges. As predictable as it is disgusting. You made this bed Hiatt, hope you enjoy sleeping in it.

Posted by: TedFrier | May 19, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Sestak is left-wing??? In which universe? Not ours for darn sure.

Thiessen seems to have made a career out of projecting his fantasies on the real world. When they don't fit, he makes up something to explain the contradiction. He did it while working for Bush and he still does it for the WaPo, which may be the reason he was hired.

Posted by: dkmjr | May 19, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Another day, another useless, dishonest, and tortured (pun intended) hack piece by Theissen, to be gobbled up by his tiny headed fanbase (take a bow, elcigaro1 and ZZim, your shirtless Theissen posters are in the mail!). Keep kidding yourself, WAPO, that hiring this lying SOB makes your paper an intellectual powerhouse.

Posted by: LABC | May 19, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Marc, were you off your meds when you wrote this?

Posted by: fare777 | May 19, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

rooooofl this guy is sooo mad. I bet his fingers were shaking as he typed this ahahahaha

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Instead of wasting your time reading this right wing drooling, read a REAL analysis by John Dickerson:

This result may also cause Republicans to do some rethinking of their national strategy. It's not that they'll suddenly start paying attention to local issues. Every politician does that, where they can. But they might rethink their effort to run against Obama. Except they can't. That's what motivates their voters. In the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, those who said they wanted a Republican Congress were asked why. Only 31 percent said because they approved of Republican policies; 64 percent said because they wanted to stop Obama.

http://www.slate.com/id/2254226/

Thiessen, shouldn't you be writing for the Washington Times instead of the Washington Post? Oh wait, there's not much difference between the two these days...

Posted by: losthorizon10 | May 19, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen has a really fat neck, anyone else notice this? Not muscle, but just gross bulbous fat surrounding his little head. Thiessen, take your meds and then go get some exercise brah.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

What a bunch of drivel. Specter defeated Specter. Our president has accomplished more with his short time in office than Bush did his whole eight years. And, considering the republicans almost destroying our country and obstructing anything and everything regardless of merits or benefits, undying support for Wall St, the accomplisments need to be applauded.
You belong with Fox, and the Washington Post is degrading itself to have you as a commentator.

Posted by: kathlenec | May 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen's just ticked because the Dems don't respect and promote Thiessen's favorite thing in the world, torture... what a charade that the Post is putting forth this guy as an "expert" on anything other than the ongoing defense of war crimes and atrocities.

Posted by: chop1 | May 19, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

It does not matter that Obama is the kiss of death to his party's contenders, come November, it's all over for the socialist party.

Posted by: sayno2obama | May 19, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

As you can see, Republicans are furious that the gains they had hoped for didn't happen. Now comes the mystery narrative they'll try to spin.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I was waiting to see how the Post writers would spin this as some anti-Obama referendum and Theissen didn't disappoint. Too bad his entire premise is flawed.

Spector had just been around for far too long. His switching parties was just another desperate attempt to hold onto a position that he should have retired from a long time ago (like John McCain).

What Theissen should be concerned with is how will the republican party survive the tea party purge. Paul might win this primary but can he win the general election? Maybe he will do a flip-flop like Scott Brown did and distance himself from the tea party as soon as he gets elected.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | May 19, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"I have a message, a message from the tea party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words," Paul said at his victory rally. "We've come to take our government back."

Says the son of a career politician. Too funny. The 'Bag Party strikes again with its hypocrisy and silliness.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

oh look, it's the torture pig spewing out disinformation about the democratic primaries.

hey piggy -- and what exactly was it that propelled longtime republican stalwart arlen specter to bolt his beloved gop to run as a democrat? why, it was the purges underway within the republican party. funny how piggy fails to note that key point.

but, then, piggy is doing what piggy gets paid for -- lie.

Posted by: mycomment | May 19, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Marc, have you ever followed politics in the United States? You seem to be woefully ignorant of every race you commented on.

Posted by: david6 | May 19, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Astonishing this guy has a job.

Posted by: tomj4425 | May 19, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

A feeble attempt to link a Republican (Specter) and a true Independent (Paul) with Obama. I am surprised and disappointed that there was no link to Thiessen's primary reason for living: defense of torture. The Washington Post should be ashamed to print this drivel.

Posted by: jamesgshannon | May 19, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Marc Theissen has dual citizenship with Israel and his agenda is to destroy Obama . Not that their is anything wrong with dual citizenship with Israel , but he works for The American Enterprise Institute and Weekly Standard and they take their orders from AIPAC, along with Bill Kristol and Charles Krautheimer.GOAL---- to put another puppet like Bush, in the White House so they can control it again.
+

Posted by: orionexpress | May 19, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"I have a message, a message from the tea party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words," Paul said at his victory rally. "We've come to take our government back."

Says the son of a career politician. Too funny. The 'Bag Party strikes again with its hypocrisy and silliness.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen, get some game. You suck.

Posted by: dpc2003 | May 19, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The comments thus far are a perfect example of the kool-aid drinking democrats; name calling, denigration of conservatives and attacking anyone that has a remote attachment to the republican party. In the mean time you smile as the Obama administration flushes or constitution down the toilet and encourages class warfare. Keep it up and we'll all look like Jonestown.
Posted by: TB_One
******************************************
Did you cut and paste that? Or were you incapable of comprehending the three posts prior to yours?

Posted by: st50taw | May 19, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"Wow - you struck a nerve based upon the Far Left drivel being shared herein......"

Yeah well, flagrant stupidity is offensive to people of sense. Thiessen should be on wingnut welfare somewhere like the Manhattan institute or the NRO instead of polluting the WaPo with this dreck.

A cheap copy of Bill Kristol.

Posted by: Scientician | May 19, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"It does not matter that Obama is the kiss of death to his party's contenders, come November, it's all over for the socialist party."

Did Eugene Debs come back from the dead? If not, who are you talking about? Have you ever read even the definition of "socialism"?

Posted by: Scientician | May 19, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Wow - you struck a nerve based upon the Far Left drivel being shared herein......

Posted by: millerdave
*******************************************
That's what you say when a columnist you happen to agree with is made to look like an idiot.

I notice that most of the posts agreeing with Thiessen don't even attempt to support his ludicrous assertions.

Posted by: st50taw | May 19, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure some of those Sestak voters remember quite clearly Specter's role in the buffoon Clarence Thomas ascending to the Supreme Court.

Payback is a beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeotch!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 19, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Listen to the Dems squeal. They have no place to hang there hat. They have a bunch of socialist spending us to death in Congress and a Liar as their standard bearer in the White House. All they have left is name calling and slurs. For the few of you that still has your hat in the Obama ring, good luck to you. It isn't any wonder why your afraid of the Dems losing control of Congress, then your free goverment money may stop and you'll have to get a job.

Posted by: Hopinghere2
*****************************************
Wasn't that just name-calling....dimwit?

Posted by: st50taw | May 19, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"But don’t hold your breath waiting for commentators to decry these shameful efforts at the ideological purification of the Democratic party."
***************************

I'm not holding my breath in the least, Mr. Thiessen: your side has already started doing exactly that. Gee, it's awfully funny when the party of uniform messaging--that would be yours--talks of "ideological purification" in the party of herds of cats. These are local elections, friend, and the local voters decided the incumbents foiling Obama needed a kick in the seats of their respective drawers.

Thiessen is Gerson without a shred of even the latter's meager soul.

Posted by: abqcleve | May 19, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

And so how do you interpret Critz winning in Pennsylvania? Your thesis is bogus just like most everything you contribute to the Post. Why do you keep doing these worthless partisan pieces?

Posted by: rosebud11 | May 19, 2010 8:53 AM

=============================================

Maybe he would write that Critz won because he is pro-life, pro-gun, was against the health care bill and avoided Obama like the plague.

Posted by: bbface21 | May 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Thiessen, this is a repudiation of Congress, not the President. And by the way it is happening on both sides. Try as you may, you sound less intelligent with every article you write.

Posted by: softjazz41 | May 19, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I suppose the ONE THING i do not understand is how conservatives can lambast BIG Government & then file requests for aid when a signature issue like off shore drilling goes amuck. Then they begin accussing the Guvmint of not doing it's job. Also, when hurricanes or oil spills hit the republican strongholds of Alabama, Mississippi,Florida, & La. here comes Haley, & the rest with their hands out. if we are to cut the federal budget, we must stop paying for all the restoration of beaches in these republican states, rebuilding communities in toranado alley,& flood plain housing in Tennessee & Kentucky. OR, maybe not. After all,Americans will take care of Americans, in spite of some hypocricies.

Posted by: tlrasnic | May 19, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Sestack's victory is a good example of American hunger for progressive politics. I hope Republicans and Tea Baggers continue to dilude themselves about Rand Paul and Sarah Palin. As they do, others like Sestack will only get stronger. Don't pay attention to progressives, please. It only makes their advance easier!!!

Posted by: edarden1 | May 19, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Let's see. Arlen Specter has been a Republican since he decided he could get elected to local office in Pennsylvania more easily that way, spend 29 of his 30 years in the Senate as a republican and only switched back when he thought he would have trouble in the Republican primary, which, yes, was an attempt to purge him. Now, when the Democrats look at him as a wolf in sheep's clothing (never mind that in some people's memories he's attached to Clarence Thomas at the hip) and CORRECTLY say no to him in favor of Joe Sestak who has never run as anything but a Democrat, you say this is shameless?

Please.

Posted by: DaveinNorthridge | May 19, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Theissen must have had his cheney in a choirboy's rove when he wrote this:

**shameful efforts at the ideological purification of the Democratic party**

Posted by: lichtme | May 19, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"...don’t hold your breath waiting for commentators to decry these shameful efforts at the ideological purification of the Democratic party. When Sen. Bob Bennett is challenged from the right, it is an ideological purge. But when centrists like Specter and Lincoln are challenged from the left, it’s democracy in action."

Keep that spin going 24/7. Don't ever stop someone might be listening. Conservatives (or what these people think is conservatism) have been blasting Republicans for not being conservative enough publicaly, in print and on radio ever since the 2006 election. No one invented the idea that the right is purging itself of moderates. It's there for anyone with eyes and ears to see and hear. Guess it's gone on so long now that cosnervatives can say "what purge? We've always been this pure. Oceania has always been at war with East Asia." Keep the think-speak going 24/7. Someone mught be listening.

Posted by: kchses1 | May 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This column has got to be satire, right? When is the Post going to stop publishing spin as "Commentary"? This is the reason I stopped watching TV political spin shows. Pretty soon, I'll have to stop reading the Post. I want intelligent comment from people with real analytical thinking, not political spin 101. Leave that for CNN, Fox, etc.

Posted by: osullivanc1 | May 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

arlen "magic bullet" specter is a "centrist" Democrat ???

I thought arlen was a turncoat republootard

and blanche lincoln is a "centerist" Democrat ???

that must be why she voted against all of those "Centrist" Democratic bills in Congress

cuz nothing says "centerist" like voting against a centrist idea

nice try thiessen

an honest assessment would focus on the rejection of hard right ideological bull pucky

how is "the chicken lady" doing in Nevada ???

see you in November

Posted by: nada85484 | May 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

This author is so mad.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Fred Hiatt must be happy that he's no longer the stupidest guy in the Post's editorial department.

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | May 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The Thiessen column made me laugh at his ignorance. The GOP has the ideological litmus test, while the Dems get pro life, pro gun Critz to take a seat in congress. Some things are acceptable to Dems, but voting against Kagan and for Alito was a renege on his promise getting no Philadelphia campaign stop by the president. The big picture came into play also, supporting a candidate that attacks the service of 31 year Navy admiral is not too smart a move.

Posted by: jameschirico | May 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse


Good column.

It's only year two of his administration and already Obama's is the Value Jet of political endorsements.

Posted by: DagnyT | May 19, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Anybody got a job for a soon to be unemployed messiah whose only previous work experience is as a community agitator?

Posted by: thebump | May 19, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

How can you lie so blatantly, Thiessen? It's just incredible. What is being purged is YOU and your kind, the epitome of the disastrous Bush/Cheney/Rove disgrace. The teabaggers, if they ever shake off the paid, lobbyist-driven spiel, will come to hunt down the incumbent detritus of the Bush years: these people hate all of you.

While the hatred of incumbents falls on both sides of the aisle, it's your party that will bear the brunt as the teabaggers are mostly disenfranchised right-wing republicans. They'll cannibalize what's left of your party and then get slaughtered in the general elections as their nut-job ideas face rational democrats who don't sell out to the loons (the way Spector and Lincoln have). It would be more proper to keep your crowing to yourself until we see the results of those elections.

Joe Sestak is a semi-moderate democrat with a somewhat clear conscience. Lincoln and Spector are poster children for traitorous double-dealing and shameless, hang-on-to-the-office-at-any-cost Washingtonism. Hanging your hat on blatantly false characterizations of those two can only be described as shameless lies and disgraceful fact-twisting. But that, of course, is your stock and trade: self-serving outrage and cherry picking facts.

Will no one rid us of this troublesome priest?

Posted by: joebanks | May 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is one of the rabid frothy-mouthed Right Wingers that deal in falsehoods and talking points. I would take anything he writes with a grain of salt.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the only Teabagger who gained any ground was the son of a career politician. Odd that the Right considers this a victory.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 19, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The only "purge" I see is the plummeting circulation of the Post since this hack joined the lineup.

Posted by: crw3 | May 19, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Blanche Lincoln is no Democrat, she is a stealth Republican - always has been.

Posted by: jsmith021961 | May 19, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Spector wasn't really a Democrat, so hardly a purge.

Posted by: skrut003 | May 19, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse


"But don’t hold your breath waiting for commentators to decry these shameful efforts at the ideological purification of the Democratic party."

Sure, Thiessen, all commentators are communists except those few patriots employed by Rupert Murdoch's propaganda empire ...

Another load of crap, compliments of UberCommentator Thiessen.

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | May 19, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

See, this is what happens when you don't let Theissen torture people, he starts torturing logic. Either way, Marc's just gotta be torturin'!

Posted by: WinstonFord | May 19, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen, Democrats do not consider Specter to be Democrat and chose to vote for someone who is. It's that simple. No need for your convoluted and irrational reasoning to make a needless partisan jab.

Posted by: SouthernerInDC | May 19, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"This perpetual self-victimization of conservatives is so tiresome in general, that you are a self-refuting example of it is somehow worse."
------------------
Brilliant! Thank you Scientician.

Posted by: joebanks | May 19, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen, an accessory to and apologist for war crimes including torture and murder, is desperate to tar others with the same brush he used on himself.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | May 19, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Um, since when is voting "shameful?" I feel proud when I vote.

I see a disturbing trend in Republican commentary. They say Obama is governing like a tyrant and ignoring "the people," which ignores the fact that he was recently voted in by a large majority.

Now, voting for the candidate of your choice is "shameful."

Why does the GOP hate America so much?

Posted by: emjem1963 | May 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

good points about Theissen torturing people - and the craven lying by the incumbent GOP.

There was a resounding message that was sent across America last night.

.. a message of clarity ..

A message of Pride in America.

A message of Hope in our President.

A message that those who belong to the Party of No and present no solutions, shall be denied their incumbency.

A message that Americans want Real Democrats, not party hacks.

A message that the Party of No which lead America into the ditch will NOT be the one to get America out of that ditch.

.. America Spoke ..

And the message was clear!

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 19, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Voting for your candidate is only shameful if you don't vote for a conservative Republican; you know, one of those big thinkers that wants to take the country back to the 20's, when white men were in charge and women and minorities knew their "place". Theissen is a hack, nothing more. Arlen Specter a "centrist Democrat"--please. Retired Admiral Joe Sestak a leftisi--please. It boggles he mind that WAPO gives this guy space to write such clueless drivel.

Posted by: bklyndan22 | May 19, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

There is one other common factor between Deeds, Corzine, Coakley, and Specter besides being supported by the Presisent.

They were all bad candidates and ran terrible campaigns.

Posted by: presto668 | May 19, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln would be wiser to ignore any advice from you, Thiessen. What right-wing hackery!

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | May 19, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

You're right Thiessen....what God-fearing white man or woman would want America's first black President endorsing their campaign after the Tea Party woke up all the Constitutionalists in the country???

Everybody knows blacks were slaves when the Constitution was written and that's exactly where the Tea Party believes blacks (and all other minorities, why not...lump em all in for good measure) should be. In the cotton field....not the White House.

(Read this with the sarcasm that was intended....I am black or so I've been labeled.)

Posted by: massmedia77 | May 19, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

This is bottom feeding instant analysis, wrong at that.

By the way, what is your familial relationship with the late Fritz Thyssen, the WWII German industrialist?

Posted by: harper-d | May 19, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Mulholland was challenged and defeated from the right. Critz is more conservative than Murtha was. You've got your party leadership and talking heads like Hannity and Limbaugh arguing one minute that Dems are only winning by running to the right, and now you're accusing a purge from the left. It's not that simple on the Dem side of the aisle. On the Republican side, all challengers are from the right. The Dem challenges are from all over the place (Morrison in AR was to Lincoln's right while Halter was to her left). No purge going on, just dissatisfaction with specific incumbents.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 19, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Torture Thiessen is a hopeless failure as a political analyst...Washington Post editorial staff please take note. Just use this guy when Krauthammer has run out of bile, because he isn't good for anything else.

Posted by: gposner | May 19, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

HEY Theissen...read my name...

Watch out for Lightning Bolts of Fire...

Your arguments are not defensible.

You are the Terrorists

GWF

Posted by: godwithfire55 | May 19, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Why does this grinning idiot's face and idiotic writing appear here? He doesn't make an iota of sense. The Post should be ashamed to publish him. There must be some misguided but articulate conservative high school sophomore they could find to replace him.

Posted by: dicka1 | May 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It is indeed bizarre that the Post thinks it needs to hire a professional liar in order to represent the crazy wing on the right. As a Bush White House veteran, he chooses to create his own reality. The Post pays the price in lost credibility.

Posted by: turningfool | May 19, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

So voters choosing who they want to represent them amounts to "shameful efforts at the ideological purification of the Democratic party". This is a democracy, idiot.

Posted by: jake14 | May 19, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Anybody got a job for a soon to be unemployed messiah whose only previous work experience is as a community agitator?

Posted by: thebump
****************************
Nice of you to want to get your mom a job. Now, is "community agitator" code for barfly?

Posted by: LABC | May 19, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Arlen Specter is a centrist Democrat?

You're delusional, tubby.

Posted by: donspecht | May 19, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Arlen Specter is a centrist Democrat?

You're delusional, tubby.

Posted by: donspecht | May 19, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Boy what a spin from Bush's failed spinmeister. Specter's case is so idiosyncrastic as to meaninless fro gerneralizations--and, in case, the more-liberal candidate one. A Democrat took the seat Murtha vacated. And Blanche Lincoln has a run-off against a more-liberal Democrat. The only purge I see is the purge of reliably Republican-voting incumbents and GOP-sanctioned candidates being forced out in election after election. Rand Paul's victory is areferendum on the "leadership" of Mitch Mconnell. Maybe McConnell will be purged in the next round along with Orrin Hatch. Let's ask Bennett, Christm and Grayson aabout purges shall we?

Posted by: wd1214 | May 19, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

What drivel. The Democrats picked perfectly reasonable Democrats over a former Republican and another way out of the main stream. The Republicans on the other hand are outdoing themselves removing even mainstream conservative candidates by out of sight conservatives. Talk about biased analysis.

Posted by: serban1 | May 19, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Some where along the way Obama forgot that it reads, :"We the people" and not "Me the president". It not a purge of democrats or republicans. Its a purge of those who use "politics before country" in the way they make laws that affect everyone. Its a purge of those who lost touch with the very people that put them where they are. Its a purge of those who no longer hear us and do what they will and the damm with everyone else.

Posted by: rainman2 | May 19, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Some where along the way Obama forgot that it reads, :"We the people" and not "Me the president". It not a purge of democrats or republicans. Its a purge of those who use "politics before country" in the way they make laws that affect everyone. Its a purge of those who lost touch with the very people that put them where they are. Its a purge of those who no longer hear us and do what they will and the damm with everyone else.

Posted by: rainman2 | May 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Some where along the way Obama forgot that it reads, :"We the people" and not "Me the president". It not a purge of democrats or republicans. Its a purge of those who use "politics before country" in the way they make laws that affect everyone. Its a purge of those who lost touch with the very people that put them where they are. Its a purge of those who no longer hear us and do what they will and the damm with everyone else.

Posted by: rainman2 | May 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Theissen is shallow and limited thinker with a chip on his shoulder. Then again, so are all the posters that feel the need to either support or attack his thought by calling one another schoolyard names. I guess it is a good match. It gives Theissen a living, and the namecallers a place to vent.

Posted by: kermit5 | May 19, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, Democrats didn't like a hundred year old Republican who turned Democrat last year. Democrats did like Blanche Lincoln, although she does have to win a runoff.

Republicans didn't like the Republicans, voting for a Libertarian. Unfortunately Republicans do like sons of, so they voted for Paul Jr, a son of. How did that work out for you with Bush Jr? Good luck in November since the losing Dem got more votes the Paul Jr.

Posted by: chucky-el | May 19, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

waah! waah! waah! (sniff)... when something happens to Republicans its "oh boy!" but when the same thing happens to Democrats, the dumb bully media says "I dont care" waah! waah! waah! not fair!!!

Posted by: emoenergy1 | May 19, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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