Senator Arlen Specter is my current LOLhero.
“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right,” Specter said in a statement posted by his office on PoliticsPA.com.
“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.”
I get why you did it, Arlen, and I’m glad you (and so many previous Republican and Republican sympathizer voters) have jettisoned the crap over the last few years to shift to the brighter side . But now who will stay and rally the silent moderate majority in the Republican party (and hell, the whole of America) against the NeoCon Hangerson, the Religious Right, and the elite, conservative-ideology PACs that seek to assassinate the careers of moderate Republican politicians? Not that Arlen Specter was ever a huge maverick, but he did always work in the general spirit of bipartisanship (which is something that people like John McCain do a lot less than they’d like us to think sometimes; after all, “bipartisanship” is not as simple as standing in a corner with Russ Feingold and stomping your feet when you don’t get your way, ha! Okay, okay…I give you both props for BCFRA.). Without moderate appeal, the party is kind of doomed.
I hope the RNC and the Congressional Republicans can get their crud in gear soon. Not because I love the Republican Party, but because we need both majors to be strong and viable if we want the two-party system to maintain stability in our political system. I know people witch and moan about the lack of real third-party alternatives in American politics, but for those to flourish as legitimate electoral alternatives (and not just agenda-fluffers), we’d have to abandon the principles of Majoritarianism, which everyone considers so sacrosanct. There’s also the speed factor. As bewitching as proportional, plurally-elected legislatures may sometimes seem, the results would be issue-by-issue, with-whom-do-we-coalesce-this-time gridlock that’d make the usual aisle-spats look like catfights at kibble time. We talk so much smack about the two majors, calling them big special interests and huge, nasty factions, but the fact of the matter is, they are actually Leviathans – two large vessels containing the chaos of a multitude of mini-factions.
Ken Conrad alludes to this in the CNN article I linked above, saying, “It’s great news. but it means a lot less than some people think. The Democratic caucus is not homogenous. There is a lot of disagreement in the Democratic caucus, so this idea that it’s some great watershed event … I don’t think so.”
It’s true. Plus, there’s the law of political gravity, which provides that those who go up must eventually come down. You stick around long enough after the honeymoon ends, and the electorate will eat you alive eventually. Familiarity breeds contempt – no matter how big a mandate you got when your tenure began. As I frequently tell my students, when the economy is better and traditionally-conservative economic ideas make more sense, I’m sure the GOP will be back in the saddle again. Still, they need to ditch their NeoConnish “fake fiscal conservatism” and get back to their modified freemarket/New Age Federalism/spend less roots if that’s going to mean anything. Costly wars, appropriations free-for-alls, big budget deficits, and uberized debt are not exactly fiscally-responsible ideas – they’re robber-baron, exploit-the-bubble, Ponzi-scheme ideas. As as for the potshots against the Democrats about socialism? Give me a bleeping break. Since the 19th century, the government’s been instigating socialistic economic intervention….from various railroad nationalization schemes to the New Deal to industrial regulation to whatever the hell.
So anyway. Now you know why I don’t like getting into political discussions off the clock. 😛