The GOP’s ‘Specter’ of failure

In the end, longtime Republican Senator Arlen Specter had no choice.

If he wanted to keep his Senate seat, he had to return to the Democratic Party he left early in his political career.

If he wanted to keep his sanity he had to get away from the rabid right wing that controls the Republican Party.

Specter’s announcement Tuesday that he was switching from Republican to Democrat left an already-reeling GOP in shambles. They knew it was coming but it still struck at the heart of a party that has lost focus and severed what little connection it had with reality or the wishes of the American people.

Specter’s move drove the wooden stake through the heart of the blood-sucking party of the elephant. It reduced a political vampire to ashes. Even so, it will take decades to remove the stench left by failed GOP policies and the party’s never-ending assault on rights and freedoms that once were taken for granted by American citizens.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll show just 21 percent of Americans claim to be a Republican — the lowest percentage in a quarter century.

Writes Dan Balz in The Washington Post:

How much more can the Republicans take? Demoralized, shrinking and seemingly lacking an agenda beyond the word "no," Republicans today saw their ranks further thinned with the stunning news that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter is switching parties and will run for reelection in 2010 as a Democrat.

Specter is worried about his own survival — and particularly a primary challenge from the right. Many in the GOP might say good riddance. After supporting President Obama’s stimulus package, Specter was persona non grata in his own party. So it may be easy for some Republicans to conclude that they are better off without people like Arlen Specter.

But his defection is a reminder that the Republican Party continues to contract, especially outside the South, and that it appears increasingly less welcome to politicians and voters who do not consider themselves solidly conservative. Northeast Republicans have gone from an endangered species to a nearly extinct species. Republicans lost ground in the Rocky Mountains and the Midwest in the last two elections. That’s no way to build a national party.

When a party is defined by pompous loudmouths like Rush Limbaugh or political vacuums like Sarah Palin, it’s time to yank the life support and put both the party and this nation out of its misery.

I saw the warning signs when I worked within the GOP in the 80s and 90s. I saw a party dominated by right-wing reactionaries, homophobes, bigots and political hacks that had lost touch with the American people. I left politics in 1994 because I could no longer take the hypocrisy. I tried drowning my disgust with single malt scotch. Even that didn’t work.

Republicans have become the poster children of everything that is wrong with this country: Supporters of corporate greed that sent the economy plummeting, shredders of the Constitution through the criminal acts of George W,. Bush and Dick Cheney and purveyors of the "party first, country never" philosophy that defines political excess at its putrid, rotting core.

Specter made the right decision to leave the GOP. Hopefully, his decision gives Democrats the Senate majority they need to accomplish real change.

And, more importantly, his decision drives one more nail into the coffin of a failed political party that deserves to be buried forever in the most toxic landfill we can find.

The Republican Party does not deserve to Rest in Peace.

It should Burn in Hell.


  1. claypigeonbx

    Seems to me Specter is being perfectly true to his Republicon principles: “The only thing that matters is winning, whatever the cost.” Not surprising that he became a Democrat. Really. He knew he couldn’t win the next election unless he did.

    Nor does his defection say much about the Republican Party. They’re still out there, flailing around, trying to figure out what inane “cause” will rally enough of the ignorant mob to keep them in power.

    No, seems to me that the most important truth revealed in the Specter “conversion” does not have to do with Specter or the Republicans. Instead, it tells us something rather unnerving about the Democratic Party: The Democratic Party has no membership standards. As long as you pays your dues and says, “I am a Democrat,” you are a Democrat.

    That troubles me more than a little. It means that the whole political enterprise in this country is little more than a sports contest. The only thing that differentiates the players on the field from one another is their uniform. Neither party actually stands for anything. There are no admission requirements apart from the fact that you have to have enough money to be able to buy a ticket.

    Is either party committed to anything beyond winning the next election? I really wonder.

  2. Stratocaster

    In my day, I had to try everything in a bottle, but came to the realization that drinking expensive booze did not mke you a better drunk;; it just costs more. After the second drink you don’t care what it tastes like as long as it has alcohol in it. When I started going across the border and downing quarts of mescal just to get to the worm in the bottom, I began to realize I had a problem. Now. soda pop really makes me crazy.

  3. Warren

    I still have hope that this will be a turning point for the Republican Party. It went astray when in the 1980’s it married the Christian Right. Then the wingnuts took over. They grew in influence and became the monster that defined the party.

    Now, to survive, the Republicans will have to divorce the monster. Will they? I hope so. Political nature abhors a vacuum and what might fill such a vacuum could be a lot worse than a reformed, more centrist Republican Party.


  4. Paolo

    Hi Doug,

    Good commentary on what ails the Republican Party. I agree: let it fail completely. Then maybe another party, perhaps the Constitution or Libertarian party, can take the role of number two.

    The Republican Party has ALWAYS been the party of “business/government partnership.” That is: the party of crony capitalism, aka “fascism” (defined as a system in which the government allows private ownership of companies, but reserves the right to tell them what to produce).

    Lincoln–virtually the founder of the party–stood for government-business “partnership” in expanding the railroads. He called for special favors for politically-connected businesses. He called for the expulsion of African Americans so that white folks wouldn’t have to compete with low-cost labor.

    Teddy Roosevelt, the next Republican luminary, was a virtual psychotic, obsessed with macho manliness, who took out his sexual insecurities in the form of stupid, pointless wars of foreign expansionism and intrigue.

    Richard Nixon was a conniving, cunning, clever manipulator who developed the so-called “Southern Strategy” of appealing to racist Democrats in the South in order to win elections. The South remains solidly Republican to this day. Fortunately, most of the rest of the country doesn’t.

    George W. Bush was a prep-school dolt who stumbled into the presidency after screwing up several companies. He took government-business “partnership” to new lows, with Enron and the first round of bailouts of failing corporations to his credit.

    The Republicans have ALWAYS been the party of big government. Sometimes, they talk a good “limited government” game, just to get some votes. But they are, through and through, economic fascists.

    As a libertarian, I say, “good riddance.”

  5. Stratocaster

    Whenever any person or organization believes they have the power to do whatever they want, they inevitably self destruct, always.

  6. bjiller

    Dems were out 8 years ago.

    Wasn’t it just eight years ago that we were all talking about how the Democratic Party was going down the tubes into permanent minority status? Then the GOP went insane (as Charles Barkley so aptly put it) and now the Dems control both the Congress and the Whitehouse.

    All it will take is for Obama (or the leftie wingnuts in Congress) to substantially raise taxes on the middle class in violation of his 2008 campaign pledge, and the GOP will be back in the running for 2012.

    Never underestimate the destructiveness of total power.

  7. sherry

    I am a Glenfiddich fan myself. It is a rare treat, but oh my. Yes. Sometimes the world does look oh so much better at the bottom of the glass.

  8. Elmo

    Does single malt scotch go with Volvo-drivin’ latte-sippin’ arugula-eatin hoity-toity liberals? Or is is more of a Yuppie-with-more-money-than-it-knows-what-to-do-with?

    If I were going to drown myself in a vat of spirits, I’d choose bourbon — 90 proof.

    Stay off that stuff Doug, it makes you crazier than you should be. You need to stay right on the Hunter Thompson Gonzo-Journalist preternatural awareness edge.

  9. adamrussell

    The republican party long ago gave up on the prinicples of honor and honesty. Ronald Reagan said it best – “The 11th commandment is that thou shalt not speak ill of another republican”. In other words – “If you see another republican doing wrong, just shut up about it. Party loyalty is more important than honor”. The republican culture embraces this value system. If any republican disputes this then let us hear you repudiate the Reagan aphorism. Tell us Reagan was wrong. America is sick of those values. Change or die.

  10. bryan mcclellan

    Birds of a feather as it were. How about a few snapping turtles and some monster catfish, I don’t think the gators can handle all that spoiled duck.

  11. Stratocaster

    I just gotta know, do use guys put your little pinky in the air when you drink that crap.

  12. bryan mcclellan

    I’ll help get the fire roaring with a 12 year old bottle of Glenlivet, and we’ll toast it with Boone’s farm Strawberry Hill Strato.

    I think the Editor has the ole fire back in the belly Kids. Hold on tight..Yee Haa..

  13. AustinRanter

    Bryan…now you’re talking about my drugs of choice…and I love your combo. But those days are long gone for me…about 22 years long gone. I might as well drink battery acid, my sanity would stay in tact a bit longer. A&W Rootbeer is about it for me…but I can hold my own.

    This deal with the GOP…its all but laughable. To kind of repeat one of my postings this morning in RR…I just don’t give a rat’s ass about the health and well being of any party.

    To me the GOP or even the Dem party’s survival is of little interest to me.

    Specter’s switch…so what? No biggie.

    As I’ve said before…

    “When I look at Washington’s political population and the overall system in which they go about their daily business…it’s sort of like looking at a pond that has grey ducks, brown ducks, blue-green ducks…and so-forth. In other words, a duck is a duck is a duck.

    And if it’s not apparent that Specter is just another Duck among all types of Ducks…then somebody has a critical thinking problem.

    What we’ve been seeing for eons is a group of brown ducks ganging up on a group of…say blue-green ducks to maintain control over the resources in the pond. (Or vise-versa)

    In a few years the blue-green ducks will see a new flock of blue-greens come to the pond…and they’ll have the numbers to gang up on the brown ducks. (Or vise-versa)

    The resources in the pond seem to continue to renew and/or even grow to make sure the ducks are well fed.

    What I’d like to see added to the pond is a few alligators.”