Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter Dumps GOP; Some Rats Stay On Sinking Ship

Arlen Specter’s stunning announcement that he is changing parties to become a Democrat is merely the latest example of the how the Republic Party is losing its grip on America.

"Since my election in 1980 as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right,” Specter tells reporters without a trace of irony in his voice as he overstates the obvious.

“Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats,” the Pennsylvania Senator goes on to note, adding, “I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

Assuming Norm “Sen. Slimey” Coleman finally gives up the ghost of his increasingly desperate, ill-considered quest to upend the Minnesota election at some point in our lifetime that makes Don Quixote seem like a realist, Specter’s move coupled with Al Franken’s seating gives the Democrats a nearly rock-solid, filibuster proof, 60 seat majority in the Senate.

Certainly that will be the case on major Obama agenda items such as health care, energy, cap-and-trade and, hopefully, card check despite Specter's current objection to it.

More important, it exposes the single, most pressing, problem confronting the GOP: Moderates no longer have a place in the party. They’re not welcome, they don’t count and they’re seen as pariahs. Things are so bad on the right side of the aisle, I’m not convinced Barry Goldwater would be comfortable hanging around with today’s Republican honchos; his daughter, an accomplished filmmaker, wonders the same thing.

Personally, I wonder if Maine’s two Republican Senators, Olympia Snow and Susan “No Flu Shot For You!” Collins, hear footsteps in the hallway. Both are up for re-election next year.

Look Who’s Talking

What the party of Lincoln is left with are the voices of crazy people who are wandering aimlessly, totally lost in the hospital's wards.

There’s Bobby Jindahl decrying spending on volcano monitoring weeks before Mt. Redoubt ignites.

There’s Rick Parry and his Blago hair encouraging Texas sessessionists by decrying Washington’s “oppressive interference” while asking the federal government for nearly 40,000 vials of an anti-flu vaccine.

There’s Mark Sanford, who wants all of the stimulus money destined for South Carolna except for unemployment insurance that would actually help his many destitute, out-of-work constituents.

Don’t forget John McCain, the man who denounces torture but refuses to denounce the torturers.

Say hello to Michael Steele who has no more of an idea on how to turn the party around than he grasps why it’s fallen on such hard times.

Dick Cheney we shall always have with us, it seems, a man with less credibility than my Golden Retriever when it comes to issues of national policy speaking out on national policy.

The list is seemingly endless.

Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner. Don’t overlook Michelle Bachman, perhaps the goofiest, most unstable member of Congress in more than 100 years. Or Sarah Palin, to which nothing need be added as an explanation.

Look who’s talking, folks: The emotionally unstable, the mentally halt, the morally bankrupt and the just plain mean-spirited. Yet it is on the backs of these people that the Republican Party plans to stage a major comeback.

As Pres. Obama told him when he phoned Specter to contraulate him on the move, “We are thrilled to have you.”


Pete said...

Oh god....

I couldn't have said it better. Sometimes you are every bit as good as Keith Olberman. Nice piece, damn near great.

Don't stop, Charley.

mlaiuppa said...

Actually, it doesn't give the Democrats a rock solid, filibuster-proof 60. Because that includes two independents that usually vote Democratic, but you can't trust Lieberman. And Specter, while being a Democrat in name will still vote his mind, just like he did when he was a Republican. Sometimes it will align with the Democrats, but sometimes it won't. So you could still have a 58-42 split.

But I think the majority of the votes are going to be at least 60-40. I also think some will be 62-38 since there are still two moderate Republicans with the backbone to buck the party line and vote for what they think is right. Maybe we'll be welcoming another into the fold over the next year or two.

Charley James - The Progressive Curmudgeon said...

Very good points, mlaiuppa. But for two major issues on the Obama agenda - health care and energy - the votes should be there to cut off a filibuster, as well as any shenanigans the Republicans try on judicial and other appointments.

Lisa G. Willigers said...

As someone who’s never voted Republican in a national election, I’m worried about the possible demise of two real parties in America. Maybe not the divided and divisive two parties we’ve had the past 30 years but something like there was in the 1950s and 1950 when compromise was the operative word around Congress. It doesn’t do the USA any good to have one dominant party and one, fractionalized regional party like the Republicans have become.

Of course, they were written off once before, after LBJ trounced Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election. The only reason they came back as quickly as they did was that, by 68, the country was fed up with the war and elected Tricky Dick by default. Without that, a GOP president wouldn’t have been elected for another 12 years. But with the likes of the knobheads in charge of the GOP these days, it could be 25 or 30 years before they come back this time.

But the US needs two vibrant parties. If the GOP cannot get its act together, then a new party should emerge from somewhere.