Free Markets, Free People

Today’s Biggest Non-Surprise

It’s certainly a big political story because it almost assures a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for the Democrats. But if anyone is particularly surprised by Arlen Specter switching parties at this time, I’d have to say you’re not much of a observer of politics.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.

Specter blames his move on the GOP no longer being the “big tent” party he was a part of in the ’80s. But in fact, it is because he’s assured of losing in the Republican primary in 2010 while if he runs as a Democrat incumbent, he will most likely not have any real  primary opposition.  Pat Toomey, the Republican, almost beat Specter the last time out.  Those considering a run as a Democrat can most likely be talked out of it if Specter switches (and that was probably part of the deal).

I’m sure Specter will have all sorts of claims of principled reasons why he is leaving the GOP when he meets the press later. But in fact, he’s never seemed to have any foundational principle except that which could be described as “doing what is necessary to gain and maintain power.” And, what you’re seeing now is a politician with his finger firmly in the air gaging which party offers him the least resistance and best opportunity to retain his seat – and that certainly isn’t the GOP.

Here’s to Arlen Specter getting creamed in 2010.


66 Responses to Today’s Biggest Non-Surprise

  • “I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” Specter said

    Now????  NOW???  You are a liar Mr. Specter and I pray the people of Penn put their guns and bibles down long enough to vote you back to the cave you belong in.

  • I don’t think there’s any way to spin this other than the obvious, that Specter had no real choice if he wanted to keep his seat in 2010.  The only interesting thing here will be to see if anyone deviates from the script when writing an opinion piece.  Those on the right will see Specter off with a “good riddance” and I expect that the left will focus more on tweaking the right than on welcoming Specter into the fold.

    • It also shows that he may not be so popular “back home” if he needs a big-name party apparatus behind him.  Quite the opposite of Joe Lieberman’s last go-about in Conn.  He was sufficiently well liked and respected to get by as an independent. 

      • No, what it means is that so many Pennsylvania Republicans have become Pennsylvania Democrats that the far right wing crazies will dominate the primary, so Specter made a survival move. The rats are jumping ship, kids!

    • “I don’t think there’s any way to spin this other than the obvious, that Specter had no real choice if he wanted to keep his seat in 2010. ”

      And I think that shows what Specter has ALWAYS had in mind – that the most important thing/issue was KEEPING HIS SEAT.

      What a whore!

      • If your side snags a Democratic senator, will you be calling him a whore? Nah, you’ll call him a patriot.

        • All depends on why he or she is switching.

          Specter’s switch was totally self-serving, his BS about Republicans “moving to the right” aside.

  • Thank you once again, Pres. Bush. Your legacy continues to shine in the moonlight.

  • The Republican Party is disintegrating. As a Democrat, I have mixed feelings. Obviously, part of me welcomes it because it spells very good news for the 2010 and 2012 elections. Another part of me would prefer to have a strong two-party system. Seeing either of the major parties in collapse is not terribly good news. The Republicans will certainly continue to exist, but will move further and further to the right, and into irrelevance.

    • ” . . . and into irrelevance.”

      Political pendulums swing back and forth.  It was not long ago (a little over 4 years by my count) that the Democrats were in such a quandry at losing to Bush again that the same “irrelevant” term was used when referring to them.  Remember “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  It will take a very careful and measured Democratic Party to keep from running roughshod 0ver the political landscape and avoid that backward swing.  And if the way the Democrats have ruled to date under Obama, Pelosi and Reid does not abate, then the pendulum could very well swing very hard – and very soon. 

      • Democrats were definitely upset, but it wasn’t like this. The Democratic Party has always been much better at co-opting its leftists than the Republicans have been at controlling its various factions. Yes, politics is a pendulum, on that I agree. The pendulum swings in long arcs, and this one started swinging back at you in 2006. This swing is going to go a loooooooooong way.

        • I suspect it’s swinging back sometime around 2010.

          The fundamental problem Democrats face is that their ideas are wrong. As reality sets in, people will turn away from the Democrats.

    • Gee, I heard this same spiel about the left after 2004.

      Parties wax and wane. Pull your pants back up dummy.

  • Obviously, Patrick Leahy isn’t about to give up his chairmanship at Judiciary and with today’s announcement, Specter can’t keep the Rank Member position, so what exactly did Specter gain in the short run ?
    Shouldn’t he have waited till just before the filing deadline in PA before announcing ?
    For Pennsylvanians, Specter gave up his pivotal position that could have given him incredible leverage in the Senate just so he could run again.

  • Specter will easily win the 2010 election, being supported by Democrats and moderate Republicans.  Remember: Pennsylvania had a lot of liberal Republicans shift parties to vote in the Democratic primary (it was a big one!), and most haven’t switched back.  That weakened Specter’s base in the GOP.

    The GOP is digging a big hole, moving to extremist positions supported by probably only about a quarter of the population.   Perhaps they need to go through that — the extremists need a thumping in a few elections before they realize they have to go beyond inbred talking to each other and dissing those with different opinions (usually with insults and not engagement).   It will take a long time for the Republicans to recover from the whole in which they continue to dig.  

    The GOP will recover in time, it’s fairly common that when a party loses power it first moves to more extremist positions, especially since its not used to the opposition and doesn’t quite realize how out of step it’s views are with most of the public (and activists tend to be more extreme).  A few major election loses and defeat on big issues (probably in this case health care will be the major defeat for the GOP, but there will be quite a few), and they’ll shift.   First the shift will be to Democratic light, then someone (like Reagan and Obama for their respective parties) will develop a creative, pragmatic approach that transcends the old thinking and the GOP will be back.  But they can expect to be in the wilderness for quite awhile.

    • You may be right for once Erb.  But in this case it is not the Republicans that will determine how long they remain in the wilderness.  It is the Democrats.  If the Democrats want to be the party in power for the long run then they need to act like it. 

      Obama has been pushing hard for his agenda – too hard in my estimation – he is afraid he is going to lose maneuver room in the midterms by getting his supermajority nipped.   Not losing the majority in either house mind you, just getting his supermajority nipped in the senate.  Currently he is a President who won the election with 53% of the vote but is acting like he got 90%.  That kind of hubris will come back to haunt him.  And his partisan ways will bite him long before the Republicans will have rebounded. 

      Watch and see – it will not be the Republicans who force the issue but the hubris of the Democrats bulldogging their radical agenda that will force the backlash.  Remember 1994 and the Jim Wright-led Democrats.  The Democrats knew they were going to lose some ground in the midterms but no one forcast the shellacking they got.  If the Dems keep on their current track there will be a backlash.  Ultimately how hard of a backlash will be will be determined by how organized the Republicans can get by then.  If the Republicans can find a Newt Gingrich-like leader to galvanize the party then the Democrats will soon face another 1994 Waterloo – Deja Vu all over again!!

      The only way to keep that from happening is for Obama and the Democrat to do what was promised in the campaign – rule in a bi-partisan fashion.  Anyone want to bet they will?

    • “The GOP is digging a big hole…”

      Sorry, but you are wrong there. Are we in the minority now? Yes. Are we finished as a party, like the CNN’s and MSDNC’s of the world would have us? Not even close, buster.

      Remember in 2000? The Democrats lost the White House and more seats in the Congress. In 2002, more seats lost. 2004, and they lost the White House again to a man they dismissed as a lightweight. If it were not for Iraq, Nancy Shmancy Pelosi would still be the minority leader.

      So, celebrate your majority now while you can. Because if you read the liberal sites like I do, the few non-dim bulbs on there (and they are few and far between) realize that 2010 is a bad omen just waiting to hit. Because the Congress is not popular, Nancy Pelosi is a liar and John Murtha is a thief, and Obama is only as popular now because somehow no one yet blames him for the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. In 2010, however, as the deficit continues to spiral out of control and unemployment reaches 12%, mark my words that a 50 seat loss for the Democrats in the House is becoming more of a reality each passing day. (A friend of mine said the other night that he bet in 2005 that the Democrats would win the House in 2006, and won $500 on the bet. He says the Democrats will lost 45 seats, and, if things get worse, could lose up to 70 if the country turns on The Clown™ and the House the way they turned on Bush and the GOP in 2006.)

      • Yeah, by all means bet alongside your friend on that 45-seat loss. I always like to see wingers lose money.

    • It’s the Democrats who have adopted a radical approach. Furthermore, it is an approach that can’t work.

      Economic failure due to socialist policies, and likely terrorist attacks will kick Obama’s butt.

  • I hope Specter loses in the primaries, it would serve him right to be shown as the lackey to the dems that he is.

    So long Spineless Specter.

    While you are going take clueless Collins and Stuipid Snowe with you.

    I dont see what the hubbub is about the dems now having 60 votes.  With the 3 blind mice above they had them anyway.

    • I absolutely agree.  What good does it do to have a RINO like Specter in the party when he’ll vote with the trash?  And what harm does it do for him to show his true colors and formally join that group of dirtbags?

      Good riddance.


    I’d rather have the seat in Dem hands than having that RINOs old ridden carcass sitting in it.  Exactly the same feeling I had with Chafee. 

    If you’re going to be in the minority anyway, there may as well be a useful purge.

  • Here is how I propose to fugg Arlen Spector (Mr. Ira Einhorn) next year: I will send some money to Pat Toomey.

    And I will send some to any Republican to can beat McCain in the primary. And, while we are at it, let’s be rid of Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins as well.

    And that will send a message to Republicans: Either you are with us, or you are against us. Either way, but if you are against us be prepared to face the wrath of the party that sent your fanny to the US Congress in the first place.

  • Sen. Snow: “I happened to win with 74 percent of the vote in a blue-collar state, but no one asked me, ‘How did you do it?’”

    No one asked Madam Senator, because they already know.  What Snow et al seems incapable of understanding is that the “big tent” they yearn for is quickly becoming indistinguishable from the Democrat Party.  It was not the Spector’s stance on social issues that caused PA Republicans to ‘lose faith’ rather his economic idiocy.

    • When you have Lindsey Graham complaining about the far-right drift, you know you’re in trouble. But hey, he’s just a RINO too. In fact, they’re all RINOs! Purify!

      • You clearly have no appreciation for how fickle the public can be.
        Let the anointed one and that laugh pack you have running Congress (to include this new joker) continue on their path and you’ll discover shortly how fast that pendulum really CAN swing.

        When the moderates finally realize how much money you’ve fleeced from them the pendulum will swing back alarmingly fast.   
        Now if I believed the Republicans would do something USEFUL with that change in direction it would be one thing, but I’m confident they’ll merely apply the brakes to slow us down again on the road to hell, rather than finding a route that will lead somewhere else.

        • Politics is a pendulum and it swings in wide arcs. What’s happening now is par for the course. The pendulum started swinging back in 2006. The Republicans are so thoroughly infiltrated by their far right-wing that the were institutionally unable to make mid-course corrections. Instead, they were like American tourists in France. Instead of using the phrasebook, they just shouted their English a little louder. They are still doing that, and will keep doing it for the next several elections until someone gets hungry enough to figure out how to order a meal in a language that can be understood.

          The fortunate thing is that I can say all of this as much as I want, and you’ll ignore it because all you wingnuts do is listen to each other. Your teabagging protests, which became a national obscene joke, were a case in point. You are going to get your asses handed to you in the next two national elections, and it’s going to be fun to watch you squirm ‘n squeal. Think of me as the hillbilly in Deliverance, getting off on the whole thing.

          One difference: Burt Reynolds isn’t standing there with a bow and arrow this time. Enjoy.

          • Right. The Republicans were so far right, Bush singed Ted Kennedy’s No Child Left behind. And That drug bill Bush signed was written by the John Burch society.

            Right. Republicans far right. Bizarre.

      • “When you have Lindsey Graham complaining about the far-right drift, you know you’re in trouble. But hey, he’s just a RINO too. In fact, they’re all RINOs! Purify!”

        Sorry to ruin your mantra (purify, purify, purify), but remember all of the conservative Democrats who were shown the door in the 1980s and 1990s. I remember how Phil Gramm had balls by resigning his House seat because he could not stand to be a Democrat anymore, and then ran for his seat as a Republican and won. Have you seen any of this from Arlen “Einhorn” Spector?

        Of course not. Because the man did not jump parties based on principle, he jumped because he knew that he was toast in the primary next year. The man would rather stay in the Senate and jump parties than stand by his principles. If the Republican Party is so far right for him, how come he stuck it out until now? How come he told The Hill newspaper in March that he was a Republican and would remain a Republican? What has changed since March 2009? Nothing except the calendar. Oh, and those pesky polls showing that Spector loses to Toomey in the GOP primary in 2010 by 25+ points.

        So, as I said, celebrate your “victory” by nabbing Spector. Remember, however, that in after the 1994 drubbing of the Democrats many of your party left and moved over to the GOP. Remember Ben Nighthorse Campbell? Remember Richard Shelby?

        Now, also remember 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. What do those numbers mean? Those were all years that the GOP won a majority in the US House of Representatives, and, in 2000 and 2004, Democrats were written off as being a permanent minority. So, as I said, celebrate your time now, but do take note that today’s minority is yesterday’s majority, and today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority. The politics will swing back. I guarantee it.

  • <blockquote>Here’s to Arlen Specter getting creamed in 2010.</blockquote>

    That actually won’t happen, which explains why he switched. I suggest you follow James Marsden’s example above, and also drive other moderates out of your party and to the Dems. This will further cement the GOP as the party of the far right, damaging the GOP’s prospects for future elections while also depriving the GOP of power right now. It’s a win-win…for Democrats.

    • Seeing as he’s not a member of “my” party, I really don’t care whether Specter stays or goes (except he just makes it easier for the moon-bat left to pass their agenda).

      I just happen to think he’s an unprincipled jack*ss.

      So sue me.

    • That’s fine. I’m willing to trade short-term political setbacks for the benefits of getting people like him out of the party.

      • Fine by me. I do you hope you realize that the cost of purity will be a 70+-seat Democratic Senate majority and a 300+-seat Democratic House majority, and a thumping lanslide for Obama in ’12, and likely a Democratic successor in ’16. We can get a while lot done before the pendulum swings back, but you’ll have the comfort of being right.

  • It’s too bad no one has time to pick apart Specter’s statements today. They were pretty hilarious. I only heard them because the remote was out of reach.

    Republicans don’t need Specter. What they need are candidates and leaders who know how to talk seriously and clearly about issues from a Republican perspective, which is about the superiority of entrepreneurial capitalism, the imperative of sound national defense, and the foundational necessity of traditional Western cultural values.

    The Democratic Party is on the wrong side in every instance and will destroy the country if they run off with the government, which they appear to be doing, at least in the near to mid-term.

    They’ve already succeeded in destroying the black family, with 70% of black children now born outside of marriage. And they’re working on everybody else: hispanics are just past 50%; whites are closing in on one-third.

    Focus on getting people to understand the corrosive, stinking, destructive impact of these three things in American society: the teachers union’s control of public education, the liberal media bias against America itself, the universities as petri dishes of intellectual and cultural decay.

    If the Republicans cannot take the battle into those arenas and defeat the Left on its territory, the Left will walk away with the culture, the politics, and the fate of the United States. We won’t be talking about just a “post-American world,” we’ll be talking about a “post-American America.”

    That’s where the battles are and what the war is about.

    • You’re right, you don’t need Specter, or the other 10 seats you’re going to lose in the next two elections.

      • Oh dream on, you must be on some seriously good drugs.  The bills will start coming due, long about September this year and by mid term election time you will have no one to blame it on (what with your filibuster proof majority in the Senate).

        Out you’ll go like dirty bathwater, followed in 2012 by Baby Barack.

        • I love it when wingnuts lie to themselves. This is going to be fun.

        • Unlikely Obama will lose in 2012.  As I noted a few days ago, realignment elections tend to provide the President with a coat of teflon.  Reagan had it, and FDR still has it — he was constantly re-elected even as the depression dragged on.  It’s a cycle of politics.    But if you get outside partisan blogs on the left and right and look at ‘average’ public opinion, people not overly political, and its clear that Obama has a lot of support and the issues the right are championing aren’t resonating.  Moreover recent “big name” criticisms of Obama have come from Cheney and Rove — there are hardly two less popular politicians these days. 

          Can the Democrats avoid hubris and the temptation for over-reach?   And if they do will the GOP be ready to respond with a message that resonates with the majority, or will the miniscule minority who sees the country ‘at war’ frame the message and push the mainstream away, guaranteeing longer term Democratic rule?   (For the record, I hope my two Senators, who I support, remain Republican).

          • First sign of hope for 2012: Scott says it is “unlikely” Obama will lose. Always good to know what you’re thinking, Scott.

          • No politician can avoid hubris and overreach. This is what always does them in. They whacked hard, and for a while they learn their lessons, and then they forget them. That’s what the pendulum is all about. The Democrats haven’t been back in power long enough to display fatal hubris. Obviously, there are a lot of politicians, and at any given moment several of them are melting down. But it’ll be quite a few years before the Democrats show the sort of institutional hubris that laid ’em low in the ’80s, or that laid the Republicans low in the mid-00’s.

          • First sign of hope for 2012: Scott says it is “unlikely” Obama will lose. Always good to know what you’re thinking, Scott.

            You’re the last person who should be mocking someone about their prognostications, McPhillips.  What was it you predicted last year?  Oh yeah.  McCain by ten points.

            And with what you gave us upthread…
            We won’t be talking about just a “post-American world,” we’ll be talking about a “post-American America.”

            First sign of hope for the American future:  McPhillips says…

          • “Unlikely Obama will lose in 2012. As I noted a few days ago, realignment elections tend to provide the President with a coat of teflon.”
            Once again, perhaps you can show us your crystal ball. To say that 2008 was a “realignment election,” you have to admit that 2004 was also a “realignment election.” In that, the people in the middle of an unpopular war chose Bush over Kerry. Why? Because Kerry was a terrible candidate, as was McCain in 2008. That’s the only reason McCain lost. He was a terrible candidate. If Obama had been up against someone who could have alerted the country to his malarkey, he would have lost, too. Remember that on September 15, McCain was winning by five full percentage points. If the stock market had crashed on November 15 instead of September 15, we would be speaking about President McCain right now. All that Obama had was timing. People got scared, and turned to the unknown to bail them out.
            But, in the end, Reagan had one thing Obama does not: executive experience. Obama’s lack of it shows each passing day. Plus, Reagan worked with the Democrats and Republicans in the Congress; Obama laughs at the GOP minority. And even though Obama’s JARs are good (no better than Bush’s were after his first 100 days), the ratings of his particular policies are well below that.
            As the deficit balloons, as unemployment continues to go up (which economists say will hit 11% some time next year), and other things happen – Iran getting a nuclear, or Israel hitting Iran, for instance – Obama’s JARs will go down. Remember that he only got 400,000 votes more than Bush did in 2004. And those 400,000 counted most in 10 states which a 2-4% change from Democrat to Republican will change them back to red from blue. Take a look at Florida – the economic situation here is abysmal. Or California. Or New York State. Or Michigan. Or Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado. All states that Obama needs if he wants to be re-elected. And as the economic situation deteriorates, those who voted for him not because they are Democrats but out of fear will turn against him. The same thing happened to George H.W. Bush in 1992. Ask Bush about his second term, when the year before he had a 90% Job Approval Rate. Which is 30 points higher than Obama’s is now.

          • Remember that on September 15, McCain was winning by five full percentage points.

            I don’t remember that at all.  Perhaps you should up your dose of ginkgo biloba, and have another look.

            Gallup  9/13 – 9/15/08  McCain +1
            Quinnipiac  9/11 – 9/16/08  Obama +4
            CBS/Times  0/12 – 9/16/08  Obama +5
            Rasmussen 9/14 – 9/16/08  McCain +1

            Just to name a few.

            At best you could say it was considered a toss-up at that time.  To suggest that McCain had a moderately strong lead in mid September until the crash came is just foolish.  Even after McCain’s convention bounce, a time when one would expect a candidate to take the lead, McCain merely pulled even.

            Republicans are whistling past the graveyard, or punch drunk or something, if you think that you lost the election on some kind of fluke, or fraud, or “bad timing.”  Like timactual stated, this is just a part of the Bush legacy.
            This is why Specter sees his political future in Penn. with the Dems.  Obviously, this move by Specter is pure self-preservation, and seeing as how the Republican party is just about as popular as syphilis, it’s actually a pretty smart political move.

            Everytime you shake your fist at the TV.  Everytime your blood boils when you read the constant Obama bashing on this blog and others.  Just remember –

            The road to power for Obama and the Dems was paved by the ne’er-do-well Republicans of late.


          • Reagan was right on the issues, which was key.

            FDR actually prolonged the Great Depression, but he got away with it largely since the population of the time was ignorant of economics. I don’t think the American people today will accept FDR level failure.

            Obama looks even worse than FDR. Economic ignorance, foreign policy ignorance, etc. Unless Obama changes course, I see a sharp swing back towards Republicans soon.

      • Absolutely right the GOP doesn’t need Specter. It needs exactly what I described. As for “wingnuts,” that’s what you have in control of the Congress and the White House. You have a President with 20 years in a Marxist racist church in Chicago and a Speaker of the House from San Francisco. The principal problem for the Republicans has been the failure to take it to the other side in politics. They simply don’t have the candidates, right now. The larger problem, of course, is that the culture is turning out imbeciles like you on the assembly line of public schools and postmodern universities.

        • Does it give you a little thrill in an unmentionable place to write such fierce wingnutty things?

          • Is it hard for you to face the fact that you are the wingnut, with a President from a lunatic Marxist and racist church and a Speaker of the House from San Francisco? Now, the GOP candidate for President was the freakishly accommodating John McCain. The Republican leaders in the House and Senate are, respectively, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, and quite frankly other than being moderately conservative, they are probably two of the least extreme people you’ll ever find in politics. You would certainly never find either one of them standing in the well of their respective chambers, as their party’s leader, declaring a war lost not only while our troops were in battle but actually turning the thing around and winning, as the insipid loofah-spined Harry Reid did.

            How hard is that for you to digest? That you have a Party fronting far far Leftists as their mainstream, while sending you out the daily memo to accuse Republicans of being too far to the right.

            You’re caught not just in a political trap, but a psychological trap, sometimes called “lying” or “lying to yourself.”

            For your convenience, Q and O keeps a specialist in that behavior around as an exemplar of the phenomenon. His name is Scott Erb, and naturally he’s a college professor.

  • This is exceptionally funny:

    “But it’ll be quite a few years before the Democrats show the sort of institutional hubris that laid ‘em low in the ’80s,”

    They not only picked up where they left off, pal, they acted as if they had never been gone. As usual, they had a radical agenda that they kept concealed, and radical candidates and leaders who can’t step out of the two-dimensional spaces their media paints them in or they will be found out. These people are not “moderates,” unless you define moderate as “they don’t intent to take your rights away from you for another two years.” They’re insane socialists fronted for by public relations machine that can never ever tell the truth about them or state their real premises. But they can thank their lucky stars for the public schools, which now control the past for them.

    • Fine. Whatever. Here’s how it’ll go now: As the Republicans purify themselves, the Democrats will get EVERYTHING we want, and as the Republicans solidify their image as “The Party of No,” the public will walk — no, run — away from you. Enjoy your wilderness. Bring something warm.

      • >>>>Democrats will get EVERYTHING we want

        Utter bankrupcy?  ok, if that is what you want sure, fill your boots.  

        However one term president springs to my mind   😉

      • Except that you were probably going to get everything you wanted anyway (and remind me to laugh at you when we’re suffering for what you “wanted”).  So screw it.  If you’re going to get what you wanted anyway, you can have ole Arlen.  Now you don’t even have the fig leaf of “the GOP could filibuster”.  What happens next is on you. And we’ll crucify you with it.

        But you’ll excuse me if I decline the “advice” of people like you who seem to have an interest in keeping the GOP down forever.

      • It’s not the wilderness that Republicans mind. It’s the rotten mess they’ll face when called back from it.

        But I think that Republicans brought their exile on themselves via their mismanagement of Congress and thus caused voters to look at the other party. The presidency, on the other hand, was won for the Democrats by the mainstream media not, ah, covering the Democratic nominees background, which should have eliminated any candidate. Well, at 100 days of Obama it looks like clear sailing into ruin.

        Worst political situation I’ve ever seen. Worse than the 70s, which was rock bottom in the post-war era.

  • This switching parties crap needs to stop. You were elected as a member of a party. If you want to switch, you should either resign and run again, or announce your switch when you’re up for re-election.

    Anyone who donated to this worthless s-bag should demand a refund

  • Here’s the cycle: a once dominant party loses.  They find it hard to accept, and the activists take the party to the extreme.  Labor in 1979 went to the far left in Great Britain, as did the SPD in Germany after they lost power in 1982.  After losing a number of elections and lacking power over policy, new party leaders get sick of failure, and move away from the extremes (Labour after 18 years chose Blair, the SPD in Germany chose Schroeder).  This is a ‘light’ version of the new dominant party.  In the US Presidents Nixon (who governed in a liberal manner) and Clinton (who was more conservative, after early liberal efforts blew up in his face) represented this “light” move.  This regains power for the party that had been kicked out, and slowly purges the extremists.  Finally, the “new” dominant party overreaches and gets lazy, not noticing changes in public opinion, and making real errors.  The out of power party now finds leadership to articulate a new, creative and pragmatic vision, and there is another realignment.   That’s Reagan and Obama.

    The GOP is finding its attacks on Obama’s economic policies failing because the GOP is blamed for this crisis.  The attacks on Obama’s ‘pandering’ in foreign policy are failing because of the major foreign policy catastrophes under Bush — people want a President that gets along with the rest of the world.  Support for gay marriage sky rocketed from 33 to 43% in a short time, showing that social conservatives are out of touch.  In time the party will learn that extremism and ideological purity lead to failure in elections.  They will moderate, the Democrats will overreach.   The political pendulum swings, the Republic endures.

    • The failure to nail Obama for his policies is strictly a matter of time.  There just hasn’t been enough suffering for the decisions the Dems are making on our behalf.
      It will come soon enough.  I hate predicting things but this one is as plain as the kangaroo that Dale was talking about a month or so ago. 

      Hop hop hop.

    • Republicans did not over reach during Bush’s term. In fact, Bush goverened as a centrist.

      Even the key issues that make the far left go nuts was bipartisan.

      Patriot Act? The debate was “should the NSA be union?”.

      War? The Donkey Party voted “Yes”

      “Harsh interrogation”? Democrat politicians had no issue with it until they decided to try to turn it to political advantage.

      The fact is that President “No child left behind” and “senior drug bill” and “bank bailout” was acting very much like a moderate.

    • The issue in 2008 looks much like 1976 to me.

      In ’76, we had Ford, a moderate Republican but uninspiring and the guy that pardoned Nixon. We got Carter as a response, then Reagan finally in ’80.

      This is similar; we had 8 years of an uninspiring moderate Republican president, and his Republican follow up was a similar uninspriring moderate. The result was the radical Obama. The key for Republicans will be to find a Reagan for 2012.

    • Scott, just to take one of your points, “gay marriage” wasn’t even a concept until some Queer Theorists invented it at some university, but you consider opposition to it “extremist”?

      You see, Scott, how you can’t get beyond a paragraph without a big cheesy chunk of blarney falling out of your mouth?

  • Several of my above posts lead to to consider why Bush became so unpopular.

    He was hardly far right. His legislation was for the most part moderate. And the key things he supported that the left rails against were things that, at the moment of decision, key Democrats supported as well.

    Perhaps the left hates him because he stayed the course, and continued to push the war in Iraq after it has lost popularity and they felt free to oppose it. Of course, if this is the case he’s really in the right, going forward and winning the war, demonstrating key leadership qualities and courage.

    Perhaps the left hates him simply due to the 2000 election, and they are just a bunch of angry punks.

    Likewise, many conservatives, particularly of the libertarian stripe, were fed up with Bush. His moderate liberal legislation, bailout, Miers nomination, border enforcement failue, etc., cost him the right.

    The middle was war weary, shaken by the financial meltdown (which they didn’t understand and were inclined to blame on the sitting President), and influenced by the MSM.

    The end result was that Bush lost the right, the left, and the middle. What he retained were those loyal to the Party, mostly moderatly conservative Republicans.

    But key to McCain’s loss in 2008 was the fact that he could not count on the right, left or middle for support.

    And it is clear that the Republican Party of 2008 was hardly hard right; Bush effectively was a moderate, McCain even more so. Rudy and Mitt as well. The Republicans very much played to the middle, and were beat by a leftist with a nice voice and decent appearance, and zilch experience.

    • Bush was a moderate conservative. But so was Reagan, to be quite frank.

      And conservatives, at their best, are restorationists: they attempt to restore institutions that liberals harm or even destroy. Like the military or fundamental economic approaches that actually work or foreign policy (I’ve long contended that as the Soviet Union started to teeter in the 80s that had liberals been in command they might have propped it up).

      Liberalism, the modern variety, became a pathology in the U.S. during the 1930s. It was happening earlier than that, but that was when it really flexed itself under FDR. Note the alliance all along through that period with the segregationist South, which was key to maintaining power.

      Liberalism is a sickness that the conservatives never fought hard enough against. I think that Bush made the mistake of starting out a reconciliationist (with the “no child left behind” thing). He thought he was being tougher than his father, but he headed down the same road. Offer the liberals your hand: they bite it off.

      The disgraceful conduct of liberals, and especially this President, during the Iraq war, is something I will never forget. History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farse. Well, this Vietnam antiwar gag was far more farse the second time than I could stand. Repulsive to the extreme.

      Now we have civil war, still cold, but I think headed to hot.

    • It’s hard to categorize Bush because he never had a chance to try to implement his opportunity society.  The Iraq war swallowed his administration whole, limited his domestic opportunities, and ultimately undercut the Republican hold on government.   There is a lot of wishful thinking for Obama’s policies to cause pain, and push the country the other way.  I guess that’s one approach — hope the other guy fails and people will turn to the GOP — who is blamed for the current mess — by default.  Unlikely.  Even if Obama’s plans don’t work, unless the Republicans offer a real alternative – something beyond the red meat base – they’ll remain in the wilderness.  Obama is very much like Reagan.  Reagan was vulnerable early — he had low approval in 1982 and into 1983.  Obama could well face a similar dip.  But I don’t see the GOP having the vision or person who can capitalize on that.  I mean..Palin?  She’s become a joke.  Romney?  Can you say “Republican Mondale.”  I don’t see a vision either.    There is time, but if the GOP continues to be in the hands of the small extremist base, it has no chance.

      • “It’s hard to categorize Bush because he never had a chance to try to implement his opportunity society.  The Iraq war swallowed his administration whole, limited his domestic opportunities,”

        That’s just total nonsense. The Iraq war swallowed media attention, not the Bush administration. That carried on quite steadily.

        Bush was very successful in getting his legislation passed. Very successful. His one great failure was Social Security privatization, which he flubbed badly, very badly. He effectively ended his domestic agenda when he pushed immigration reform against the interests of his own base and thereafter became solely a foreign policy president as he finished out his term, but that came in the second half of his second term.

  • “It’s hard to categorize Bush…”

    And yet you seem to repeatedly accomplish this difficult task. Most impressive.

    The pendulum analogy is nice but limited and not totally accurate.  In the physical world gravity, the force that makes the pendulum work, is constant and predictable. There is no such equivalent in politics.

    If folks are relying on voters voting Rep. just out of sheer revulsion for Dem.’s I think they are going to be disappointed. ‘The lesser of two evils’ motivation only goes so far. There are some, like myself, who are more motivated by the ‘Fool me once,……” and ‘A plague on both your houses’  adages. I do not anticipate that the Rep. ‘leadership’ will come up with anyone more congenial to me than Bush (either one) or McCain, in which case they can KMA, because I am staying home.