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GOP Spine Needs to Stiffen in Spite of Specter Switch ^ | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Matt Kibbe

Posted on 04/29/2009 5:15:47 PM PDT by Delacon

Arlen Specter’s announcement this week of his plans to switch to the Democrat side of the aisle is sending shockwaves throughout the country.

No one is surprised as to the motives behind the defection, as Pennsylvania conservatives’ ire over Senator Specter and his big government leanings are very well-known. These tensions were headed to a breaking point in advance of Specter’s 2010 re-election bid and the switch was necessary to keep his hopes of political survival alive. It is in how the GOP responds to this bombshell however that will dictate its impact on the future of the conservative limited government movement.

Staring down the barrel of the immediate policy consequences of the Specter switch will give freedom-loving conservatives a good deal of heartburn. Specter will work to endear himself to his new party and their march toward the Obama agenda of big government. Socialized medicine, a massive carbon cap-and-trade tax hike, union-empowering card check legislation: all these liberal policy wish-list items now have new life. A sixty-vote margin in the Senate is now guaranteed to beat back the threat of a conservative filibuster against any of these proposals and many on the Right, to include myself, are worried about this newly strengthened Democratic steamroller paving America’s way towards socialism.

Surely many in the conservative soft-middle are already preparing their arguments for why it’s important for the GOP to come closer to the center (i.e. the Left). Some Republicans in Congress will reason that they must acquiesce to the Democrats on much of the policy agenda to have any hope of slipping in modest wins for conservative constituencies. Those more obsessed with power will seek this same approach in order to benefit their status on key committees and ensure the survival of pet projects for their districts and states. Certainly we will be able to depend on a core of rock-solid conservative champions like Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn in the Senate and Republican Study Committee Members in the House, but their ability to keep the GOP rooted in good, limited government principles will be significantly weakened by the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” crowd.

Anticipating this latest crisis of conscience that Congressional Republicans will go through let me suggest that, in this political game of “chicken,” we shouldn’t turn first.

The strategy of cozying up to the liberal machine and hoping for the occasional table scrap was that of the content Republican minority during the early nineties in the days before the Contract with America. Fortunately, bold leaders like Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich chose not to buckle. They held Republicans together, took the fight directly to Democrats, and by standing on limited government, free market policy they were rewarded by the American electorate politically with control of Congress in 1994.

Consider too the fact that in today’s political environment, and despite the President’s perceived “rock star” status, Democrats have greatly resisted wholly owning the Obama agenda thus far. The fight over the trillion dollar stimulus plan in January was an early indicator. Pelosi, Reid, and Obama all spent a lot of time tinkering with language in the legislation in an effort to court some Congressional Republicans from the squishy center and claim the mantle of bipartisanship. Those efforts failed as almost every Republican (only three defections, all in the Senate, including the new Democrat Specter) stood together in voting against the bloated stimulus bill.

Now the larger health care debate has begun and Democrats have neatly worked a safety-valve into the budget resolution passed this week that will allow them to enact a government-run health care scheme through the reconciliation process, requiring only 51 votes. Nevertheless, that Democrat leaders are bending over backwards to show they would rather do it in a bipartisan way through the more rigorous regular-order process of achieving a 60-vote threshold is notable. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is leading a chorus of voices on the Left sounding the strong desire not to invoke reconciliation in order to pass health care legislation, even though they could, through numerous statements and a host of communications with the Republican conference.

Don’t let the touchy-feely nature of their bipartisan overtures fool you. Just like with the stimulus bill Democrats are afraid of being tagged with the political responsibility for their own party’s reform approach and want some Republican by-in for cover. What else could the reason be? If they whole-heartedly believed in the policy they were peddling they would proudly push it through on their own, even without the help of their caucus’ new member from Pennsylvania.

Those plotting the GOPs return to power should consider this in the wake of the Specter switch and take a lesson from Armey, Gingrich, and others that chose to go Right and actually won in spite of pressure to play ball.

TOPICS: Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: 111th; arlenspecter; gop; rebuilding; resolve
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1 posted on 04/29/2009 5:15:48 PM PDT by Delacon
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To: Delacon

2 posted on 04/29/2009 5:16:38 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: Delacon

Snowe needs to be encouraged to leave as well. Sounds like she’ll be tagging the hate crimes bill with the “bipartisan” label when it gets to the senate.

3 posted on 04/29/2009 5:19:12 PM PDT by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
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To: Delacon
In spite of??? The only people lauding Specter are the DNC and the DNC/MSM.

Specter revealing his true colors is a cause for celebration.

4 posted on 04/29/2009 5:19:52 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: Delacon

Specter is total wuss............who needs him. We have the passion and the Way, the Truth and the Light. Respect for LIFE is the first step. Put it in God’s hands and fight.

5 posted on 04/29/2009 5:20:03 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: Delacon

I don’t think the media understands that a lot of Republicans are glad Spector switched sides. He sure wasn’t doing the Republicans any good. Of course, not many Republicans are doing the party any good. We just need a true conservative party.

6 posted on 04/29/2009 5:22:05 PM PDT by nobama08
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To: Delacon
What is needed is likely a new party
The Republicans are self destructing

A better party would be the Liberty Party
Dedicated to the support and defense of Liberty

It's Big Tent is

and Capitalists

No laws shall be enacted that
restrict the Liberty of the Individual
except as dictated by Natural Law

7 posted on 04/29/2009 5:22:55 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: cripplecreek

and Collins ...

8 posted on 04/29/2009 5:23:47 PM PDT by jamaksin
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To: nobama08
We just need a true conservative party.

Agreed. I feel the Republican party is trying hard to distance itself from it's Christian members, so as to be the Thrifty Atheist party. I'm pretty tired of feeling like a political outcast because I believe in Jesus. If there was a party that basically held to what the Founding Fathers had in mind, I'd be all for it, especially if it had a shot as a legitimate 3rd party.

9 posted on 04/29/2009 5:25:32 PM PDT by
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To: Delacon
Things always change. This is definitely the latest sign of weakness, but the momentum will turn in time. Not now. That's for sure. IMO, the biggest barometer will be Rhambo. When he weakens, we will see a change in momentum.


10 posted on 04/29/2009 5:25:48 PM PDT by Thebaddog (Obama really did believe that stuff he was saying during the campaign)
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To: All

If Specter ever earned a B.A. it could have stood for Benedict Arnold! How appropriate that he wants to serve under a President whose rule in the White House reminds one of Proverbs 19:10 (NIV) which says “It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury - how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!”

11 posted on 04/29/2009 5:26:37 PM PDT by Lounor (Specter and Slaves!)
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To: Delacon
For Mr. Specter the Government teet is too sweet to let slip away by a bunch of Conservative primary constituents!
12 posted on 04/29/2009 5:27:19 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: HangnJudge
Third Party strategies are for people who ENJOY defeat.

Third Party strategies will NOT win!

You will not be able to get a SINGLE member of Congress elected from ANY Third Party.

All you will do is:

Elect Liberal Democrats by dividing the VOTE!

There is no way that ANY Party can be created, that can avoid the problems inherent in ALL political parties.

The Third Party strategy does not solve ANYTHING!

The Third Party strategy CREATES problems, and solves nothing.

13 posted on 04/29/2009 5:29:18 PM PDT by Kansas58
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To: Delacon
pressure to play ball.

We need to puncture the ball. They want us to take the path of least resistance like they want the public to do.

This government is making a serious run on ownership of the public.

14 posted on 04/29/2009 5:29:37 PM PDT by oyez (To the extent veterans read it as an accusation -- and apology is owed(i.e. not given))
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To: nobama08
We just need a true conservative party.

I challenge you to make one.

When is last time you interviewed your legislative district's candidates that were seeking your line on the ballot?

I don't mean to excoriate you personally as much as everyone just reading your post and sitting there saying yeah that's what we need,without doing anything to make it so.

15 posted on 04/29/2009 5:30:28 PM PDT by Kudsman (Thou Shalt Not Steal - Government hates the competition.)
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To: Delacon

The OP(formerly the GOP)lost its Conservative spine long ago in order to expand the voter base. Trying to hang onto a party that has increasingly accepted socialist principles is the political version of battered wife syndrome.

16 posted on 04/29/2009 5:30:34 PM PDT by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it!)
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To: Delacon
Just a reminder.

Specter was swept into office in the first Reagan landslide.

Reagan, himself, made no effort to run him out of the party.

17 posted on 04/29/2009 5:30:52 PM PDT by Cedric
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If you do not have the numbers to control the Republican Party, at the local level, how in the heck will you ever have the numbers to control your State, or the Nation, with any “Third Party”?

Third Parties are for those who enjoy defeat.

18 posted on 04/29/2009 5:30:55 PM PDT by Kansas58
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To: Man50D


Those who insist on a “Third Party” strategy are usually egomaniacs that do not know how to work in large groups.

Those who insist on “Third Party” strategies would rather have a small room, or a basement, where everyone in your “group” agrees with YOU -—

Rather than actually get something accomplished:


19 posted on 04/29/2009 5:33:35 PM PDT by Kansas58
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To: Kansas58
Third Party strategies are for people who ENJOY defeat.
Very well, then

Damn IT!

20 posted on 04/29/2009 5:33:57 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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