Arlen Specter, Welcome Aboard!
The Republican “Big Tent” got a bit smaller today. The party managed to drive away Arlen Specter, who’s served as a Republican Senator for 29 years. Maybe alienating longtime members is a GOOD thing. The Republicans sure have been working at it.
It might take awhile for Arlen Specter to get used to his new surroundings; a new culture. So much to learn: a political opponent is not an “Enemy” who needs to be “Destroyed.” If somebody disagrees over a political issue, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this person burns American flags in his spare time and can’t wait for the next terrorist attack.
Democrats may not be any less petty or spiteful than Republicans. Joe Lieberman got called plenty of names when he voted with Republicans. But I don’t recall anyone accusing Lieberman of “hating America” or being “with the terrorists.”
On the other hand, Specter’s party switch has already been described as “a threat to the country” by Mitch “Still Searching For My Chin” McConnell.
People’s reactions to the party switch have been predictable. The Left is ecstatic. The Right is spewing out nicknames as fast as they can dream them up. Arlen Sphincter and Benedict Arlen are two of the more printable names I’ve seen on the Neanderthal end of the blogosphere.
But Arlen Specter’s switch is a symptom more than anything else. If the Republican Party doesn’t want to go the way of the Whigs and the Tories, they need to look at themselves and try to figure out why a high-ranking 29-year member of their party would defect to the other side.
The most visible (and LOUDEST) Republicans are basically a bunch of tiny-minded misogynistic bigoted assholes. If the party wants to be represented by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich, they’re headed for oblivion.
For the moment, it’s great to watch the Party of Bush-Cheney-Rove coming apart at the seams. But we need two viable parties. If the Democrats get too entrenched, they’ll end up just as corrupt and power-crazed as the Republicans were during Bush’s second term. And nobody will benefit from that.
Believe it or not, when the CIA was first created after World War II (it had a different name then), the loudest objections came from conservative Republicans. They were appalled at the thought of a government agency having that much power and secrecy. Sixty years later, look at what that party has mutated into.
cross-posted at Bring It On!