Late last month, Republican Senator Arlen Specter announced he was switching from a Republican to a Democrat. His reasons for abandoning his party are not necessarily the reasons why most conservatives have abandoned the GOP as of late. He talked at length about how he is “becoming more comfortable with the Democrat’s approach” and “increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy.”(1) Later, he went on to say how the Republican party has gone too far right then when he started back in 1980. Many feel, myself included, the Republican party has gone too far to the left and is losing elections because they have become the “Democrat light” party.
The left has wasted no time driving home the Republicans are dead, and this is the nails in the coffin for a battered and already badly beaten party. Many Democrats are seeing this as a reason to celebrate. Democrats and socialists believe this is a crushing blow to the party and ensures Democratic rule for many years to come. After being one of only a few Republicans invited to Obama’s Super Bowl party, Specter has challenged his party by granting a key vote on the most recent spending bill. He crossed party lines once more, only this time, he will cross party lines for good. Specter broke from the GOP to support a massive spending bill no conservative in their right mind would support. Many agree things cannot get any worse for the GOP.
I personally see this move in a very different light. I do not want, nor will I ever want Arlen Specter’s support on anything pertaining to the country I so dearly love. I feel much more comfortable today knowing Specter is a Democrat, rather than being disappointed by his surprise liberal vote. This move does not damage the party; to the contrary, it will only strengthen it. Specter represents exactly what is wrong with this party. In the past, when reelection came up, Specter was there to tell the moderates and conservatives exactly what they wanted to hear. He would campaign fighting for fiscal responsibility and other moderate/conservative initiatives. Every election cycle, the voters in Pennsylvania took the long time Senator at his word only to be disappointed time and time again.
His vote for the massive spending bill was the last straw. Recent polls showed Specter was trailing a more conservative GOP opponent, Toomey, by over 21 points. Specter may have fooled his conservative voters for the last time as many have come out against him and thrown their support behind the more conservative challenger. Specter was in jeopardy of losing his seat to a true conservative for the first time in many years. So what does Arlen Specter do? He turns around and becomes a Democrat, the team many believe Specter has been playing for all along.
The loss of Specter does not come without consequences. Specter will be the 59th vote and if Al Franken holds on, as many think he will, it will bring the Democrats up to the magic number of 60. Many question the timing of this change knowing this majority was in place. Fellow conservatives, the loss of Specter is not a bad thing at all, rather it is a good thing. This means perhaps the Republican Party is starting to move in the right direction. In my opinion, there is a lot more work that needs to be done before this party can be a conservative alternative again, but steps like this are encouraging and necessary. I encourage anyone else in our government who is currently a Republican today to please take long look at the Democratic philosophy. If you find you line up with more government solutions, excessive spending, and “spreading the wealth around,” then by all means, please jump to the other side while the Democratic Party is popular and in control. Republicans-in-name-only (A.K.A. RINOS) have been what has killed this party for so many years. I would rather throw my support behind a few true conservatives and know how they will stand on issues like healthcare, defense, energy, and the free market. If we cannot count on RINOS to remain with their party at a time when the Democrats are a couple of seats away from 60, then how can we count on them to stop provisions like socialized medicine? What in the world can we count on them for? Better yet, why should conservatives even vote for people like this?
Big government policies and excessive spending have been tried by other countries and have failed. More government solutions in America will also fail, and when they do, perhaps the Republicans will be there to steer the ship right like they did in 1994. If the Republican Party does not straighten up and stand for the things most conservatives want, there will be another party to represent the majority of Americans who still consider themselves conservative in one way or another. Brace yourselves we may lose a couple more before it is all said and done, but the loss of liberal Republicans is no loss at all if this party is serious about becoming a conservative alternative.