Specter Leaves GOP, Becomes a Democrat
Arlen Specter Leaves the GOP, Becomes a Democrat
Opinion piece by Christian Hine
Arlen Specter finally came out of the closet and announced his decision to join the Democrat Party. The yawns should be deafening given the no-brainer of this situation, however, the web is buzzing and twittering with folks from both sides singing either Conservative praise hymns or Liberal victory chants.
Conservatives, long annoyed at Mr. Specter's propensity for voting with the left on issues ranging from choice to gay rights to multi-billion dollar bailout bills, are simply ecstatic that the GOP has now taken one step closer to the ideological purity they seek.
Liberals on the other hand now see a reversing trend of party switching where they finally get to be on the side gaining membership. For them, the "Obama Revolution" continues to strengthen and the feelings of invulnerability will continue to nudge their way into the liberal psychy. (This is ultimately harmful to them, but they'll have to learn that the hard way.)
I can't say I disagree with the elation felt by the Conservatives, but it comes with a price.
I am a Conservative and I am a person who calls things like I see them. I have no agenda other than my own opinion. For me, having a person like Arlen Specter be a member of the same party that I reluctantly call home is a hard pill to swallow. It creates confusion among people less politically aware. Indeed, how can I claim to believe certain things when others in the same party espouse the exact opposite belief? Someone looking for consistency will tear off their head trying to understand GOP policy. For that reason, I am happy to see Specter leave. It gives the Party a stronger standing to recruit new members as the debate becomes much more black and white.
On the other hand, to my dismay, we are a living under a two party system in this great country. I would love to see this change because there is no way the multitude of political opinion in this country can be expressed with only two categories. The system as it stands is a disgrace to political discourse and only serves to expand the power of the Parties themselves.
With that said, losing a member of "my team" will have consequences. I don't believe that a two party system will ever allow the complete radicalization of either side because they will constantly struggle with the Specters in their midst. In order for either side to win elections and gain the power they seek, they must appeal to the middle ground because neither the hard core Liberals nor the hard core Conservatives have enough followers to ever become dominant on their own.
What happens though is that by giving up our moderates to the other side, it only strengthens their ability to elect and enact more liberal policy. It's a numbers game that has moved us from the center-right to the center-left and we are worse off because of it.
Again, I wish for the conservative utopia and will forever fight for the candidates I believe will take us there...especially in primaries. However, once the primary dust settles, and as long as we are stuck with a two party system, losing membership doesn't do us any favors. We'll get to rightly claim a purer agenda, but that will not lead us to success at the ballot box and will not help to implement Conservative policy over the long term.
Case in point... I place blame on purists who wouldn't vote for McCain in the general election for the victory of Obama. Shouting fire while the village burns won't smother the flames. Grab a bucket and do something about it already.