Monday, November 08, 2004

The Arlen Specter Debate

Arlen Specter is a liberal Republican. He was opposed in the primaries by a very conservative opponent. The President backed the reelection of Senator Specter, choosing to go with the safe bet for reelection rather than the long shot Pat Toomey. This upset many conservative Republicans who felt that the President somehow betrayed his values or the values of the conservative base. Senator Specter won reelectioon as expected and is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. After reelection, Senator Specter answered a question posed by an AP reporter who just happened to be the wife of former Campaign manager Jim Jordan. It was reported that he warned the President on his Supreme Court choices. Senator Spector denied that he warned the President about anything.

Even still many conservatives are calling for his head, stating that he should not be the chair of the Judiciary Committee, wanting to throw him overboard for a more conservative Senator. It is true that Specter led the fight AGAINST Robert Bork, but he has not opposed a single nominee that President Bush has put forward. Nonetheless, conservatives, led by the insular to a negative degree conservatives at The Corner at The National Review, want to "Bork" Specter.

The movement to push Specter aside is short-sighted and quite frankly typical of conservatives. In the recall election in California, the same conservatives that want Specter out were willing to risk having a very liberal candidate win the election because they insisted on supporting a very conservative Republican that had no chance of winning over a liberal Republican that could (and did) win. This is the same type of mentality that leads people to vote for a Libertarian or Green Party candidate. In either case the person drains votes away from the major party candidate who shares most of their beliefs, therefore increasing the chance that the opposing party candidate, who most likely shares none of their beliefs, will win.

This mentality also pushes more moderate people away from the party. A moderate Democrat who has started to believe that the Democratic Party has gone too far left and is contemplating a party switch will be turned away by the smash mouth, no compromising position of those on the far right.

If the Republican Party has a problem it is that a certain percentage of the party has no idea how to nurture or sustain a majority. Just when the party starts to have the chance to maintain majority status for an extended period of time the, "your not as pure a conservative as me", crowd scares them away.

The best scenario is that Specter assumes the position of chairman, makes an agreement with Republicans that he will not block any nominee from getting an up or down vote, and Republicans present a strong, united front.

Will the hard liners at The Corner back down? Probably not. They will push their views to the bitter end, no matter the damage it does to the party as a whole. Quite frankly, they need to look up from thier computer screens occasionally and see the bigger picture.

I personally have very conservative values, and disagree with many of Arlen Specter's positions, but sometimes you have to be willing to take one for the team in the short run in order to accomplish long term objectives.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.