Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlin Specter, Democrat

I see Arlin Specter's changed parties and become a Democrat. And I see the Republicans are again screaming in outrage. They blithely ignore something Arlin noticed: his district was voting more and more Democrat, and less and less Republican. If he'd continued as a Republican, he'd've lost the next primary to a radical conservative opponent who would've gone on to lose that district's Senate seat to a Democrat who'd be much more liberal than Arlin is. Combine that with his statement that he finds more and more that the Republican party has no place for his views (the ones his constituents elected him for, BTW), and it's no wonder he's changing parties.

If the Republicans don't soon start grokking the concept of "Pyrrhic victory", they're going to render themselves a non-player in the political arena. Their shift towards the radical right cost them control of the House in 2006, it cost them control of the Oval Office and very nearly the Senate in 2008, and it's going to cost them the last shreds of control (the filibuster) they have in the Senate in 2010 if they don't change course soon.

Their basic problem is that the majority of conservatives are not religious conservatives, nor "corporate interests above all else" neocons. They aren't opposed, for instance, to unemployment and welfare and the whole "safety net for people in trouble" thing. They look at it as a benefit for themselves too if they happen to get caught in somebody else's mess, say being laid off because the people who run the company they work at were greedy, unprincipled and/or stupid bastards who bankrupted their companies, an assurance that while things will be tight they won't have to worry about putting basic food on the table while they scramble to find a new job. They don't want the government to over-do it to the point where people are better off on the dole than working, but they don't want the government to completely remove the net. And they're getting increasingly fed up with ranting that sounds more and more like that annoying street preacher who won't leave you alone.

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