4.28.2009

Curiously bummed out

Well, I certainly didn't see this coming:
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on Tuesday he would switch to the Democratic party, presenting Democrats with a possible 60th vote and the power to break Senate filibusters as they try to advance the Obama administration’s new agenda.
From his statement:
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.
I don't for one minute think that his move is primarily philosophical, and suspect (like Josh Marshall and Marc Ambinder) that it has everything to do with the prospect of his getting his buttocks summarily handed to him in a Republican primary. With people migrating to the Democratic party in Pennsylvania, that leaves the die-hard true believers to vote in the primary, and Specter's vote in favor of the stimulus package was probably the last nail in the coffin of their support.

Assuming that Al Franken eventually gets seated (at the current pace, roughly around the time that plate tectonics smooshes the continents back together again), this will give the Democrats the Holy Grail of congressional politics, the filibuster-proof 60-vote majority (cue angelic choir). While Specter seems determined to stay feisty (sort of... maybe), this doesn't bode well for the GOP's ability to obstruct the Democratic agenda.

You'd think I'd be happy about this, but I'm surprisingly ambivalent. Here's Maine's own Olympia Snowe:
"I've always been deeply concerned about the views of the Republican Party nationally in terms of their exclusionary policies and views towards moderate Republicans," said Snowe, who has been approached, she said, by Democrats in the past about switching parties.

[snip]

"I believe in the traditional tenets of the Republican Party: strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, individual opportunity. I haven't abandoned those principles that have been the essence of the Republican Party. I think the Republican Party has abandoned those principles."
I've said it before, but I'll repeat myself. It does the country no good when one party holds all the power and the other party seems hell-bent on shooting itself in the foot. While I am proudly and contentedly liberal, there are conservative perspectives that bear consideration, and it's good for the country to have intelligent checks on any agenda, lest it get carried away with itself. That the GOP seems content to be represented by lunatics, incompetents, buffoons, Dark Lords of the Sith and worse bodes poorly for both its own prospects and those of a healthy two-party system.

Update:  Seriously, GOP.  Would you please shut this awful woman up?

2 comments:

  1. I agree with Ms. Snowe. The basics are strong defense, fiscal responsibility, and individual opportunity. Those are things that are scarce in DC these days.

    I agree with Dan that it does no good for one party to hold all the power. At the moment, neither party is behaving well. The GOP are big-spending, arrogant, power-hungry pols. The Dems are lying, big-spending, arrogant, power-hungry pols. Both parties are eager to sell out US citizens if it means a extra dime goes to their campaign pals.

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  2. It's astounding to me that Bachmann actually holds office. She's barking mad. I find myself shaking my head at the whole of Congress fairly often, but she can't open her mouth without sounding crazier than she did the last time.

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