Arlen Specter switched parties today, and I’m far from shocked. Given that he has little chance of winning the Republican Primary it is little wonder that he officially crossed the aisle. However the reality is that Arlen had crossed that aisle long ago. Senator Specter chose to blame the right wing of his former party for his troubles. This further played into the narrative that the Republican Party somehow needs to water down and move closer to the Democratic Party. I couldn’t disagree more.
Arlen Specter isn’t unelectable within the Republican Party because they’ve shifted to the right. He’s unelectable because he’s a Democrat. He is socially progressive and fiscally progressive. He, along with two other Republican Senators crossed the aisle and voted to support Obama’s massive stimulus package that ballooned the size of the Federal Government and the debt. The Republican Party cannot win elections that way. We have to offer a real alternative to the Democratic Party. This means a focus on fiscal conservatism.
The Republicans did not challenge Arlen Specter because we’ve shifted further to the right. He was challenged because he has nothing in common with the Republican Party and everything in common with the Democrats. Senator Lindsey Graham took it upon himself to site the supposed shift to the right as the reason the Republican Party needs to turn course and become a bigger tent. He cited Tom Ridge as a great candidate for Pennsylvania and he’s right … on one count. The Party does need to make fiscal issues the primary focus, be less dogmatic concerning some social issues, and support candidates like Tom Ridge. However Arlen Specter does not belong in the party, because he isn’t like Tom Ridge.
Senator Specter is not a fiscal conservative. He supported big government at every turn and he is no longer somebody that I want in this party. Those who actively try to increase the size and scope of government have nothing in common with the Republican Party and, in my opinion, do not belong. If I’m left with the choice of the Republican Party of big spending and the Democratic Party of bigger spending, I’m no longer going to feel like I have a real choice. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal of Ron Paul on domestic issues. Unlike many Republicans he practices what they only preach.
The Republican Party has two choices. They can attempt to become like the Democratic Party and, when things turn south for the Democrats, leave the American people with no real alternative. Or, the Republican Party can make a return to Federalism and fiscal conservatism the centerpiece of their party. The later results in electoral success, while the former leads to the eventual death of the Republican Party.
Some want to focus on the media critiques of the Republican’s and attempt to appease them by further betraying our principles. Those individuals would be wise to remember that the main stream media has been no friend to the Republican Party. Like John McCain, they will only find heartache if they follow that path the media lays for them. We are the party of Reagan and Goldwater. We can win elections if we start acting like it. If we continue to be the party of Nixon and Bush (during his last two years in office), we will remain a minority party indefinitely.