Now we have two Democrats in PA

by Sal on November 8, 2006

in Politics

Arlen Specter is a fool. He has totally misunderstood the meaning of this election, and wants to drive the Republicans into further electoral irrelevance by having the party move to the left. From an AP story today:

Sen. Arlen Specter, the moderate conscience of Pennsylvania Republicans, on Wednesday urged the party to re-evaluate its priorities in the wake of nationwide election losses and called for a more progressive agenda that changes the strategy in Iraq and puts more emphasis on education and health care at home.

In addition to the war, which he called a key factor in the losses of fellow Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum and others, Specter said his party will have to become “a lot more progressive and a lot less ideological.”

This is just what we need to do. Become clones of the Democrats. That’ll differentiate us in the 2008 election.

The wrong Senator from Pennsylvania was defeated last night.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

rightonoz November 8, 2006 at 8:34 pm

I guess most of us saw the result comming. Even from down here it looked like a given.

I hope this is not a portent of things to come in next year’s Aussie elections. The last thing we need are the hard left Labor in power – You think Dems are lefties, the Labor party make the dems look like hard right fanatics.

The war was always going to be a big factor. I believe even more firmly it was the wrong one at the wrong time and Bush backed himself into a corner of repeating the same jargon over and over. The people got sick of the We’re strong on terror lingo with no signs of progress.

I don’t know if I totally agree on the comments in other posts about the Reps going back to a hard conservative base. Yes, there are many areas where they can and should, however anyone not at the top of the heap wants to know that there will be a government that put effort into making their life liveable. Not talking mass handouts, but a good education system for all parts of the spectrum, good health system etc.

I do have concern as is happening down here that there is an ultra conservative neo religeous movement taking far too much power. When it gets that hard line there is no chance of co-operative government for the common good, and the US system is better at most at being able to accomplish that with the ability of House members to vote according to their beliefs and not toe a party line at all times.

I also don’t agree with the post about Bush appeasing the Dems in Congress etc. Regardless of what we think about Clinton, there was more good legislation got through when he and the Rep houses worked together in the last few years. Bush can do that and stay true to conservative values. There is the possibility of the parties working together. Ok neither side gets all they want but the country can benefit. All it takes is for neither party to be totally hidebound by ideology. Republicans do have to make certain they make a large noise about those things that will get their support base going in 08, however they can also win votes by beeing seen to work for the country, not just themselves.

Final thoughts, there needs to be a ruthless clean out of any hint of corruption, campaign finances and pork barrel politics between now and 08 so that conservatives can again take the moral high ground. Pushing positive legislation and letting the Dems stand in the way at their peril.

Otherwise gird your loins guys, it will be ‘she…’ as your next President – Now that’s a scary thought!


Sal November 9, 2006 at 9:08 am

RightOnOz, I agree on some points and disagree with other points that you make. I think our definitions of Conservatism and Ideology differ. Conservatism and Ideology is a philosophy of governing and government, while partisanship is loyalty to a particular political party for the sake of loyalty. Conservatives do not believe that the safety net should be done away with, nor that health care and education are unimportant. Conservatives believe in solutions to these problems that empower the individual. We believe that our educational system is in need of serious reform to bring it into the 21st century; we believe that the Health Care system is in need of reform that empowers the individual. Where we differ from liberals is that we feel that government buerocracies are not the answer and cause more problems than they are worth, and that Government should enable individuals and creative solutions, not dictate a system. It is not ideology that is dangerous and loses elections, it is partisanship. Going back to the hard conservative base means controlling spending, lowering taxes, reforming government buerocracies, controlling illegal immigration, enforcing the rule of law, etc. I totally agree with the comments on corruption and pork-barrel politics. That is one of the big things that the Conservative base was disgusted with.

Finally, on Iraq; I believe it was the right war at the right time, but it was not and is still not being fought effectively. THe initial wave was sheer brilliance from a point of military strategy, but the aftermath of the initial wave has not been going nearly as quickly or well as it could, due to politically-correct concerns. The war should be fought more decisively to put an end to it, and allow us to turn our attention to other threats such as Iran and North Korea.


rightonoz November 9, 2006 at 8:27 pm


Thanks for the illumination. You always get to the point. The problem as I see it with leaving it to the individual is that those at the very bottom are often incapable of helping themselves without substantial government interferance for many reasons, educational opportunity included.

As with you, I wish that we could find a way to reduce significantly the level of government involvement. 50% of our budget in Australia (which runs in surplus) is spent on Social Security expenses. I fully believe in a fair safety net, however fully support the government in trying to force the 4% unemployed to get off their arses and accept work as I believe at 4% you’re approaching just those who don’t want to work as the unemployed (I know there are very real exceptions to that)

Here’s one that will amuse/horify you – we give a $3000 payout to anyone having a baby – INCLUDING SOLO MOTHERS. Guess which group is popping out babies at an ever increasing rate. It was meant to help increase the birth rate as it had dropped too low, however the people who should be encouraged are those who don’t do it for the payout, so all we’re doing is increasing the birth rate in Slutsville and amoungst the determined to remain unemployed.

On Iraq, we will disagree as I totally agree with you on Saddam’s evil, but then I can give you a list of 8-10 equally evil governments with the only difference appearing to be their lack of oil (I know cynical). I stand by my previous comments that I would have far rather we kept our guys primed and world opinion on our side to take on Iran and NK now, before it’s too late.

I do agree with you on the intitial conduct of the war, but then we totally dropped the ball in not securing all the weapons in the first weeks and as you point out since then it’s not been handled well.


Sal November 10, 2006 at 4:58 pm

Always good to hear from you. You provide a nice outside-USA perspective that is welcome, even if we don’t always agree 100%.

I think we all can agree that there is a portion of the population incapable of helping themselves for whatever reason, and that government has an interest in helping those people. However, there is no denying that a large portion of the population on welfare or other such social programs because of a cycle of depenndence that is never broken. Welfare reform of 1996, one of the great sucesses of the now lame-duck Republican majority, did just that. It emphasized empowering the individual, and teaching them skills, as well as setting limits with rare exceptions. The result? Unemployment reached record lows and continues to reach record lows today, and more people are coming off the welfare rolls every year. The problem with the mother-program in Austrailia, which I’m sure you see, is that when you encourage the poor to have babies by virtue of a handout, they keep coming back for more! Conservatism wants the poor single mother to do well; we don’t want starving children or homeless families. But we want to lift them out of poverty, not perpetuate their state by giving a constant handout and assurance of an ever-present “safety net”. A safety net can quickly become a crutch. Help them so they can help themselves, and you’ve achieved a much more noble result.

As far as Iraq, my reason for wanting to go into Iraq had and still has less to do with Sadaam or WMD’s than the strategic value of Iraq. Yes, Sadaam was an evil guy who was a stated enemy of the U.S.. He also had dealings with terrorist groups and even Al Quaida (although not 9/11). So morally I feel it is justified to remove him on those grounds.

On the practical level, your argument that it would have been better to focus resources on other threats is certainly a valid argument, but I think that going into Iraq had a strategic location value. Iraq, situated between Syria and Iran, theoretically allowed for us to cut off the two from each other and provide a staging ground into either. If done properly, it could also have cut of Hezbullah from receiving arms supplies. However, that strategy has become ineffective as the war has been fought with kids gloves instead of an iron fist. In any case, anything but a victory now would be disasterous, which is what worries me will happen if some of the Democrats get their way.


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