So more than 200,000 Pennsylvania Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, leave the GOP and become Democrats, and what this signifies is a big, continuing rejection of the far left and liberalism.
That’s U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s illogical take on the current condition of his Republican Party. As the last person on board, he’s going down with the GOP ship, spouting inanities and looking to a past he must surely romanticize in these difficult times for Republicans. It’s a spectacle.
Here’s what Inhofe contributed to The New York Times recently in a discussion about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay military members.
There is no evidence more visible that the American people are already rebelling against the far-left agenda than Senator Arlen Specter switching parties to become a Democrat. He did this for one reason, and that is his advisers told him he couldn’t retain his Senate seat as a Republican. In other words, the same people who supported Senator Specter six years ago have soundly rejected him today.
That, my friends, sounds like 1994. The extreme liberal agenda is not sellable to the American people. Just wait and see.
So, in other words, the Republican Party, by all measurable indications, is going through an extremely tough, losing time, but Inhofe thinks it all means an overall rejection of the “extreme liberal agenda.” (Note also the McCain-like “my friends” in the piece as well.)
Let’s deal with some reality here. This is not 1994. This is 2009, and the country has just gone through a dark, miserable time under the worst president in the nation’s history. This president, George Bush, was a Republican, and he was enthusiastically supported by his Republican Party and, until the very end, by the right-wing cable cabal, including the GOP’s own propaganda ministry, Fox News, which supports Republicans.
The county is bogged down with two military occupations and faces its deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression because of Republicans and Republican ideology. The Republican Party is the party of torture and illegal wiretapping. It has no new ideas, and only clings to a “small-government” past it soundly repudiated during the Bush years.
So, in response, rational people started to leave the GOP in droves both officially and in spirit, and politicians, such as Specter, saw there was no way to win general elections by capturing only the dwindling number of angry, ultra-conservative Republicans who will determine the outcome of certain primary elections. Right now, for example, only about 20 percent of people identify as Republicans. As I mentioned before, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania switched their party affiliation to Democrat last year.
This is what Specter had to say about the GOP:
As the Republican Party has moved farther and farther to the right, I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party.
The Republican Party, movement conservatism and neoconservatism may be thriving here in Oklahoma, but the GOP has made itself almost a nonentity on the national level, and all the demographics point to its dismal future. The GOP stands against social and cultural progress. It has proven itself, under Bush, to be fiscally irresponsible and reckless in foreign policy. It has diminished itself and its past principles with an intrusive and religious social agenda.
This is a shame. The country always needs vigorous political debates between parties. Inhofe’s weird take on the issue is just another example of how the GOP continues to be stifled and, perhaps, even destroyed by its most conservative members. Until the GOP on the national level disavows Inhofe’s philosophies, positions and logic, it will continue to lose voters. When the national GOP does come back from oblivion, and the Republican Party will come back, it will be a more centrist party, and we will have, once again, redefined terms such as “liberal” and “conservative” and “moderate.”
Meanwhile, Oklahoma will remain frozen in time—a dusty museum of dead, right-wing ideologies—until the diminishing state corporate media, locked in its own case of weird unlogic, finally decides it needs to save itself from a complete financial collapse by truly and consistently promoting rational and forward-thinking leadership in the state and by embracing a big-tent policy in its news coverage and opinions.