This one really makes my head spin. The Republicans seem to have found those WMDs that they had been looking for so hard.
A few days ago, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter stunned everyone by switching parties (leading to puns such as the Politico headline “GOP is Specter of its old self“). The former moderate Republican claimed that his grand old party had moved too far to the right in a state where 200,000 voters have switched from Republican to Democrat in the past few years.
But here’s the crazy bit (MSNBC calls it a “doozy”). The National Republican Senatorial Committee has started running robo-calls in Pennsylvania trying to hurt Specter by (believe it or not) linking him to President Bush and to Republican positions. The call says it is to “help you welcome your newest Democrat Senator, Arlen Specter.”
ANNOUNCER: We wanted to make sure that we properly introduced him to you. Former President George W. Bush said this about Arlen Specter:
PRESIDENT BUSH: I’m here to say it as plainly as I can, Arlen Specter is the right man for the United States Senate. I can count on this man – see that’s important. He’s a firm ally when it matters most. I’m proud to tell you I think he’s earned another term as the United States Senator.
What’s next? Endorsements from Sarah Palin while turkeys are slaughtered in the background? Invitations to hunting trips from Dick Cheney?
The Republicans have even created a website for Arlen Specter showing videos of Specter being a Republican! Oh My! That’s sure to make him unpopular!
What’s even more bizarre is that many of the remaining few Republicans (now down to 22%) seem to be cheering his departure, and want to get rid of all surviving moderate Republicans, including John McCain, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, and even Lindsay Graham (they don’t seem to have a problem with Michelle Bachmann). As Specter puts it, “They don’t make any bones about their willingness to lose the general election if they can purify the party.”
Rush Limbaugh declared “Well, Specter, take McCain with you. … It’s ultimately good. You’re weeding out people who aren’t really Republican.” Yes, ideological purity is much more important than, say, actually listening to those pesky voters. And as a reader points out, ironically it was Limbaugh who encouraged Republicans to switch parties so they could vote in the Democratic primary — did he realize that many of them wouldn’t see any need to switch back?
My question is, was the robo-call sour grapes, or is the GOP just trying to dramatically demonstrate why Specter decided to leave them?