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Republicans use Bush as a Weapon

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?



  1. Brian wrote:

    The one thing I have not seen anyone connect is Spector’s comments and Rush Limbaugh comments.

    Spector, as I understand it, said that he was changing to the Democratic Party because that is where the people who vote for him are.

    During the Democratic Presidential Primary, Rush Limbaugh told Republican’s to register in the Democratic Party and vote.

    Most of those Republican’s have not switched back. So who’s fault is it that Spector is now a member of the Democratic Party??

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink
  2. *facepalm*

    Elementary school name-calling, nothing more.

    This is the national discourse?

    Trying to stomach this during election season is disturbing enough. No wonder I keep being stuck when writing about rhetorical practice in civil society–it’s not civil. It’s not even “discourse,” really.

    Grow up children. Now.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  3. effis wrote:

    The real irony is that these adverts are supposed to make the senator look bad by his association with Bush – as if anyone connected to Bush now is persona non grata. Talk about the royal stab in the back! One would think that the people who elected Goerge Bush would be in mourning, and saying “if George was in power, things would be better because he would have done this ..” not, “wow I can’t believe we voted for that fucker twice” – even though they are still stridently anti-American (mutinous words against a sitting president, hoping he would fail). What then, nuclear holocaust? They are so driven to separate ‘democrats’ out of their ranks without understanding the meaning of the word ‘democracy’. Last time I checked ‘Republican’ was almost synonymous with ‘Capitalist’ – which, obviously opposite to communism, right China? – has served us so very well and our current economic situation was all just a consipiracy by the socialists.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Permalink