Saturday, February 14, 2009

Republican Bunker Mentality

As uncertain as the effects of the stimulus may be, one thing is clear: The Republican Party has chosen clichés for its survival--deers in the headlights, heads in the sand and unity in a bunker to hide from the Obama battle with the destructive economic forces they helped unleash.

As they congratulate themselves on near-unanimity in yesterday's vote, the hairline cracks in GOP solidarity are beginning to show.

Arlen Specter, who breached the party line to support the bill, said before the vote that more Republicans would have joined him if it were not for fear of political consequences.

"When I came back to the cloak room after coming to the agreement a week ago today," said Specter, "one of my colleagues said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' My Republican colleague said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' I said, 'Are you going to vote with me?' And he said, 'No, I might have a primary.' And I said, 'Well, you know very well I'm going to have a primary.'"

Even in the Judd Gregg fiasco, it's clear how much peer pressure played a part in his decision to withdraw as Commerce Secretary after abstaining on the original stimulus vote while preparing for the nomination process.

But the Mitch McConnell-John Boehner Fuehrer feat may have a price tag on it for 2010. As they keep their troops in line, the opinion polls show voters rallying, however fearfully, behind Obama's moves to save the economy and more Republican stalwarts facing re-election trouble.

Even Gregg coupled his act of fealty with an announcement that he won't be running again for the New Hampshire seat.


(O)CT(O)PUS said...

What is different this time, now that power has changed in Washington?

The Republican Party lost moderates and traditional conservatives seats to Democrats in recent election cycles; and the result is a party far more hardcore than it used to be.

These same hardcore wingers now refuse to accept their newfound minority status and are adopting a strategy of obstruction at all costs.

I believe there is a paradigm shift in the making. The labels “conservative” and “liberal” have lost some of their meaning. When moderate conservatives lose seats, or are driven out of the Republican Party and forced to join forces with traditional Democrats, it tells you something about the drift of the GOP amidst changing attitudes of voters.

Collins, Specter, and Snow are the last of the moderates and a dying breed. The rest of the GOP are dissembling, resentful, and angry.

Jill said...

Thanks for this post (from a fellow co-blogger at TMV).

You know, even though I'm left of center, I still feel that Specter, Collins and Snowe have demonstrated what it means to be elected by people from their state and place that first. The elected officials who are decrying and mocking these three senators should be ashamed of themselves. They talk about country first, but clearly, that's not what they're thinking when they mock their fellow senators who did what they had to to do what they needed for their constituents.

How that is not the most loyal and patriotic act, compared to voting no just to vote no is beyond me.