Sunday, May 3, 2009

GOP Big Tent/Small Tent

Specter of Change:

"No one knows why the chicken crossed the road, but why Arlen Specter crossed the aisle to the Democrats is a matter of rather less mystery, if intense debate. The why is quite simple: Free-range Republican, he was about to lose next year's Pennsylvania primary by a large margin, a problem he solved by changing his voter pool. But it was the how that is rather more pertinent: He was under attack from conservatives in his own party, opening questions less of whether the good and the best can be enemies than of whether removing the mediocre turns out to be worth it when the result is the worst of all worlds."


  1. As to whether the GOP should be a catch all for all conservatives, be it a centimeter right all the way down to the Rush Limbaughs of the world, I think the GOP has to cater more to the middle ground. Obviously the median voter theory presents ample evidence to support this statement. Now the question is how to handle the far right wing of the party. Do they castigate and frown upon Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh or should they welcome them with open arms?

    I think a happy middle ground would suffice. The GOP should accept that they do have these extreme right wingers in the party, yet should cautiously approach their comments and quarrels. As I stated in an earlier post, I personally think the GOP should not be cow towing to social conservatives any longer, yet I think these people provide a solid base of the Republican party. This is a tough situation as it is hard to strike a middle ground on tough social issues like abortion and gay marriage. But, in large part the GOP should be shifting themselves toward the middle of the political spectrum.

    Jake V

  2. I agree with Jake V. I was watching a news program a month or so ago (I think it actually was Daily Show or Colbert Report....) and Senator John McCain's daughter was on the show. She talked about how she felt that the Republican party is simply turning away party members and potential voters with their acceptance of only very conservative ideas. Though she strongly considered herself to be a Republican, she condemned socially conservative ideas such as abstinence only sex education. I completely agree that the GOP needs to be more inclusive in their views and not essentially force people to either leave the party or vote democrat. They are digging their own hole in my opinion and people like Senator John McCain's daughter is what the party needs to come back strong, not Governor Sarah Palin...

    Luke D

  3. I agree with the two above comments, and I believe this article is a great reminder about what the purpose of political parties actually is. They are meant to be a way of consolidating the incredibly diverse spectrum of political thought that exists in a population. I think the author does a great job of distinguishing between the idea of a movement and a political party. There will never be even two individuals that are going to completely agree on a set of issues in entirely the same way, thus political parties need to be flexible applicable to many people. I think the GOP is doing itself a great disservice by pointing out members who are not "conservative" enough. In my opinion Specter understood this and that is why he switched sides. Yes, politics is about standing firm on issues, but it is also very much about finding the middle ground. For years for the party that has meant preserving the status quo and making sure that the political systems don't move too fast. I think in many ways the GOP needs to get back to basics.

    Unless the Republican party changes its exclusive ways, I think a major break in the party is likely. It may turn out to be Libertarians, Neo-Cons, Christian Right, etc. someday. How this all plays out in the next few years will be very interesting...

    -Julie Benkoske


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