Another Triumph For The Club For Growth

April 28th, 2009 at 10:49 am David Frum | 168 Comments |

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With Arlen Specter’s defection, all that stands between the Democrats and a 60-seat Senate majority are Norman Coleman’s lawyers. I wish them every success – but they have not exactly been on a winning streak to date.

Which means that Democrats won’t need to resort to unorthodox tactics to push, say, their healthcare bill through Congress. They’ll have the votes.

If the Democrats do succeed in pushing through national health insurance, they really should set aside a little extra money to erect a statue to Pat Toomey. They couldn’t have done it without him!

Pat Toomey is of course the former president of the Club for Growth who planned to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Pennsylvania Republican primary. Polls showed Toomey well ahead – not because he is so hugely popular in the state, but because the Pennsylvania GOP has shriveled to a small, ideologically intense core. Toomey now looks likely to gain the nomination he has sought – and then to be crushed by Specter or some other Democrat next November.

The Specter defection is too severe a catastrophe to qualify as a “wake-up call.” His defection is the thing we needed the wake-up call to warn us against! For a long time, the loudest and most powerful voices in the conservative world have told us that people like Specter aren’t real Republicans – that they don’t belong in the party. Now he’s gone, and with him the last Republican leverage within any of the elected branches of government.

For years, many in the conservative world have wished for an ideologically purer GOP. Their wish has been granted. Happy?

Let’s take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party. And until and unless there is an honored place made in the Republican party for people who think like Arlen Specter, we will remain a minority party.

 
 

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168 Comments so far ↓

  • steveb

    Republicans need to hold on to moderates, even extreme ones like Specter. If you look at congressional records objectively you can see why. Democratic Sens. Nelson, Bayh and Lieberman have been given a lot of praise for their somewhat conservative stands over the years; and I would venture to guess the Republicans would be glad to have any of them switch parties and join the Republican ranks. In fact in 2008 many did lobby Lieberman to cross over. Ironically, Specter himself was quoted as being all for the Lieberman switch.I would like to see him vote with Republicans in September, Specter said. Hes practically there. That would have the consequence of giving us a Republican Senate.Now, if Republicans are so eager to celebrate centrist Democrats who agree with them some of the time, why are they so unwilling to hold onto centrist Republicans who agree with them most of the time? According to The Political Guide, since 1990, Arlen Specter has voted with the majority of his party 72.9% of the time and missed only 2.8% of the votes. In all likelihood PA is going to elect a Democrat in 2010 and the Republican party will miss out on those potential votes.Believe me, I am no big fan of Specter and others like him who often cross the aisle and vote for things like the recent stimulus bill. However, I’d rather have them then lose a seat to the other side

  • barker13

    Re: BillyFLA; 7:19 PM –I regret voting to re-elect Bush in ’04.Still… to be fair… Bush didn’t really go off the deep end till his second term was underway and absent hindsight…(*SHRUG*)Other than commission, I blame Bush most for his omissions. If only he’d used the bully pulpit to lead the American People and Congress (particularly Republicans in Congress who controlled Congress) away from corruption and fiscal irresponsibility and towards honesty, integrity, and true conservative economic values.He wouldn’t use his veto. He wouldn’t defend “us” (the American People) against “them” (the GOP appropriators) and by enabling Congress’ excesses while under Republican control he allowed the GOP to provide the rope ultimately used to hang them in ’06 and later ’08.To pull back and “defend” Bush for a moment…(*SIGH*)I believe the guy actually believed he “had” to go along with RINO Congressional nonsense in order to win their agreement to let him do whatever he felt necessary to “win” the “war on terror.”Yep. He gave the Congressional GOP carte blanche on domestic spending in exchange for them giving him carte blanche on military and security issues.Of course I believe it was a lousy bargain (and unnecessary to boot!), but in the final analysis I believe Bush was SINCERE in believing he was doing “what needed to be done” in order to safeguard the American People from terrorism.(*SHRUG*)I often wonder… how would things have been different – and would they have worked out better from my perspective – if within hours, days, weeks, or months of being re-elected Bush would have fallen into a non-life-threatening coma (or create your own scenario!) leading to Cheney serving out Bush’s second term.In terms of “controlling” the Republican Party and Republican Congressional Caucus, I wonder if a “President Cheney” would have proactively used every power at his disposal as “Head of Government,” “Head of State,” and “Titular Head of the Republican Party” to get the RINO Congress on board with true conservative principles (cut the spending… cut the growth of government… root out the corruption…) and thus perhaps reversed the tarnishing of the Republican Brand or… would a President Cheney have worked WITH the RINO Congress… stoked their pursuit of power by whatever means necessary?Oh, well… we’ll never know. BILL

  • barker13

    Re: Steveb; wrote 11 minutes ago –I dispute your premise.I for one never called for nor would I have supporting bringing Lieberman into the GOP.BILL

  • steveb

    Republicans need to hold on to moderates, even extreme ones like Specter. If you look at congressional records objectively you can see why. Democratic Sens. Nelson, Bayh and Lieberman have been given a lot of praise for their somewhat conservative stands over the years; and I would venture to guess the Republicans would be glad to have any of them switch parties and join the Republican ranks. In fact in 2008 many did lobby Lieberman to cross over. Ironically, Specter himself was quoted as being all for the Lieberman switch.I would like to see him vote with Republicans in September, Specter said. Hes practically there. That would have the consequence of giving us a Republican Senate.Now, if Republicans are so eager to celebrate centrist Democrats who agree with them some of the time, why are they so unwilling to hold onto centrist Republicans who agree with them most of the time? According to The Political Guide, since 1990, Arlen Specter has voted with the majority of his party 72.9% of the time and missed only 2.8% of the votes. In all likelihood PA is going to elect a Democrat in 2010 and the Republican party will miss out on those potential votes.Believe me, I am no big fan of Specter and others like him who often cross the aisle and vote for things like the recent stimulus bill. However, I’d rather have them then lose a seat to the other side

  • barker13

    Re: Snookie; 8:43 PM –”There was nothing at all conservative about Georgie boy…”Well… let’s not overstate the case. “Northing…???”Bush wasn’t *my* idea of a true conservative, but depending upon how you define conservatism he was seen as more conservative than McCain. Bush’s economic policies were surface conservative (lower taxes) without being honestly conservative (lower spending). Obviously on social issues he was pretty much doctrinaire “Religious Right.” Still… I and many other would dispute whether this in and of itself is REAL conservatism vs. conservatism as seen through a libertarian sense of personal freedom.”…but the Republicans all stayed silent even as he caused great harm to this country within and without. Not a peep was heard from the Repubs who crave authority and a daddy figure above all.”Bullshit. (*SHRUG*)When and where Bush was right… I said he was right. Where and when he was wrong… I said he was wrong. And that goes for the RINO Congresses of 2001-2006 too.Nor was I alone, Snookie. (“Snookie”… ha! ha!… cute)It’s because folks like me do have limits to what we’re willing to accept that Al D’Amato was defeated in ’98, why the RINO Congress was “dismissed” in ’08, why George Herbert Walker Bush lost his bid for re-election in ’92… and so on and so forth.You’d be surprised and perhaps amazed by how many of us actually have principles we place above self-interested so-called pragmatism.(*WINK*)BILL

  • sqrrrl

    Barker: “…you know and I know and indeed we all know that the Founders never meant the Constitution to be read in such a way as to REQUIRE gay marriage be given legal status nor indeed can anyone truly believe in all sincerity that the Founders would have viewed state laws against gay marriage to be unconstitutional.”Yes, you’re right that they probably didn’t think of gay marriage. They also didn’t think of all the amendments that have been added to the constitution since it was first drafted. But the fact that had the foresight to define a process to amend the constitution demonstrates they understood that society changes and that the constitution wasn’t perfect then nor would it always be in the future. Who cares if 200+ years ago gay rights weren’t a big concern? Slave rights weren’t much of a concern back then either. Society has evolved, so has the constitution and our understanding of it.Barker: ” the GOP should on constitutional principle oppose activist judges and courts “creating” supposed “rights” in direct opposition to the expressed will of the People and/or their duly elected representatives.”We’ve had ‘judicial activism’ since 1803 when it was established that the court has the power and responsibility to not only apply the laws, but to ensure that laws are consistent with the constitution. So yes, if the court must still evaluate and reject laws that are incompatible with the rights outlined in the constitution (many of which are vague and broad, like the 14th amendments “equal protection” clause) regardless of the popularity of the views expressed in that law. If the will of the people is strong enough, they can try to amend the constitution so that the laws would be consistent and protected against judicial review.Don’t get me wrong, there are occasional court decisions I think are way off base and not grounded in any reasonable interpretation of the law or constitution, but far too often people dismiss unpopular court decisions as ‘judicial activism’ without really understanding history and the role the court plays.

  • Sally Morem

    “Lets take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party.”Not if that 40 % keeps moving leftward. Conservatives will lose by default by caving into the moderates who keep drifting leftward along with the Dems they seek to appease. And America will lose, is losing big time as every single freedom is stripped away by Dems and their oh so understanding moderate allies.

  • Sally Morem

    Why the asymmetry? Why is it so important for Republicans to cross the aisle in mute admiration for statism? Why is it also perfectly understandable for Pelosi to crack down on the conservative and moderate Dems in the House who may be tempted to cross the aisle to help Republicans.Why do moderates tacitly assume that liberals are the kind and compassionate ones, and conservatives are uncaring, uncompassionate, evildoers?Again, why the asymmetry? Any truth tellers out there willing to rat out the moderates?

  • Sally Morem

    Why are moderates so concerned with gay marriage and gay rights. As soon as the liberals take full control, they won’t give _____ for gays. Why do I say such a thing? Because liberals like to control everything, and I do mean everything.Once they gain control, you can kiss your sexual freedom goodbye. They’ll come after you based on their deep concern for public health. You gays, you swingers, you bed hoppers–you’ll be painted as a threat, spreading your diseases throughout the population.Just as they’ve cracked down on smoking, and are now beginning to crack down on food, so they will crack down on your evil ways. Make no mistake.Once property rights are killed and political rights are killed, so will “privacy” rights.

  • illwilly

    You are insane Sally

  • ldkrn

    “Why do moderates tacitly assume that liberals are the kind and compassionate ones, and conservatives are uncaring, uncompassionate, evildoers?”Well, because history mostly bears that out. Ask immigrants, gay people, working women, anti-war activists-basically anyone who isn’t a white, Christian conservative-how kind and compassionate conservatives have been to them over the years, and there’s your answer.

  • ldkrn

    “I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party.”Sorry, David. For conservatives, all that means is that 60% of the party will be intolerant bullies, working for ideological purity, and there goes the neighborhood again.

  • ldkrn

    “If Toomey runs as a Tea Party Republican, he’ll go far.”Yeah, as far as 21% will take him.*rolls eyes*If what I’m reading here is representative of conservative thought as a collective, you guys are going to be in the woods for a long, long time…

  • Gil-Galad

    Frum, you hack, it was Bush with you at his side that ruined the GOP, and inflicted serious damage on the economy.

  • barker13

    Re: Sqrrrl; 11:50 AM –”…all the amendments that have been added to the constitution since it was first drafted.”Umm… Sqrrrl… all the amendments that have been added are… er… AMENDMENTS that have been ADDED.(*SMILE*)(And if you don’t get it… well… another black mark against the American educational system.)(*CHUCKLE*) “But the fact that had the foresight to define a process to amend the constitution demonstrates they understood that society changes and that the constitution wasn’t perfect then nor would it always be in the future.”Which… er… is again WHY we have an amendment process and why when someone wants to change the Constitution (adding to it… subtracting from it…) the only true Constitutional tools available are the amendment process itself or a full blown Constitutional Convention.(*SHRUG*)”We’ve had ‘judicial activism’ since 1803…”At least! Still… doesn’t make it right. AND… even if you think it is right… doesn’t mean Congress doesn’t ultimately retain the authority to simply override judicial review… assuming they had the balls, the numbers, and the support of the Executive Branch.We’re going a bit far afield into Constitutional theory here, but for what it’s worth, I believe that it were just explained to the American People how fundamentally undemocratic this whole concept of “judicial review” is when misused that they’d “get” it.Anyway… broad theory aside… what was your point again? What specifically were you disagreeing with me on…???”Don’t get me wrong, there are occasional court decisions I think are way off base and not grounded in any reasonable interpretation of the law or constitution…”Then here we meet on common ground.(*WINK*) (*HANDSHAKE*)BILLP.S. – Frankly, I’d like to see a Constitutional Amendment defining the High Court’s role and power with regard to judicial review and specifically the power to overturn (judicially veto) democratically passed legislation.Perhaps… and this is just off the top of my head… something along the lines of:In order to declare a law or action unconstitutional, seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices would have to act in concert – a supermajority.Congress – by two-thirds majority – would have the power to override the Court’s decision acting within 30 days of the Court’s decision.Anyway… just thinking aloud. (*SMILE*) Any thoughts on the broad concept?

  • R

    Yes I’m HAPPY! I’ll be even happier when John McCain is no longer pretending he is a Conservative.It will remove from the Senate one more Republican who doesnt represent me. This removes a gigantic obstacle to party unity, morale, and thus turnout and votes.Washington Post-ABC News Poll: 35% of Americans consider themselves Conservatives, while only 23% consider themselves liberal.Even though many Conservatives stayed home, McCain still got close to 60,000,000 votes. Conservatism is not going away anytime soon. We have to stop letting the Liberals and the media define us. And David Frum should stop trying to drag the Republicans to the center.

  • barker13

    Re: ldkrn; wrote 35 minutes ago –”Yeah, as far as 21% will take him.”So you’re making the prediction that come November, 2010, assuming Toomy is the GOP candidate vs. either Specter or an as yet unidentified Democrat, that Toomy will get no more than 21% of the vote?Well… I suppose if Toomy is the nominee… we’ll see.(How’d your 401K and other investments fair over the past year or so, ldkrn? Not being nosy… just trying to gauge how your bets usually pay off.) (*WINK*)Oh… and it’s not “*rolls eyes*” it’s (*ROLLING MY EYES*)(*WINK*)BILL

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