The departure of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter from the Republican ranks means most likely that Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama will be able to find out once and for all whether the country truly wants liberalism straight-up.
With him in the Republican Party, there was the pretense that the GOP could keep Democrats from overreaching, their natural tendency. Here and there, yes, they could. But always we knew that on the issues truly important to the left — confirmation, for example, of far-left judges to the U.S. Supreme Court and to the circuit courts — Democrats already had a filibuster-proof Senate. Specter made that clear in his opposition to Judge Robert Bork and in is decision to join with Democrats and two other Republican senators to pass the $787 billion spending bill that passed disguised as “economic stimulus.”
Comedian Al Franken appears likely to prevail in Minnesota. With Specter, there’s no pretense that the opposition party represents a check on Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and the hard left’s agenda. If anything’s stopped, it’ll be because Reid misread his caucus or because of backlash at the grass-roots level.
Specter, as we all know, was unlikely to make it through next year’s primary. Former Congressman Pat Toomey had already declared and, after Specter’s stimulus spending vote, it’s highly unlikely Specter could have prevailed. As a Democrat, he’s more likely to save his skin.
After November’s losses, it was evident that Republicans needed to return to core principles and fashion a message that explains and sells limited government and individual responsibility to new generations of voters. The nation is approaching a tipping point where those who vote themselves benefits outnumber those who pay.
The nation’s about to get a dose of uncut liberalism and a drift toward statism with government or one of the Democrats’ core constituencies, labor unions, owning or controlling two of the three major automobile producers in this country. That’s not what most Americans want. Yet. The tipping point approaches, but we’re not there yet.