What do you call a Republican that is pro-choice, supports Obama, and supports civil unions for homosexuals? ? A Democrat. Zing!
This is what strikes me the most about Arlen Spectre defecting to the democratic party. These days, the only thing that separates dems and republicans is a fondness for different policies. There are no longer any philosophical differences on the nature of government. It is assumed that the president “runs” the country, it is assumed that the “direction” of the country comes from DC.
I think this is worse news for the republicans than for the democrats. There is enough support for the policy direction of the democratic party that they can float along with no problem. The republican agenda has been uncool for some time, and is quickly falling by the wayside. With any luck, this is the beginning of the end of the republican party’s social conservatism as a political force. They have long since abandoned any claim on being the party of fiscal conservatism. For a long time, that was the main identity of republican politics, then they hitched their wagon on social conservatism. That was a long term tactical error that may well end the Republican party.
While my ideal political party would have a platform of fiscal conservatism and an emphasis on civil liberties (I actually think they are the same thing), I would be happy with some politicians that had no other platform than responsible fiscal policies. We need some resistance to the current republican/democratic fetish of spending money without thinking of the consequences. In short, we need a real alternative to business as usual in the political sphere.