Specter Swap: A Gimmick or Wake Up Call?

I think the worst kept secret in the political world was made official today with veteran Republican Senator Arlen Specter switching his party affiliation to become a Democrat.

To me, this is more of a survival tactic played by the senator since he was more than likely going to lose the upcoming republican primary for the 2010 election. Now if you are the democrats, you welcome him and take him in with open arms because he is one of the most respected people in congress regardless of which political hat he decides to wear. However, with the GOP fighting with every last breath they have to keep Al Franken from being seated in Minnesota, the problem still remains of having 60 seats to prevent a filibuster. Specter probably would have voted in line with the democrats against a filibuster even if he didn’t switch so it doesn’t really solve anything. In turn, Specter probably gets a less competitive primary challenge on this side or the aisle with the party backing him in the 2010 race.

Now if you are one of the very few moderates remaining on the conservative side, this really just brings to the forefront most of the problems you are facing. There is no longer exists such a thing as a moderate Republican. It’s either you are with the extreme right wing base with the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and Bachmann and that is a real shame. It shouldn’t matter if the vast majority of the people in this country are leaning moderately or completely liberal now, there should always be a respectable and honest but not lunatic opposition on the other side. You should have base a voice of reason from the minority to keep the party in power of over-extending their reach of power but we just don’t have that anymore in this country and it is quite a shame.

I have always tried to respect a person’s view within reason regardless of whether I agreed with it or completely disagreed because the critics always tell you your faults. They may not necessarily express in the way you might like it, but more likely than not they will tell you something about trying to appeal to more people. It’s quite unfortunate that a vast majority just disregards the republican minority now as nothing but a party of no but that is nobody’s fault but the Republican Party’s. They have, for far too long relied on the politics of fear and isolation to shove their legislation through and the masses have finally woken up.

As a self-identified moderate liberal, I think it is more important in today’s times than ever which so many politicians getting caught up in a power struggle rather than representing their constituents. Living in one of the very few political systems that institutes a two-party system which is quite undemocratic as it is, and now having one of the two parties run by people who have extremists views is not a step in the right direction of democracy in this country. Since the 3rd parties can only spout off their mouths and exert very little influence into the political system that is in play right now, it is that much more crucial to moderate and reform the conservative base.

The Republicans will need a purge sooner or later of these people with radical fundamentalist views at the forefront and the public face of its party. As the next generation of younger constituents who are naturally more liberal to begin with begin to grow up, the GOP faces a major threat of facing the situation they had a couple of decades ago where they are down to 150 seats in congress. You already notice the slight change with the likes of Megan McCain calling for the Roves of her party to step away since they are no longer relevant and are hurting the progressive cause of their party.

As for people my age, two of the most conservative people I know are shifting their views in polar opposite directions. One is becoming much more liberal fiscally and towards economic policies to support a system where the government plays a bigger role in helping people get back up on their feet. On the other hand, the other one is becoming more and more conservative by the day. You almost get a feel of an old and battered athlete who doesn’t know when to retire and admit his time has come and gone. Resorting to out of context quotes and unsubstantiated rumors as “facts” to try to pick up any dirt or score cheap points in a political discussion.

Now for Senator Specter, we will very quickly find out whether he jumped ship simply to save and extend his political career or whether his political philosophy has really become more in line with the Democrats.

Shame On You, Barak Obama!

So it pained me yesterday after seeing Barack Obama voted Yea in passing the FISA Bill (here’s the voting breakdown) after voting twice just moments earlier in favor of amendments that strip or curtail immunity against telecommunication companies who helped the government illegally wiretap customers. (FYI: John McCain who has flipped-flopped about a million times on this issue was one of the three Senators who did not vote on the matter because obviously he doesn’t think it’s important enough).

It might have been a calculated political move by his campaign to once again switch on a position rather than stand firmly on an issue I still think he believes on. Maybe this was to stop Republican attacks saying he is soft on terrorism or some other security issue to keep our country safe but did he really have to choose this bill to support? He has taken hits on everything from religion to race to his wife, so why buckle here?

Obama needs to go back to being the candidate of change and listen to the millions of voice of regular people who brought him up to this point and stop running his campaign like the usual insiders of Washington we see where they try to play damage control on every little issue regardless of what it says about where they stand on critical issues.

I let Obama slide when he chose to go back on his word regarding the Campaign Finance laws. I chose to forgive him when he constantly says “I am not a Muslim” but refuses to stand next to or campaign with Muslims or even acknowledge that it is not a crime even if he was a Muslim. Yea that one hurts a little more than the others but when he starts supporting legislation that rip the Constitution to shreds – one that virtually gives the lame duck President, who is on his way out with about 7 months left, that is really disappointing.

What happened to the candidate who wanted to bring about change, who stood up for the average American when he first started running for office? It has turned more into defensive campaigning instead of being aggressive and attacking McBush and his cronies. He is the quickest to denounce his own (cue Gen. Wesley Clark), yet is very afraid to say anything about anyone other than McBush. He needs to remember the people who brought him here and stop turning into the politican everyone turns into in Washington that is power hungry and will get it, no matter what the sacrifice maybe – be it their position on critical legislation or turning their back on their own supporters.

Little by little, the Democrats have given President Bush everything he has wanted and it certainly shows with Congress’ rating in single digits and with the President just ahead of them. Although I see the Democrats picking up more seats in the House and maybe a couple more in the Senate, you would hope that a Democratic Presidency might turn back all these expansive powers that this administration has given themselves and maybe, just maybe he will hold some people accountable. Obama needs to stop giving into what he thinks the conservatives or Republicans want to hear from him because if you cave in on one issue, they will certainly find another issue to attack on – whether it is legitimate or not.

He needs to keep his beliefs at the forefront, the reason why he ran for Office. He said he didn’t run for power, to be part of the inner circle in Washington, to cozy up with lobbyists or bow down to special interest groups – he ran because he wanted to bring out fundamental change and day after day, the rest of his supporters are seeing that fundamental change dwindle away to nothing more than an average politican. He still has a lead across the board and he can still pull away Reagan style or he can certainly fall apart like some of the past Democratic candidates we have seen but giving into issues if the Republicans call you out on it is no way to go.

Stand up once again for the issues you believe in. Give us the reasons to keep supporting Change We Can Believe In and not just blindly follow a candidate because the alternative is quite worse. A Democratic candidate ran on a platform like that four years ago and the entire country saw what happened. Not only will you lose the Presidency at a time when the stakes couldn’t be any higher but you let an opportunity slip away to bring about some fundamental change by implementing your ideas and those of your supporters.

Don’t fail me now, Barack Obama. I am sure there are hundreds of thousands of people if not millions out there who are baffled by your support for FISA but you still have plenty of time to get back on the right track and stop dropping the ball in attempts to score a few political points but undermine your entire campaign and throw away the chance at the Presidency.

Don’t fail me now, Barack Obama.