By Ronald Glenn & Jeff Schreiber
Yesterday, of course, the Senate passed its version of the Obama-Pelosi “stimulus” package, much to the dismay of conservatives and capitalists everywhere. This nightmare, as we suspected for a while and as we now know, was to be made possible with the complicity of wayward, turncoat Republicans — in this case, it was Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine who dumped the road to socialism on a weary American public.
The Associated Press yesterday wrote that Specter, Snowe and Collings “broke ranks to cast their votes to advance the bill.” But why? What, pray tell, was the point of handing Obama his “victory” when the rest of the Republican party voted against this matter in both the House and Senate? Why resist the Republican resurgence? No one believes they did this for the good of the nation; that excuse defies logic if any of these three senators have a single conservative bone in their bodies. It was betrayal, plain and simple. Collins, for example, was put into office through the donations of thousands of Republican voters from coast to coast for the precise reason that she could protect the filibuster, yet not only did she have no problem throwing away that responsibility, she was actually one of the driving forces besides what the Democratic Party and their flunkies in the mainstream media called a “compromise.”
So, why do some senators and congressmen betray their parties?
Of course, that “R” or “D” at the back end of an elected official’s name at the bottom of the television screen does not mean that he or she is somehow obligated to act or vote a certain way. Senators and congressmen have been known to go their own way — Arizona Sen. John McCain made a career of doing so, and has had no qualms about reminding everyone about how he’s such a “maverick.” And, of course, Specter’s conservative creditials have similarly questioned for many years. From a commentary by A.W.R. Hawkins at Human Events:
While Specter claims to be a Republican, he has only voted with the Republican Party about 44% of the time since the early 1990s. Just imagine if a college basketball player or even a high school quarterback did that: if they passed the ball to members of their team 44% of the time, and 56% to the other team. How long would it be before they were booted out of the arena? [...]
National Review Online reported that during George W. Bush’s first term, “Specter was one of only three Republicans who tried to eviscerate the Bush tax cut; he was the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Washington, D.C. school-voucher bill; and he was ranked by the Citizens Against Government Waste as the ‘Pork Spender of the Year’” during one of Bush’s first four years.
Why do we keep re-electing this guy to our team every six years folks? He’s much worse than someone who’s not a team player: he’s always fumbling intentionally to the other team and giving them wins they wouldn’t otherwise get.
At the root of all? Principles. Some politicians have them, and some do not. Similarly, one person’s “maverick” is another person’s prototypical possessor of a gelatinous spine. Just as McCain–undoubtedly an American hero, but that’s not the point here–repeatedly has betrayed his party and many of the Republican voters who put him into office with his efforts to enact campaign finance reform, to provide amnesty for illegals, to lay the groundwork for cap-and-trade legislation and more, Specter has repeatedly sold the GOP and his constituents down the river when given the chance, whether it was more than twenty years ago with Robert Bork, or yesterday with the so-called “stimulus” bill.
Ever wonder why liberals, such as President Obama and Sen. John Kerry, for example, are so quick to back-track on their own arguments at a moment’s notice? Why they’re willing to be “for” something before they are “against” it? It’s the same underlying factor which caused Specter, Snowe and Collins to “break ranks” yesterday — lack of principles.
Some politicians–such as our founding fathers, for example–believe with the very depths of their souls in the merits of a limited government, in lower taxes, a strong national defense and an impartial and originalist judiciary. Others are a bit more wishy-washy. And it is that lack of principles which keeps left-leaning politicans stumbling and stammering and searching for how they’re supposed to feel, what they’re supposed to say, what the most recent polls show the right path to be.
That’s part of the problem with politicians like Specter, Snowe and Collins. While John McCain, for example, is undoubtedly an American through-and-through, his principles can legitimately be called into question. Just as one cannot properly and logically argue in favor of affirmative action and racial equality in the same breath, McCain cannot support strict constructionist appointments to the federal bench while, at the same time, advocating the stifling of political speech through his Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. Similarly, arguing in favor of cap-and-trade legislation while simultaneously advocating limited government involvement in business and industry just doesn’t make sense.
What we saw yesterday from Specter, Snowe and Collins reeked of all that endless babble we saw from McCain, who yammered on throughout the primary and general elections of 2008 about his abillity to “reach across the aisle.” The Democrats, led by President Obama, may drone on and on about how our crisis requires immediate action — but, similarly, it can be argued that when the ship is sinking, no one is pulled to safety by joining hands. Everyone drowns together. At this point, we don’t need a “kum ba yah” moment; we need somebody to build a seaworthy life boat, and teach the rest of us how to build more. If there was ever a moment that required absolute party discipline, this moment was it.
These last three days should be a warning to everyone who thinks the answer to everything in politics is bipartisanship. In recent history, bipartisanship has brought us campaign finance reform, comprehensive immigration reform, the Community Reinvestment Act, the [thankfully failed] McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, the TARP bill, and now the bacon-wrapped so-called “stimulus” package.
Crisis may demand action, but it demands principled action. And it is about time we find someone with such principles to lead us out of this morass. Bureaucrats like Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are doing more harm than good.
Ronald Glenn has worked in real estate and law for more than twenty years. He now works in Philadelphia, and lives outside the city with his wife. Ron has been writing for America’s Right since January 2009.
Jeff Schreiber started America’s Right in January 2008.