Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html en-gb 30 Fri 03 Jul 2015 16:05:23 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=99#comment212 lol water a well populated island that one. Fri 15 May 2009 01:21:42 GMT+1 watermanaquarius http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=99#comment211 aquarizonagal # 210 , [ from 500]"more civilized" and 'dissappearing people' are factors that are impossible to control. Re the first, everything is a question of passion and where you channel it.Be "A Lover" with a husband, wife, partner and/or family [even pet], to obtain a balanced outlook on life in general, or become "A fighter", a loner and perceive every unwanted happening as a personal confrontation that requires physical or mental fisticuffs to gain the upper hand. The latter are a sad sort that require sympathy, but then with variety being the spice of life, their views colour the blog giving it, its' balance, and I doubt that the new blog director would have it any other way.Marcus versus Europe/ the UK?Re dissappearing people who fly in and out:- Many of us are lucky enough to have bouts of time on are hands to participate or not, where others still have the 9 to 5 grind and its' associated responsibilities. Coming and staying or going is one of many decisions in this life. You yourself, will shortly take a sabatical in respect of a future foreign visit. Have a great time when you go. Out of sight / site, does not necessarily mean out of mind for many of us.The Good? or The Bad?Here in the woodshed as apposed to the kitchen, I accept them both equally. Being out of ones head can soften the blows. Liking however, is something else. Wed 13 May 2009 10:15:08 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=98#comment210 Many Changing WomanMeet us over in the press room. More room to dance:-) Tue 12 May 2009 23:49:13 GMT+1 aquarizonagal http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=98#comment209 Shaman'Defector' is a word that disturbs me a little but I have lived long and some of my family did not prosper.I think I had the last post on the prior thread this time and I was not even seeking it! I did lose track.Shaman, Query: It seems that we will get a new blog director soon. I wonder if this will help debates be more civilized. Sometimes people appear for only a little while. I would really like to read more of what they say or have dialogue with them. I think sometimes they get intimidated and go away. This is sad. Tue 12 May 2009 23:18:42 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=97#comment208 There's a press conference being held in a real nice kitchen. Bere is already there. Tue 12 May 2009 22:54:51 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=97#comment207 This looks like a good place for defectors! Tue 12 May 2009 22:29:56 GMT+1 yankeelady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=96#comment206 This post has been Removed Thu 07 May 2009 01:09:36 GMT+1 yankeelady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=96#comment205 I don't particularly care for Arlen Specter. I'm a Progressive American Democrat. However, I was disgusted that Arlen Specter was subjected to uncivilized behavior resembling backyard wrestling. The following article appeared on one of the Cincinnati Enquirer's websites: "The Specter of Arlen sets off a Cincinnati political tiff" Posted by Howard Wilkinson at 4/29/2009 5:20 PM EDTThe defection of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party has Republicans nationwide fuming and declaring "good riddance;" few more so than Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou, who raged over the Specter defection on his blog Wednesday.It was not so much the words Triantafilou used than the pictures that accompanied them which set off Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke.What Triantafilou did that set Burke off was pairing an old picture of Specter when he was bald from his chemotherapy with a picture of the hairless Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies. Specter's hair, by the way, has grown back.Burke fired off a release headlined: "Republican Party Ridicules Cancer Patient.""It is just that kind of insensitivity to the plight of real people that is causing the Republican Party to lose so many of its previous followers," Burke wrote, noting the photo was taken during Specter's chemotherapy.Late Wednesday afternoon, Triantafilou said he meant no harm and pooh-poohed Burke's complaint."Tim needs to lighten up,'' Triantafilou said. "It was funny. Dr. Evil is a character in my favorite movie. I meant no disrespect to Sen. Specter."Triantafilou said the photo of Specter he used was the first one that popped up when he did a Google photo search.UPDATE: Wednesday night, Triantafilou took down the photos on his blog and replaced them with the word CENSORED.YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The "CENSORED" thing came off of Triantafilou's blog last night, replaced by a photo of a grumpy child. Then, Thursday, the whole post on Specter, photos and text, disappeared from the blog. The whole thing, Triantafilou said, "was becoming a distraction."*************************************************************************NOTE: Tim Burke, Democratic Chairman of the Hamilton County, Ohio Democratic Party is a member of the Hamilton County, Ohio Board of Elections.************************************************************************** I took action and contacted Jennifer Brunner, our Ohio Secretary of State about the incident involving the above referenced Republican Chairman of the Hamilton County, Ohio Board of Elections who also serves as Republican Chairman of the Hamilton County, Ohio Republican Party. -MY EMAIL TO OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE JENNIFER BRUNNER-As soon as possible, please consider initiating the process of replacing the Chairman of the Hamilton County Ohio BOE, Alex Triantafilou due to his handling of the ridicule of Arlen Specter that he publicly engaged in.I'm worried about the Civil Rights Obligations of Recovery Act Grantors and Applicants within the context of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.I won't have much confidence in future elections that address efforts to improve the delivery of medical care as well as issues related to The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 if Alex Triantafilou is permitted to continue serving as the Chairman of the Hamilton County Ohio Board of Elections. Sun 03 May 2009 00:01:59 GMT+1 foxtrottango1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=95#comment204 Post # 160 - David Cunard.I don't know much about British political behavior but in seem that in the USA the conservative right, the Christians fundamentalists, the GOP and the Republicans think (or feel) that hypocrisy, lies, deceptions, torture, corruptions are virtues instead of vices!All one has to do is to just listen to them.I personally feel I have more in common with the British people regardless of party ticket than these right wing conservative political hypocrites in the USA! Fri 01 May 2009 19:34:41 GMT+1 Pass Torian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=95#comment203 What Specter's defection mean? Politically not much if anything at all. Personally - it is another matter.The old age causes quite often defective thinking and that exactly what happened to Specter. Instead of exposing himnself as a shallow opportunist - Lieberman number two - he should stick and try to convince his party colleagues and followers that "his way" is the right way for Republicans. Now however, the old man should have support of neither Democrats nor Republicans. Life long Republican pretending to be a Democrat who openly states he will not follow Democratic principles but will use his independent (Republican?) judgement. Do Democrats need in their ranks the fellow named Specter? As for Republicans, they justly should resent the guy who after so many years shows them his "middle finger". Whether Pennsylvania electorate is sober when voting is another thing. Maybe Specter should be reminded that cemetaries are full of indispensable people and that his glory days may be over? At 79, with due respects to his past accomplishments, I think that Mr. Arlen Specter should fold the gloves and graciously retire before he continues as fool. The country need a person with energy, clear mind, and without newly developed personal opportunistic traits. And that person does not need to be a "painted on the surface" Democrat. That person could as well be a Republican. Fri 01 May 2009 02:34:14 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=94#comment202 201 202 that seems to be the way. Thu 30 Apr 2009 22:37:24 GMT+1 SamTyler1969 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=94#comment201 #201Wonderful postPA Sam Thu 30 Apr 2009 22:08:15 GMT+1 robertenora http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=93#comment200 God hasn't gone anywhere. Moderate Republicans and independents in Pennsylvania have decided faith-based politics doesn't create jobs, guarantee national security, pay medical bills, plow roads and highways, etc. In Short, they are separating religion from politics. Hasn't that worked in Pennsylvania before?By the way, Mr. Webb, you looked very distinguished and thoughtful at the presser last night. Thu 30 Apr 2009 21:56:31 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=93#comment199 163, Rome."Or you could move to centralised party funding on congressional campaigns, with limits on spending in each area."The only problem is that a corrupt Congress would never pass it. Thu 30 Apr 2009 21:11:59 GMT+1 foxtrottango1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=92#comment198 Post # 191, "A sad commentary on the "richest country." - DaveAren't you mistaking the term "rich" for greed?The term would come closer to being "the greediest country" not the richest since just everything has and is being taken by the point of the gun or nuclear intimidation. And because of this greed most Americans are now becoming aware that world resources are not going to support their "way of living." The richest country is one who provide health care to all it's citizens, equal justice and do not torture helpless people or break international laws. Post 192. Ann Coulter is an incoherent rambling frustrated individual who need to marry someone who can stand her. The amusing part is, all the women Fox News employ are blonds and they all look alike, speak alike, act alike, just like clones. It's a case of not only the blond leading the blond, but more like the blind leading the blind! The difference is, with this new president, no one seem to be listening to the blonds except the conservative right including the reborn again and again Southern Baptist "Christian" and history school teacher, Newt Gingrich. Yep, he is the same one who was disposed from the GOP and who delivered divorce papers to his wife while she was recovering in the hospital of cancer.Some "compassionate conservatives" this republicans are. Thu 30 Apr 2009 20:51:51 GMT+1 Hesiodos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=92#comment197 Gary, "Are you related to G. Washington? He had no direct descendants.""to speak of..." He is some sort of Great(*n) Uncle, me being descended from his elder half-brother Lawrence...I might have a better claim than Emory, being in the Patrilineal line, but I have an older female cousin...This is interesting too;-) Thu 30 Apr 2009 18:14:31 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=92#comment196 Hesiodos (#194) "And thus, kin to me! A rich cousin ... "I don't understand this. There is a semicolon between Oprah Winfrey and George Washington. Separate choices.Are you related to G. Washington? He had no direct descendants. This is interesting:http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/articles/news/roberts.html Thu 30 Apr 2009 17:44:27 GMT+1 giantskeptic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=91#comment195 It will make no difference since Spector was really a Democrat in Republican clothing Thu 30 Apr 2009 17:26:31 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=91#comment194 191 agreed192lol Ann coulter is not worthy of mention really (watch Gherkin froth) As for the others. they claim to be independentCLAIM. and THEY are more important words in that sentence than independent.We have several posters (in one body) that tell us they are independent moderates ,while spouting off like someone at a the late 30's Germany.As for the payroll. who are you kidding. Murdock. Thu 30 Apr 2009 17:19:41 GMT+1 Hesiodos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=90#comment193 Gary, "Oprah Winfrey, who is almost as rich as the Queen, and more popular; a relative of George Washington."And thus, kin to me! A rich cousin - I love it! Your Option 1. (coercion) doesn't need Government agencies and restrictions, the parties themselves (more-so the Repugnants) are likely to provide similar results in due course...I re-iterate:"When matters which concern or interest us are under discussion, it is natural to form alliances with those who share aspects of our viewpoint or objectives, but when these are formalised into rigid policy frameworks, much of great value is lost:1. The primary goal becomes the establishment or maintenance of a dominant position for the party.2. Party discipline becomes more important than finding new solutions to new situations.3. Policy, rather than being founded in conviction & principles, is manipulated to appeal to voters, while4. The party is 'sold' as being more unified, more considerate, more efficient, than other parties.5. The fewer parties involved, the more pronounced the shallow nature of the resulting discussion becomes."The more, the merrier! Thu 30 Apr 2009 17:07:17 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=90#comment192 John Warner was a good man and a gentleman, though he had his lapses (Elizabeth Taylor being a prominent one) and I became very disappointed in him when he was supporting everything Bush did. The way he was treated by the Republican Party over the Oliver North (who was not a good man or a gentleman despite being an officer) business was really disgraceful. It emphasized how the Party prizes loyalty over integrity. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:59:28 GMT+1 yet_another_dave http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=89#comment191 188. "when a political party promotes the likes of Limbaugh,Beck, Hammity and Dobbs as their heralds to the public, they must be in trouble."It sounds as if you think these pundits are on the Republican payroll. They're independent. They're not exactly objective, but they're independent.Beck actually characterizes himself as a political independent, although he tends to align with the Republican view fairly often. He aligns with the Libertarian view even more often.I'm surprised you didn't mention Ann Coulter, who has written in her books that anyone who wasn't a Republican was, literally, a traitor. That strikes me as more extreme than the four you cited. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:54:26 GMT+1 yet_another_dave http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=89#comment190 176. "...as we all have discussed before american centre is way to the right of any european country"Yes. Everything is relative. IMO there's little difference between Democrats and Republicans, and even this limited spectrum occupies a small portion of the global political spectrum, right of center (or centre, if you prefer). "If america was as centrist as you wish that would have happened a while back."Fist, it's not my "wish," but my observation; and people are "centrist" in the context of American politics, as you pointed out. Second, I think the barrier to the emergence of a viable third (or nth) party is that we don't have proportional representation. "...health care should be universal."Alas, most of "them" remain unconvinced. Even Mr Obama's vision stops at universal access to healthcare insurance, and does not reach all the way to the civilized norm of universal access to healthcare services. As things stand now, the most pragmatic healthcare plan for middle-class Americans is to pay out of pocket for routine care and set aside enough money to travel to South America, Thailand, or India when more significant services are needed; or to be on vacation in Europe "coincidentally" when the need arises. A sad commentary on the "richest" country. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:47:52 GMT+1 Kay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=88#comment189 #181 Gary:It is, although everything else you wrote about the primaries is true. As an independent, he would disregard the primaries and wouls have to qualify for the general election ballot by some other means, presumably by petition. Most likely, he chose this route because he believes winning the Democratic primary will be easier than winning a three-way general election race.I see where you're coming from, Gary, and you have a point. He could very well lose--but on the other hand, so many Dems love the guy that he could easily win if enough cross over to vote for him. There may be some moderate Republicans left who might split their ticket to vote for him as well. I think he did the right thing going with the Dems. It's hard to be an Independent in PA and since most independents vote Democratic anyway, he might as well become one. :)) Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:44:28 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=88#comment188 186, seanspa -You're right about the party running a strong Democrat against him in the primary, but I don't think the reaction to him was hateful and vitriolic. I didn't see viciousness. There's a difference between not supporting for re-election a Congressperson who has strayed from the party and viciously attacking that person. That's what I'm talking about. Even after Lieberman's behavior in the recent election, the reaction from former Democratic colleagues was more along the line of disappointment than hate. This is a major difference these days between Republicans and Democrats, aside from the issues. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:43:16 GMT+1 north_of_49 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=87#comment187 when a political party promotes the likes of Limbaugh,Beck, Hammity and Dobbs as their heralds to the public, they must be in trouble. If there wasn't such serious issues on the table their babble could be considered entertainment like Maury or Jerry Springer. At a time when bipartisanship is needed the GOP is still playing politics and trying to one up the elected government.A Pity Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:32:16 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=87#comment186 john-in-Dublin (#168), "first-past-the-post" is not a term used in the US, and it doesn't really adapt well here. The election of US President is not FPTP; without a majority in the electoral college, the election would be decided in the Congress. Other elections may or may not be FPTP. There are many political offices in the US which require a runoff election if no majority is achieved.It is single-member districts, not the FPPT rule, which tends to lead to a relatively small number of parties (a good thing in my view). The US, UK, and Canada all have single-member districts in their legislative bodies. Canada has four significant parties and the UK has a few also. The US has two because of our manner of election of the head of government separate from the Congress. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:21:00 GMT+1 seanspa http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=86#comment185 #183, bere, without wishing to say that you are wrong, I suspect that marbles' favorite, lieberman, may have endured some nastiness while still a democrat. As I recall, he went on to run - and win - as an independant. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:19:21 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=86#comment184 RomeStu (#161) "It may be suicide in the USA ... "It's not necessarily suicide. Sen. Wayne Morse successfully switched to the Democratic Party. Former President Reagan was a Democrat in his youth, and he became the icon of Republican resurgence. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:08:19 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=85#comment183 Hesiodos (#172) "Spectra are one-dimensional phenomena ... "Good point. Politics is indeed multi-dimensional. But the point I've been trying to make, which few seem to grasp, is that the number and strength of parties is not a system in itself, but merely a consequence of the structure of government and system of electing it, and the (multi-dimensional) political factors present in the electorate.We (in the US) have complete freedom to organize for political purposes any way we please, but some people do not like the result (two parties tend to dominate). So what to do about it? Nobody here has so far put forward any practical, fully thought out plan for improving things. Here are some ideas which they might consider as part of their plan:1. The political group most in need of a third party is moderate Republicans, but they seem to prefer working within the Republican Party (see the link in my earlier post), or, like Specter, switching to the Democratic Party. So use coercion. Outlaw moderate Republicans, forcing them to create a centrist party. Similarly, force Democrats who are not sufficiently socialist out of the Democratic Party and into the new centrist party. This will of course require a government agency with the power to snoop into the political lives of individuals and restrict their right of free association.2. Abolish the presidency, as presidential elections are the principal motivating factor leading to the dominance of two parties. The House of Representatives would choose the executive. This would give third parties power in coalitions to choose the executive, as with parliamentary systems. It might be a good idea to have a head of state separate from the head of government. Take your pick: the Queen of UK and elsewhere; Oprah Winfrey, who is almost as rich as the Queen, and more popular; a relative of George Washington.3. Alternatively, adopt the French model. A parliament with a Prime Minister allows for coalitions. The President is elected by the people but there is a runoff election among the top two, which is more accomodating to third parties. The downside is that there would be less legitimacy in making the French the butt of jokes, which some Americans take pleasure in.All of these require constitutional amendments, however. Because of the extent of the changes required, a constitutional convention is more appropriate. (There's a scary thought. Everything is on the table.)If it sounds like I'm merely ridiculing those who whine about the so-called "two party system" with no understanding of political science or practical suggestions for improving it, it's because I am. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:03:30 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=85#comment182 Perhaps I'm wrong, and I'm sure someone will correct me if so, but I don't think there's been any incident where Democrats in Congress turned viciously against one of their own for voting against the party stance.I am reminded once again of John Warner, Republican of Virginia, who refused to endorse the Republican candidate Oliver North in his run for the Senate against Charles Robb. Warner, along with a lot of other people, thought that North was rather scummy. The Party vilified Warner but he won reelection due to having endeared a large number of moderate Republicans, Democrats, and independents with his principled action. I believe Virginia has, or had at that time, a cross-over primary. Thu 30 Apr 2009 16:02:35 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=84#comment181 181, Gary -Or maybe he just suddenly realized that there is not much difference between a moderate Republican and a moderate Democrat except for the vitriol thrown by Republicans at those Republicans who step out of line, and having been a party man all his life perhaps he'd feel naked without a mantle of some sort. Similar to those losing their faith trying different religions - going it alone is scary to some. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:51:24 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=84#comment180 PAKatie (#178) "So Independent is not an option for him."It is, although everything else you wrote about the primaries is true. As an independent, he would disregard the primaries and wouls have to qualify for the general election ballot by some other means, presumably by petition. Most likely, he chose this route because he believes winning the Democratic primary will be easier than winning a three-way general election race. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:25:42 GMT+1 Kay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=84#comment179 #163 Sad SamGenerally to see the trend in a party's platform you look to see who is defecting to the other side. When folks like Specter find themselves uder seige in their own party but loved by their electorate, it is an indication their party is moving away from the center. Arlen will win re-election by 10 points. Just a prediction.Spot on, Sam. There's a reason Specter's been re-elected 5 times. It not just Republicans who voted for him. Even a lot of Dems love him and they are thrilled to have him aboard.When this first happened I couldn't help but wonder what John Heinz would think if he were still alive. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:07:16 GMT+1 Hesiodos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=83#comment178 Some have more teats than udders do.... Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:05:05 GMT+1 Kay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=83#comment177 #137 Rodidog:With absolute power, democrats will increasingly move to the left. Where does that leave moderates? Perhaps a third (moderate) party can come out of the wood work and become a viable option. I doubt it though, most likely moderates will continue to switch back and forth as they become dissatisfied with their party de jour.Why are you assuming that the Dems will move to the far left? Because the Republicans moved to the far right while they had total control of the White House and Congress? That's an assumption that may not be justified and you should be wary of such logical fallacies.#145 Towndrunk06Spectre is a complete and utter weasel. Anyone, Republican or Democrat who switches their affiliations (especially when the two thirds veto over-ride is on the line) cannot be trusted and should be voted out of office. He is doing this completely to save his own skin and stay in the senate, and get a committee appointment. If it were truly a matter of "principle" he could have switched to independent.You are so wrong. PA has a closed primary--which means that if you are not a registered Democrat or registered Republican YOU CAN'T VOTE IN THE PRIMARY. That's why there are so few registered Independents in PA and why so many former Republicans (like myself) are now Democrats and not members of another party. Specter couldn't even participate in the primary, for that matter. In the primary, you can only vote for the candidates in your own party. So Independent is not an option for him.Why is he a traitor for changing parties? Why should he stay if the party's values are no longer his own? He hasn't changed his political philosophy. The GOP has. He didn't leave the GOP--the GOP left him. It moved too far to the right and has gotten away from its principles of smaller government. Its sole platform now is abortion and its ruled by a bunch of religious nutters, idealogues, and uneducated rednecks who would plunge us into a theocracy if they had their way. Thu 30 Apr 2009 15:00:22 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=82#comment176 163, RomeStu -"Or you could move to centralised party funding on congressional campaigns, with limits on spending in each area."Large amounts of money in congressional campaigns are not always effective. In the 2006 mid-terms in Vermont, a wealthy Republican guy (whose name I can't even remember now) spent more per vote than has ever been spent in any state-wide election anywhere, ever, running for the Senate seat vacated by Jim Jeffords, but lost by a large majority to Bernie Sanders (who, as I recall, got over 80%), who spent a lot of time tramping around the state and hanging out in diners, as he did every two years while in the House.And of course back in the 90s there was farmer Fred Tuttle, who with practically no money and no serious platform won the Republican primary against a well-funded opponent, and then promptly endorsed his Democratic opponent, Patrick Leahy. It had pretty much come down to the fact that the well-funded guy had no idea how many teats a cow has. Maybe these things can happen only in Vermont. Thu 30 Apr 2009 14:26:39 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=82#comment175 174 they WISH they were centrist.But then as we all have discussed before american centre is way to the right of any european countryIt has taken an economic collapse to show them (and they are still to be fully convinced) that health care should be universal.If america was as centrist as you wish that would have happened a while back.It may be heading that way. but no where near it yet. Thu 30 Apr 2009 14:14:16 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=81#comment174 lol democracies with one party huge majority. The best time In recent British history was when John major was PM but there was no majority. Everything took more consensus .And Ireland was nudged into the peace that Tony claimed credit for Thu 30 Apr 2009 14:01:49 GMT+1 yet_another_dave http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=81#comment173 Americans love to debate as if there were huge differences between Republicans and Democrats. I think most Americans are centrists; a fact that tends to be hidden by the winner-take-all political system, since we have to support one of two large parties in order to have any voice at all. If we had proportional representation, I think you'd see a significant number of people from both the main parties move to a centrist party, which would become the majority party. For a well-known moderate to change, formally, from "liberal" Republican to "conservative" Democrat has no deep philosophical significance. He probably just felt he had a better chance of re-election as a member of the other party. Thu 30 Apr 2009 13:15:57 GMT+1 faeyth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=80#comment172 We need a third party,where moderates who are the majority of this nation can be properly Represented.Until that happens,you will see moderates change parties whenever the extreme left or right take over a party.The GOP in Michigan is in the same situation as Pennsylvania.Unions and Moderates rule.People in Great Lakes whether Dems or GOP are moderates in this region.That's why when Michigan changed it's election day in party elections for President it was a big deal both parties keep out moderates by have their most extreme or loyal states go first in Primaries.You have moderates fight for control with extremes.You will see this struggle right now in Congress,so far Dems have keep it together.When the next Presidential election comes ,Primary disputes will show up again.No matter what party they need Great Lakes Region to Win(moderates).GOP forgot that when they went over board under Bush administration.And lost the Independent vote.The rust belt grows more agitated right now,the people in this region are angry at losing jobs to other regions and nations.The lack of love for this region is showing and voters are getting upset.The car industry and manufacturing.Not to mention the highest concentration of middle-class.It's just the beginning of the Rust Belt to form a voting block and group for Senate and house for negotiations and Health care reform. Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:29:07 GMT+1 Hesiodos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=80#comment171 St Dom (147),"I can't speak for anyone else, but I would love to see three viable parties representing the right, left, and center. In addition to covering the entire political spectrum..."Spectra are one-dimensional phenomena, and only a suitable metaphor for those unable to easily comprehend something as complex as a two-dimensional cartoon;-) Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:24:58 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=79#comment170 # 161 RomeStu wrote: "It may be suicide in the USA, but Winston Churchill "crossed the floor" twice and it seemed to work out for him."Ah yes, Churchill. GWB's hero ;-)As you say, he left the Conservatives for the Liberals - and then rejoined the Conservatives. Perhaps this was a matter of principle - or perhaps it was connected to the fact that the Liberal vote had plummeted.I believe there is a quote attributed to him on this issue. Something like 'Anyone can rat. It takes a certain talent to re-rat.' Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:21:59 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=79#comment169 # 150 rodidog wrote: "That depends on your definition of moderation and fairness. Perhaps only someone on the far left would think the majority of democrats and their policies are moderate, and those of Republicans are automatically far right."Or alternatively - ""That depends on your definition of moderation and fairness. Perhaps only someone on the far right would think the majority of Republicans and their policies are moderate, and those of Democrats are automatically far left." Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:16:57 GMT+1 Hesiodos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=78#comment168 St Dom (138), "In the interim, the only option is to vote for the individual rather than party which, in some ways, is nothing more than a vehicle to provide campaign funds, organization and a common voice."And to make sure that "common voice" is the best possible marketing tool, with little regard for moral. ethical, or philosophical principles.The goal of a Party is to get into, or remain in, power. All other matters must be considered secondary....Consult Machiavelli Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:16:45 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=78#comment167 # 143 Gary_A_Hill wrote: "When people say we need another party, I suspect that what they really mean is that they want another party with which they are comfortable, and which has a reasonable chance of winning elections. The second part is the hard part. You can't force people to support your party; if your political views are in the minority, too bad."As I said before, 'first past the post' systems tend to lead to 2 big parties, as a vote for a third party tends to be a wasted vote. For example I saw a poll a few years ago when the '3rd party' in the UK, the 'Liberal Democrats', were at c 25% in the polls - vg for them. The poll showed that they'd be at c 35% - ie with a vg chance of being in govt - IF PEOPLE THOUGHT THEY COULD WIN. [Sorry for the shouting - don't know how to italicise.)The point is - they were in a Catch 22. People wouldn't vote for them in sufficient numbers because they couldn't win - and they couldn't win because enough people wouldn't vote for them.... Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:14:48 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=77#comment166 # 141 saintDominick wrote: "More often than not (the last election was a rare exception) we are faced with candidates whose main attribute is their incompetence and whose priorities reflect the interests of the extreme right and left, leaving centrists marginally represented"Really?Perhaps excluding GWB - who ran as a 'compassionate conservative' - would you really consider eg Kerry, Gore, Dole, Clinton or Bush I - to name but a few recent candidates/ Presidents - to be either incompetent or ideologically extreme? Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:08:56 GMT+1 Hesiodos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=77#comment165 Gary (128 again), "As for the UK, I understand there are some advocates of proportional representation there, presumably members of minor parties who don't have political power. The UK is the very model of stable government, and some would change it? What are they thinking?"They are hoping to rid themselves of a situation in which a "government" can have a "filibuster-proof" "majority" on the basis of slightly more than one third of the total popular vote!Scotland's Parliament, based upon a hybrid system of proportional representation has begun to show the way forward."Majorities", especially large ones, are absolutely toxic to good democratic government.Peace and an end to Parties Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:07:19 GMT+1 Hesiodos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=76#comment164 Gary (128), "It is the proportional systems which sometimes lead to a multiplicity of parties in parliament. Sometimes this works well enough, as in Denmark. Then there's Italy...."And thn there's [unmentionable]Salaam, etc. Thu 30 Apr 2009 12:01:34 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=76#comment163 Sen. Specter's defection to the Democratic party was prompted by the likely probability that he was not going to win the nomination of his party and he wants to serve another term. I doubt his decision will have a significant impact on the advancement of the Democratic agenda. He is still the same man that voted his conscience when he was a Republican, and in all likelihood he will do the same as a Democrat. However, he may prove to be the key to pass healthcare reform, an initiative he has supported for years. I wonder who is going to champion fair immigration reform...McCain? Thu 30 Apr 2009 11:44:02 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=76#comment162 157 marbles"Disgustingly true. And even if a politician were to start out honest, the system would corrupt him. I champion halving the number of senators and representatives. We would save untold billions and cut the rot by half."Or you could move to centralised party funding on congressional campaigns, with limits on spending in each area.This way any political donations could be made ONLY to the party, not to the individual.Any benefits, bonuses, sports/opera tickets, or other sweeteners would be declared in a register of interests and taxed as income.Just make it look possible and watch the piggies run for their lives... Thu 30 Apr 2009 09:18:39 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=75#comment161 128 garyThat's a good analysis of the raison d'etre for political parties.However I would add a couple of things, and they're things I believe the US political system would benefit from.1) parties should have a declared platform - a published manifesto of their policy ideas. This would mean that it is not the media who interpret to the public what each party represents.2) each candidate in the presidential primaries should publish their personnal manifesto - it would save all that wondering what they really think.3) spending should be capped by law in congressional campaigns to allow 3rd party or independent candidates to have a slight chance of election.4) electoral college votes should be distributed proportional to votes cast in the state.Just my opinion. Thu 30 Apr 2009 09:05:43 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=75#comment160 117. ArthurofKansas wrote:"Senator Specter has been out of step with Republicans for years but changing parties is usually political suicide."It may be suicide in the USA, but Winston Churchill "crossed the floor" twice and it seemed to work out for him. Thu 30 Apr 2009 08:53:39 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=74#comment159 #4. foxtrottango1: "A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy" - Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)Disraeli was not speaking of conservatism as a political philosophy, but rather of a Conservative (Party) Government. British and American parties did not and do not have direct parallels. Thu 30 Apr 2009 06:45:55 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=74#comment158 #153 Sam,I like Specter, even if I don't agree with him all the time. It's sad he chose not to fight it out in the primary. With that said, I still think this is more about Specter and less about the party in general. Had the polling shown him ahead, Specter would still be a republican regardless of any perceived platform shift in the party. Thu 30 Apr 2009 05:27:27 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=73#comment157 #152 bere54,I do know moderate when I see it, whether it be moderate Democrats or moderate Republicans. I happen to understand fairness too. Which is what the far right doesn't understand at all. Unless something really unfair happens to them personally. Then they scream even louder than they do when "others" are treated fairly. Which is pretty damned loud.With all respect, if you're going to claim fairness, you should start by not making declarative statements against millions of people based on political differences. In most cases, it's not the question of fairness, but more a question of the role of government. Instead of missing anything you hold near and dear, I would be happy to continue the question of fairness, if you will provide an example or two of what you believe is unfair. Thu 30 Apr 2009 04:41:02 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=73#comment156 154, foxtrot."The truth is, American politics, especially in Washington D.C.,is like a big feedlot auction. The only difference is, bovines, cattle or hogs, are not being auctioned. American politicians are and for the highest bidders. But the stench is still the same!"Disgustingly true. And even if a politician were to start out honest, the system would corrupt him. I champion halving the number of senators and representatives. We would save untold billions and cut the rot by half. Thu 30 Apr 2009 03:47:40 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=72#comment155 101, kasichana."I disagree with your assessment that God is not back because it suggests that the Republican party is the sole defender of faith. I think people still believe in God but are just more moderate in their expression of faith."But it was one the Republican Party that made faith central to its platform. And they championed a fundamentalist and evangelical minority that believes in creationism. The Democrats, except for trying not to alienate this somewhat whacky fringe, gave little weight to religion. Perhaps most people, including the more moderate blievers, would prefer not to create a political religious battleground. And let's not forget that the proportion of atheists is growing and is no longer silent. Thu 30 Apr 2009 03:37:34 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=72#comment154 145, towndrunk."He is doing this completely to save his own skin and stay in the senate, and get a committee appointment. If it were truly a matter of "principle" he could have switched to independent."As an independent he coudl nt have run in the primaries. Thu 30 Apr 2009 03:20:18 GMT+1 foxtrottango1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=71#comment153 "A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy" - Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)The fact is, the GOP self destruct last November. It became the Party of No, no credibility, no thrust, no brains, no truth, no new ideas, no nothing, nada, no mas, fini, kaput, the end!It was just a matter of time before the truth caught up with them.But I believe that once a conservative, always a conservative. I don't trust Specter anymore than I thrust Dick Cheney, Condo, Karl Rove, GW Bush and these are just the live ones!The truth is, American politics, especially in Washington D.C.,is like a big feedlot auction. The only difference is, bovines, cattle or hogs, are not being auctioned. American politicians are and for the highest bidders. But the stench is still the same! Thu 30 Apr 2009 02:39:08 GMT+1 SamTyler1969 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=71#comment152 #150,Doggy,Generally to see the trend in a party's platform you look to see who is defecting to the other side. When folks like Specter find themselves uder seige in their own party but loved by their electorate, it is an indication their party is moving away from the center. And I swear the defection had nothing to do with Mrs Specter meeting a Pirate impersonator a couple of weeks ago at a fundraiser. Next time, full Pirate regalia.Arlen will win re-election by 10 points. Just a prediction.Sad Sam Thu 30 Apr 2009 02:19:53 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=70#comment151 150, rodidog - Since I'm not on the far left, I can't say definitively what they would think. I do know moderate when I see it, whether it be moderate Democrats or moderate Republicans. I happen to understand fairness too. Which is what the far right doesn't understand at all. Unless something really unfair happens to them personally. Then they scream even louder than they do when "others" are treated fairly. Which is pretty damned loud. Thu 30 Apr 2009 01:29:17 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=70#comment150 Ref 148, GaryI don't expect Tinker Bell or death squads will play a significant or even a marginal role in the eventual emergence of new political parties in the future. Rather, I expect the American people to demand it out of necessity and because of the disgust that many feel when politicians and political parties overreach to achieve their narrow goals. There is no logical or legal reason why our presidential election process should be dominated by two large political parties. Frankly, if it was up to me I would demand that candidates running for President renounce membership in their respective political parties when they announce their candidacies; and they should all receive equal funding from the government. Campaign finance reform designed to lessen the influence of special interests would produce candidates committed to the betterment of our society as well as the physical and economic security of our country, instead of those whose top priority is to reciprocate to donors and serve the interests of their political parties. Thu 30 Apr 2009 01:28:56 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=69#comment149 #139 bere54,I don't understand why anyone would assume the Democrats will move increasingly to the left (unless the assumer is paranoid) since most of them are moderate. Many of the Democrats' policies only seem left to those who are on the far right. Sometimes what some people see as "left wing" are policies that are really just a matter of fairness. Or is fairness now radically left-wing?That depends on your definition of moderation and fairness. Perhaps only someone on the far left would think the majority of democrats and their policies are moderate, and those of Republicans are automatically far right. Thu 30 Apr 2009 00:28:08 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=69#comment148 147, saintDominick -We have what you describe on a tiny scale here in Vermont, and there are several parties represented in the legislature. Unfortunately a third party candidate hasn't yet made it to the governor's office but I think it's only a matter of time. We have a strong third party. Often, though, what works on a tiny scale is either unworkable on the large scale or will take a very long time to become effective.I share your druthers because usually I am disgusted with both Democrats and Republicans. Wed 29 Apr 2009 23:18:19 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=69#comment147 saintD (#147) "I would love to see three viable parties representing the right, left, and center."Yes, I got that. Now give me a practical suggestion for how you are going to go about achieving your heart's desire. Do you think Tinker Belle is going to wave her magic wand and realign the political landscape to suit your taste?Suppose TB obliges you and presto you have three major parties. How do you propose to prevent the members of these parties from realigning themselves into two groups in order to increase their chances of winning elections? Some sort of secret police force? Death squads to remove the "incompetent" candidates? Who will be in charge of these? You? Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:58:00 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=68#comment146 Ref 143, GaryI can't speak for anyone else, but I would love to see three viable parties representing the right, left, and center. In addition to covering the entire political spectrum they would be more apt to nominate competent candidates and propose platforms that are consistent with their ideological leanings. Although I am a Democrat, I tend to vote for whomever best represents my views, and have voted for Republican candidates to the Senate, the House and Governorships on numerous occasions. I do become frustrated when the choice is between candidates such as George W. Bush and John Kerry. I voted for Kerry, but that was a tough pill to swallow. Yes, there are usually several candidates running for President, but without adequate funding only those representing the two major parties have a realistic chance of winning. Voting for the lesser known is just a Quixotic act that may give some comfort, from a protest vote perspective, but accomplishes nothing. Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:44:33 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=68#comment145 saintD (#141), sure, but you are just talking in platitudes. For me, idealism gave way to pragmatism a long time ago. In a free society, you can't force moderate Republican leaders (or anyone else) to form a new party, and you can't force any existing party to conform to your way of thinking. If you could, you couldn't force anyone to vote for its candidates. If you don't like the choices, you can write someone in or create a new party yourself or run yourself as an independent.As for me, I choose to live in the world into which I was born. The things I can change are small things; the rest I can live with. Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:20:10 GMT+1 towndrunk06 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=67#comment144 Spectre is a complete and utter weasel. Anyone, Republican or Democrat who switches their affiliations (especially when the two thirds veto over-ride is on the line) cannot be trusted and should be voted out of office. He is doing this completely to save his own skin and stay in the senate, and get a committee appointment. If it were truly a matter of "principle" he could have switched to independent. Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:19:07 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=67#comment143 142, Wil_Ng -You contradict yourself. If it doesn't matter which party a person belongs to, and if his constituents voted for him and not his party, why should the voters ditch him for switching parties? He's still the same man and will probably continue to vote the way he always has. His party ditched him because he voted for what he thought is best for the country instead of the party line. Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:15:50 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=66#comment142 Here are some more fun facts on party choices, compliments of the Federal Election Commission. I live in California, a large state. We had nine choices for president on the 2008 ballot. Only 36 voters were so "desperate" for more choices that they cast a write-in vote.When people say we need another party, I suspect that what they really mean is that they want another party with which they are comfortable, and which has a reasonable chance of winning elections. The second part is the hard part. You can't force people to support your party; if your political views are in the minority, too bad. Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:10:03 GMT+1 Wil http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=66#comment141 Any person that vote along partyline and not what they thing is best for country should not be elected. The media need to educate the people to this. Who care which party the person belongs to, look at what the person voted for.For a person to switch party to gain election.... Ditch him fast. Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:01:06 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=65#comment140 Ref 140, Gary"...so what's the difference?"The difference, in my humble opinion, is that we may be able to choose competent Presidents instead of having to choose between the lesser of two evils. More often than not (the last election was a rare exception) we are faced with candidates whose main attribute is their incompetence and whose priorities reflect the interests of the extreme right and left, leaving centrists marginally represented. Wed 29 Apr 2009 22:00:09 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=65#comment139 saintD (#138) "I agree that a third party representing moderate or centrist constituents is desperately needed."Who's desperate? Certainly not Democrats of any stripe, as they have control of everything for the first time in a long time. Only moderate Republicans who have been marginalized by those in control of their party, and who are unwilling to switch to the Democratic Party. Here's an article which sheds some light on their current situation:http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=what_ever_happened_to_moderate_republicansTheir choices are to create the party you want, or to recapture the Republican Party. My reading of this article is that their objective is to restore the Republican Party to its roots rather than split off. This is much easier than starting a new party, and has a greater liklihood of success. Splinter parties have a difficult job. Consider the Libertarian Party, for example. This is one of the better established minor parties, yet many Libertarians (e.g. Ron Paul) chose to remain in the Republican Party last year. The Libertarians got only four tenths of one percent of the vote.It's too soon to say, but if the Republicans do poorly a few elections in a row, the chance of the moderates gaining influence increases. A split in the party would require something more fundamental than a poor showing in a few elections to trigger it, as when the parties realigned in the pre-civil war era on the issues of slavery and secession.As for independents like myself, although there is no party which I feel represents my views well, I'm certainly not desperate. If there were a party with which I were completely comfortable, it could not elect anyone, so what's the difference? Wed 29 Apr 2009 21:37:43 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=64#comment138 I don't understand why anyone would assume the Democrats will move increasingly to the left (unless the assumer is paranoid) since most of them are moderate. Many of the Democrats' policies only seem left to those who are on the far right. Sometimes what some people see as "left wing" are policies that are really just a matter of fairness. Or is fairness now radically left-wing? Wed 29 Apr 2009 21:30:17 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=64#comment137 Ref 137, RodI agree that a third party representing moderate or centrist constituents is desperately needed. In the interim, the only option is to vote for the individual rather than party which, in some ways, is nothing more than a vehicle to provide campaign funds, organization and a common voice. Wed 29 Apr 2009 20:44:02 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=63#comment136 #136 PAKatie,The GOP is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Until the GOP moderates its views, it will continue to be the minority party and will be relegated to the fringes of the American political system.With absolute power, democrats will increasingly move to the left. Where does that leave moderates? Perhaps a third (moderate) party can come out of the wood work and become a viable option. I doubt it though, most likely moderates will continue to switch back and forth as they become dissatisfied with their party de jour. Wed 29 Apr 2009 20:06:18 GMT+1 Kay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=63#comment135 The funny thing about this is that the guy the GOP was going to run against Specter--Pat Toomey--makes Rick Santorum look like a liberal. The only ones who will vote for Toomey in the general election are Republicans...which means that seat will go Democratic anyway. Instead of using this as a what-are-we-doing-wrong moment, the GOP is as usual burying its head in the sand and refusing to think about why not only Specter but 200,000 Pennsylvania Republicans (like me) have defected because of the party's move to the far right. No, that's not a typo. 200,000 moderates who can no longer abide by the religious right's coup d'etat of the GOP; 200,000 rational, thinking people who are tired of the "Party First" mentality.The GOP is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Until the GOP moderates its views, it will continue to be the minority party and will be relegated to the fringes of the American political system. Wed 29 Apr 2009 19:09:44 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=62#comment134 129Nah that was felix lighter.132 Gary I'm with you. this guy reminds me of the sort that it is hard to take seriously, because there seems to be little truth in the comment posted here. ie I don't think they are truthful about their views before the election. just politically sensitive to say the right escape clauses before attacking with their own strangeness Wed 29 Apr 2009 18:39:04 GMT+1 Via-Media http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=62#comment133 133 rodidogThat depends on how much we as a nation have changed. If past precedents are any measure and the economic crisis persists, we're liable to see the Democrats entrenched for at least the next 2 election cycles. Especially if the Republicans can't start reinventing themselves.If things move at a faster pace now, then yes, it's possible that the Democrats will assume the mantle of invincibility early... and pride goeth before the fall.130 Mr. Dumbface Very nicely stated! Things sometimes look a lot different from the inside, and I don't see a whole lot of anguish here in PA over the good Senator's decision. Wed 29 Apr 2009 18:24:13 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=61#comment132 #92 Via-Media & #102 arclightt,I think 10-12 years is wishful thinking. In a normal political cycle this might hold true. If unemployment is at 10-11% in November 2010, which seems likely, those in power could have it rough in the polls. Wed 29 Apr 2009 18:01:48 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=61#comment131 David (#127) " ... otherwise it was an unusually harsh observation."Perhaps, but I think newcomers should study a little US civics first before telling us how our system should work, and calling a distinguished Senator a "coward." US citizens could stand to study civics too, for that matter.After looking at gordon's post on the newer thread, I don't think I was harsh enough. Wed 29 Apr 2009 18:01:13 GMT+1 sean33z http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=61#comment130 I remember when Arlen was a prominent Republican during Jack Kennedy's Administration. He served the Commonwealth well during the last several decades in the United States Senate. The Bush Administration destroyed the conservative values of morality, frugality, and prosperity. I hope Arlen is very successful during the Obama Administration. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:58:38 GMT+1 MrDumbface http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=60#comment129 To gordonclifford (post 112): As a registered voter and citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I must, with all due respect, disagree with your claim that Sen. Specter's switch in parties constitutes a "betrayal of those who voted for him." Pennsylvanians are notorious for being independent-minded ticket-splitters, and they have not supported Sen. Specter for five terms simply because he is a Republican. Pennsylvania has a long history of supporting moderate candidates from both parties: examples include former Sen. John Heinz, former Gov. Bob Casey, former Gov. Tom Ridge, and current Sen. Bob Casey Jr. Keep in mind that Sen. Specter won reelection in 1992 and 1998, two years that were bad for Republicans nation-wide, and has enjoyed enormous popularity, despite the fact that a Pennsylvania has not supported a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Sen. Specter has succeeded in spite of his partisan affiliation, not because of it. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:52:56 GMT+1 American Sport Fan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=60#comment128 Re 126for the Record, Bond can't set foot in the US seeing that he's wanted in question with regards to the current scandal on torture. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:52:35 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=59#comment127 john-in-Dublin (#122), you have a better grasp of this than most Americans, who typically don't understand political dynamics very well. Your observation about political parties developing in every democratic system is correct; they do so because a political party essentially is nothing more than people choosing to work together for a common purpose.We (in the US) tend to have two dominant parties because we elect our president. A third party does not have a reasonable chance of electing a president, so the third dominant group tends to become a faction in one of the two major parties instead.In a parliamentary system where members are elected to single-member districts, as in the UK and Canada, there tend to be more than two significant parties, but only a few. This is because third and fourth parties can have regional strength which allow them to win seats. A third party in parliament can participate in the choice of executive through a coalition when the first party is weak, so third parties become practical.It is the proportional systems which sometimes lead to a multiplicity of parties in parliament. Sometimes this works well enough, as in Denmark. Then there's Italy. I don't know how it works in the Republic of Ireland, but I think anyone who thinks this would work well in the US isn't thinking very clearly. It would be worse than Italy.As for the UK, I understand there are some advocates of proportional representation there, presumably members of minor parties who don't have political power. The UK is the very model of stable government, and some would change it? What are they thinking? Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:47:11 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=59#comment126 #114. Gary_A_Hill: "gordon (#112), as a non-citizen you seem to take an inordinate interest in US politics. . . . coming from one who is not even a member of the electorate, it's peculiar."Perhaps Gordon is a tax-paying Permanent Resident who has not lived in the US long enough to be eligible for naturalization. Just because someone cannot vote does not mean to say they do not have - or cannot have - a lively interest in American politics. If Gordon does not live in the USA, the comment would have validity, otherwise it was an unusually harsh observation. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:44:51 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=58#comment125 now spectre has defected we should send bond after him. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:14:49 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=58#comment124 marbles I know you will.lolAnd good on you for it. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:13:59 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=57#comment123 on the changing parties.how come Spectre is so derided. he seems like a fairly rational version of an old politician. OK but it seems some think him evil for swapping, or what about his voters. Well lieberman.ready to deride him now. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:13:33 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=57#comment122 120 LOL that is because when the republicans use a song the artists tend to object. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:10:07 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=56#comment121 105 Richard_SM wrote: "Ref: #96. RomeStu / "However politics is always a dirty business."/Yes - but it needn't be. Imagine it without the parties. Without Labour and Conservative parties. Without Democrat and Republican parties. Without whips and party lines. Instead consider a house of independents, who vote solely on merits. Who are accountable to their constituents - not to a political party."People often say this, but I don't know of any democracy where political parties haven't developed. Even if all elected officials started as independents, those with similar views would naturally tend to work together.From what I have seen in Ireland and the UK, though you occasionally get an independent who is genuinely independent, quite often they are just people who have left a party for some reason.I think you also mentioned earlier the possibility of more than 2 parties in the US - or, more to the point, more than 2 parties with a reasonable chance of winning seats. The 'first past the post' system in the US, and indeed the UK, rather militates against this - it tends to be v hard for anyone from a minor party, let alone an independent, to get elected.Proportional representation [PR] systems, such as we have here, are more favourable to small parties and independents - but they tend to have their own drawbacks. Wed 29 Apr 2009 17:04:31 GMT+1 American Sport Fan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=56#comment120 Re 117The Republicans seem to be at war with themselves as the Religious Right and social conservatives have in effect taken over the Party, this is the wing of the Party which is defined by Fixed News and such on air personalies as Rush Limbaugh, (De facto leader of the Republican Party at the moment) Glen Beck, Rill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malikan, and Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingram. When you have Media personalities running your political Party, you are in trouble. Deep trouble. Wed 29 Apr 2009 16:36:23 GMT+1 American Sport Fan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=55#comment119 Re 106 It was pretty much the media who chose the color schemes after the 2000 election as in 2000 Every Media Outlet used Red for Republican and Blue for Democrat. The Parties themselves have never officially adopted the colors though. Nor have they "officially" adopted the symbols. Still the Democrats have more symbols than the republican and can claim at least two Songs as semi official Party anthems. "Happy Days Are Here Again" has been used by the Party ever since 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt used in his campaign against Herbert Hoover. For the last couple of Election Cycle's, we've also been using "Beautiful Day" by U2. 'To my knowledge the Republicans have no official or semi offical song, Wed 29 Apr 2009 16:27:53 GMT+1 Richard_SM http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=55#comment118 Ref #109 Simon21 "Without Political parties others would step in. Then you would have your microsoft congreessmen, your GM Senators." That's because of the perverse system that has developed. Change it. Its not working. Its broken - so fix it. No need for huge, expensive campaign trails. It shouldn't be based on those who've been given the most money from corporations. Its the candidates experience, integrity, ability, and views. Legislate for the media to publish/broadcast each candidates profile and position on the issues/ideologies ahead of elections.Ref # 111 Romestu"Where will we find all these independent politicians?" They stand at election time. Some of them even succeed - Martin Bell, Dr. Richard Taylor, George Galloway. But if political parties in their present form were abolished, then all candidates would be independent. Simplistically, imagine a clockface of issues. A candidate would declare he/she is pro 2, pro 5 and pro 11. Anti 3, 4 and 9. Moderate on 6, 10, 12. Open minded or has conditions to support 1,7 and 8. In the house, loose unity groups would form to support common causes, but find themselves in different groups on other issues. Back to topic and Specter Defector, there is no significance to this and no conclusions can be drawn. Specter is at the very end of his career. He has taken no gamble and stands to lose nothing. Had he been a younger man, it might have been more newsworthy. We've had a similar protest resignation in Britain by Alice Mahon. She's 71 years old. Its not ageism on my part, but lets not get excited by people who wish to end their careers with a dab of apparent conviction. Wed 29 Apr 2009 15:59:58 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=54#comment117 94, David."I've no problem that Specter has switched horses, however, what about all those individuals who vote for him as a Republican? Surely, they must feel aggrieved that their support for the Republicans is now denied."IMany of the Republicans that voted for him were moderates like Specter himself. He would probably not lose their votes. So those votes might put him over the top when he runs as a Democrat. Wed 29 Apr 2009 15:59:36 GMT+1 ArthurofKansas http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=54#comment116 Senator Specter has been out of step with Republicans for years but changing parties is usually political suicide. Clearly, this was done out of desperation as the Republican Party seems to go the way of the Whigs. That’s probably premature, but Republicans need to redefine themselves: just as they could not run on abolition forever, their recent ideology doesn’t resonate anymore. Wed 29 Apr 2009 15:40:16 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=53#comment115 Via-Media (#56), the connotation of "defect" fits the situation well, as is evident from some of the opinions expressed in this thread. Some people consider it a very serious matter when an elected official changes parties. Look up the statement of the Republican chairman.My mother is what is called a "rock-ribbed" Republican. One of our Senators, Wayne Morse, left the Republican Party in the 1950s. She still refers to him as "that turncoat!".To adapt an old saying, Hell hath no fury like a (Republican) scorned. Wed 29 Apr 2009 15:28:05 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=53#comment114 Via-Media (#77), actually, a couple of states have senatorial districts, but not Pennsylvania. Wed 29 Apr 2009 15:20:28 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/what_specters_defection_means.html?page=53#comment113 gordon (#112), as a non-citizen you seem to take an inordinate interest in US politics. Why is changing parties cowardice? It's just politics. The Republicans don't intend to renominate him, so he is seeking nomination elsewhere. This is entirely reasonable to me, if he is not ready to retire. As for "betrayal of those who voted for him," that's nonsense. Senators represent states, not parties. There is nothing in a party nomination which obligates someone to run under that party banner in subsequent elections.This kind of attitude is usually sour grapes motivated by resentment felt by those in a dwindling party, in this case Republicans. Coming from one who is not even a member of the electorate, it's peculiar. Wed 29 Apr 2009 15:12:41 GMT+1