Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen (“Single-Bullet“) Specter switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party this week. Rush Limbaugh reacted to this news by welcoming Specter’s departure, and added,
“take McCain with you.”
Specter left because the extremist wing of the Republican Party — the ones who listen to and agree with Rush Limbaugh and will tolerate absolutely no compromise of any kind from the most extreme conservative positions — have taken over and are driving others out. This rightmost element, who call themselves the only “real Republicans” have a special name for people like Arlen Specter and John McCain. They call them “RINOs.” RINO stands for “Republican In Name Only” and refers to Republicans who are not conservative enough to meet approval of the absolutists. (What is conservative enough? Half of Texas Republicans want Texas to secede from the United States.)
Arlen Specter is hardly a liberal. He has a solidly conservative voting record, (after switching parties he voted against President Obama’s budget), but not conservative enough for the hard core purists. John McCain won the ire of this element for not supporting torture.
The Limbaugh branch of the party have been working to drive moderate-right members like Specter and McCain out, and are increasingly successful. Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, another target of this element, warned that,
“being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member
of ‘Survivor’ — you are presented with multiple challenges, and you
often get the
distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe.”
This demonstrates just how far the Republican Party has moved from its roots. They have drifted so far away from their mission that even their last Presidential candidate is being urged to leave the party! They have drifted so far from their mission that the “party of Lincoln” has a solid contingent supporting having their states secede from the Union!
This hard-core extremism is also being demonstrated in California, where not a single Repubilcan will vote for a budget — any budget — because their strategy for the state is to “let it go into bankruptcy, let it go off a cliff, we need to prove a point.” The reason that crazy-sounding line has quotation marks around it is because it is a quote. It is also the definition of extremism. And, combined with the 2/3 rule that lets them block budgets, it is the reason California is becoming ungovernable.