April 29th, 2009
08:40 AM ET
6 years ago

RNC chair compares Specter to Benedict Arnold

RNC chairman Michael Steele compared Specter's defection to the legendary betrayal of Benedict Arnold.
RNC chairman Michael Steele compared Specter's defection to the legendary betrayal of Benedict Arnold.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Over the past 24 hours, angry Republicans have thrown out a flurry of withering descriptions of the decision by Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter to renounce his GOP membership Tuesday to become a Democrat. Now Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is comparing the senator's action to one of the most storied betrayals in U.S. history.

"I hope Arlen Specter's party change outrages you. ...He told us all to go jump in the lake today," Steele wrote in a fundraising e-mail sent to Republicans Tuesday.

Facing the prospect of a primary loss because of "his left-wing voting record," said Steele, Specter had "peddled his services–and his vote–to the leftist Obama Democrats who aim to remake America with their leftist plan."

"You and I have a choice. Some will use Specter's defection as an excuse to fold the tent and give up. I believe that you are not one of those people. When Benedict Arnold defected to the British, George Washington didn't fold the tent and give up either.

"He grit his teeth more determined than ever to succeed. That's what I'm asking you to do today."

Steele has had a rocky start since taking the helm at the RNC, including the loss earlier this week of a hotly-contested House race in upstate New York.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Michael Steele
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Keeth in California

    Benedict Arnold is the GOP. They destroyed this country's economy, treasury, trust, and troops.

    April 29, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Kwesoe

    Michael, the good Senator told you to go jump in the river, so why are you still standing on shore barking. Go jump into the river and while you're there, wash your mouth too, because its full of foul speech. Or better yet, just let the GOP drown in that river of self-righteousness and bigotry.

    April 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Lisa P

    Wow. Steele's words are just pitiful. Anyone who responds to this fundraising e-mail with a contribution deserves to lose their money. The GOP has become the party of losers - and sore losers, at that. Whine on, Michael, whine on!

    April 29, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. sean

    Well the day has come that the repub,s has bit the dust thanks g.w @ d.c man i love this place!!!

    April 29, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. Debby

    The Dems. can have Benedict Arlen. He has never done anything for the state of PA anyway. I hope Rendell runs away with the seat.

    April 29, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. KMAN

    I am somewhat impressed that the rotting corpse that is the GOP still has a voice ... albeit it's the same old tired voice of hatred and blame.

    April 29, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Mike from Calgary

    The Republican just keep digging a deeper hole with their petty and insulting remarks. Steele should think twice before he makes his next, hopefully not so stupid and counter-productive remarks.

    April 29, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. Andi

    Do you hear that sound, GOP? It's the rest of the world laughing at you.

    April 29, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Kanato

    This is the best Chairman Steele can do? True leadership would be to make some dignified statement and move on. Instead his remarks stir the mud and only reinforce how knee-jerk reactive today's GOP is and their inability to recognize their internal weaknesses.

    April 29, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Bert

    I think he left because of the very bad leadership the GOP has. This guy Steele is so far out of touch..... Are you kidding me or what?

    I love Obama, but I'll follow the GOP tomorrow if they came with a better leader than Obama. A leader that is inclusive to all of the people, like Obama is showing himself to be. We are all American's right.!

    Comparing this guy to B. Arnold is a bit of an overkill.

    The GOP played the Palin card too soon. They should have waited to bring her out now. The GOP needs to switch it up at the top. They need a new smart woman, perhaps McCain's daughter, in a few years might be a fresh step.

    April 29, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. american

    I am a Pennsylvania Democrat. I have always considered Arlan Spector to be a man with huge integrity who actually demonstrates what a politician and legislator should be. I am so proud to be able to vote for him now. We got rid of Rick Santorum; we will do all we can to help Spector.

    Too bad about the little-known Democrat who was going to run against Spector–time for him to gracefully bow out and campaign for Spector.

    I was shocked when I read that the RNC was fielding Toomey in the PA Republican primary–how stupid was that??!! Arlen is a power-player, a senior member of the upper body and not someone to be trifled with.

    It's refreshing to see an ethical man use power wisely and well. I can only imagine that Spector sees Obama as a breath of fresh air. It's too bad that Spector couldn't be in the Cabinet.

    April 29, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Lewis in the "Show-Me-State"

    The arrogance of the Rublican Party, and particulrly through their newly elected leader, Mr. Steele, continues to amuse me beyond words! One would think that after a mass of congressional losses, as well as the White House,etc, that they may want to do some self-examination and reassessment of their decades old rhetoric! But NO! Not only do they blatantly refuse to accept any responsibility for their own failures, but they now are setting out to try to discredit and dishonor a very honest and noble statesman, Sen Specter. That is horrific conduct and deportment. They have apparently decided to take the "low road" and continue to use "fear based" hate and rhetoric to try to bring down everyone to their level. Well, the American voters have continued to show them at the polls what they think of their behavior!! SO yoiu guys just keep it up, and we shall continue to show you at the polls what we think of you and your party.

    April 29, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Jim

    So any Republican leaving the party for the Dems is Benedict Arnold? Something tells me that if a Democrat left for the Republicans you'd be welcoming them with open arms.

    April 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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