April 29th, 2009
01:31 PM ET
5 years ago

Snowe: Moderate Republicans like 'Survivor' cast members

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe likened moderate Republicans to participants on a reality television show known for isolating its members and picking them off one-by-one.
Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe likened moderate Republicans to participants on a reality television show known for isolating its members and picking them off one-by-one.

(CNN) - Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe called fellow colleague Sen. Arlen Specter's party defection disconcerning Wednesday, and likened moderate Republicans to participants on a reality television show known for isolating its members and picking them off one-by-one.

"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," Snowe wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times.

The remarks follow Pennsylvania veteran Sen. Arlen Specter's unexpected defection to the Democratic Party on the eve of President Obama's 100th day in office. A member of the Republican Party since 1966, Specter announced his change of political affiliation to Democrat, citing the GOP has shifted too far to the right of his views and that his chance of winning the state Republican primary next year was bleak.

"It is truly a dangerous signal that a Republican senator of nearly three decades no longer felt able to remain in the party," Snowe says. "It didn't have to be this way."

The moderate Republican senator from Maine blamed the GOP emphasis on conservative social values over the party's core fiscal principles as the reason for Republican voter losses.

"Ideological purity is not the ticket back to the promised land of governing majorities – indeed, it was when we began to emphasize social issues to the detriment of some of our basic tenets as a party that we encountered an electoral backlash," she writes. "We should view an expansion of diversity within the party as a triumph that will broaden our appeal."

"We cannot prevail as a party without conservatives. But it is equally certain we cannot prevail in the future without moderates," Snowe warns.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Olympia Snowe • Republicans
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Hop on the bandwagon Olympia. The far right wants to do away with "moderate republicans." It's their way or the highway.

    April 29, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Justin

    Finally, someone who gets it.

    April 29, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. David

    The GOP has been dividing the country for 8 years. It's no surprise they are now dividing their own party.

    I hope they can get it together - it would be nice to have a viable option other than Democrats - but it doesn't look like they will anytime soon.

    April 29, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Don

    Why isn't Olympia Snowe in charge of the Republican Party? She often comes off as the only one with a brain!

    April 29, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. shucks

    Olympia Snowe, the democrats are waiting for you. You have already been lynched by your own party because of your stimulus vote. At least that is what the party would like you to believe. They are just looking for any excuse to replace you with a right wing religious zealot who will grind the party further into the ground. Do these fools not know that they are the minority and to maintain this arrogance and alenation of moderate and self thinking republicans, that they are destroying their party? Way too many guns, religion, hatred, racism, and people who hold the same ideals as Rush Limbaugh. You will continue to be the minority and will face defeat at every turn.

    April 29, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Melissa

    Ms. Snowe, thats because the GOP keep eating their members alive, and supporting everything that hurts their followers.

    The GOP needs to change. Just look at their reponses to the Swine Flu. Some of the replies on here alone give one pause while reading them to wonder at the sanity of said poster who's more obsessed with the amount of money it might cause than about saving lives and livehoods.

    The GOP is like a pack of ravening canniballistic wolves.

    April 29, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. 21% of Americans are TRAITORS for wanting America to FAIL and 79% of Americans to SUFFER!

    "We cannot prevail as a party without conservatives. But it is equally certain we cannot prevail in the future without moderates"

    Senator Snowe, you have identified the problem but good luck with the execution, since the 21% self-identifed republican "conservatives" in this context means the Taliban religious freaks, the KKK and Aryan Nation with rednecks mixed in for good measure.

    April 29, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Florida Dude

    Looks like another Republican is about to jump from the boat that has Rush as it's captain. It's a shame that differeing viewpoints within a party can't be respected. In my opinion, rigid party platforms hurt discussion of issues. There is no common ground, only scorched earth.

    April 29, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. The specter of change

    Senator Snowe, please join Senator Specter. The Democratic party would be honored to have you. We need your balance and the experience you can offer to make this nation a better place for everyone. I encourage other moderate republicans, including John McCain and his daughter to do the same. Together, we can get this country back on the right track. Thank you for your service to our country.

    April 29, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Mississippi Mike

    Snowe is frustrated because she doesn't fit under either party's political tent. She votes with the Democrats and has blocked Republican input on important bills like the stimulus package, who is she really working for?

    April 29, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Jim

    I think "tribe" is a very good description of what the GOP has become. It makes me think of the book "Lord of the Flies" how all of the kids turn on each other at the end. Sen. Specter would be Piggy. Someone seriously needs to take the conch away from Rush.

    April 29, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Simpliticus

    The real question is: Does Specter's switch to the Democrats cause greater despair to the Republican moderates than did the George W. Bush administration which marginalized these. It probably would be most prudent for the likes of Senators Snowe and Collins to also switch to the Democrats because Republican influence in the Senate will wane as did that influence in the House. Witness John Boehner's lack of control in that hollowed house as he rants and raves for no apparent reasons as his and other Republican votes are silenced by and overwhelming Democratic block of votes. Snowe and Collins just might find a greater philosophical kindred in Democrats than the Republican party that Specter found wanting!

    April 29, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. katiec

    Good for Snowe. She surely knows she will be even more crucified by her party, but such a nice change to hear from a republican who talks with honesty and intelligence.
    And, what she says is true. But they are not and will not listen.
    How a political party can be so out of touch with the country they
    are supposed to represent is is beyond me. They are making
    shambles of our political system and have made us the laughing
    stock of the world.

    April 29, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Hmmm....

    unfortunately this is starting to remind me of a high school sports team that once the game plan starts to look not so good every member goes its own way. This isn't republican/democrat...this is everyone in our country starting to go their own way and that will, over time, make for a loss for everyone.

    April 29, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Wi student

    I wonder how long before Bill O'reilly or any other conservative talk show host begins to rip into the people for questioning the GOP. I'm just thinking that the party will collapse quicker without moderates. The GOP needs more moderates in their ranks.

    April 29, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. Some Guy

    Mississippi Mike wrote: Snowe is frustrated because she doesn't fit under either party's political tent. She votes with the Democrats and has blocked Republican input on important bills like the stimulus package, who is she really working for?

    Uh, her constituents? Imagine that, someone who thinks for themselves instead of blindly toeing the party line. Have a nice day!

    April 29, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Kelly Stephens

    If she really called it 'disconcerning', then she needs english lessons. I suspect she really said 'disconcerting', and the reporter screwed it up.

    April 29, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    Writing this column will further push the Taliban to trash her even more after her free-thinking vote on the stimulus bill. She'd might as well just move over. As noted, Fat-boy and the rest of the zealots are probably already looking for the right robot to challenge her in her upcoming re election bid. Susan Collins is next...

    April 29, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Jimmy

    Alan Spector left for only one reason. To get reelcted.

    April 29, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Ernesto

    Smart lady. I could vote for her anyday. Wish she'd move to GA to replace our resident idiot senators!

    April 29, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Tulsa

    @Don April 29th, 2009 12:52 pm ET
    Why isn't Olympia Snowe in charge of the Republican Party? She often comes off as the only one with a brain!

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    You have found the cause of the Republican slide to insignificance.

    April 29, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. John

    Here is a quick list of moderate Democrats:

    Why is it so important for Republicans to hold off on their morals and beliefs, but not for Democrats to embrace any?

    April 29, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. GuyinIA

    Wow...another Republican that doesn't have brain damage? With Snowe, the McCains, and Specter I believe there might be hope for that party yet...if they all don't leave it.

    April 29, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. J.P.

    Sweetie, there is no uncertainty in your future. Plan your retirement life NOW, so it won't be a shock to you when we vote you out.

    April 29, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. JAY JOHN

    SHE BETRAYED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND HER PARTY
    FOR A LITTLE BIT OF PORK .

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