April 29th, 2009
01:31 PM ET
9 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. Robert in CT

    So what keeps Olympia Snow in the culture war "Party of Torture" I wonder. I don't understand why anyone who is not one of these lock-step pro-religious/authoritarian government Republicans stays with them.

    If the party as a whole spoke like Snowe does in this statement, I might vote Republican again, as it is, this Christian who is also conservative on many issues could never cast a vote for a party that has become the world's primary advocate of torture, privileges for the wealthy, the reduction of our basic constitutional rights, and preemptive war.

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

    @Jimmy April 29th, 2009 12:59 pm ET
    Alan Spector left for only one reason. To get reelcted.


    You should read the entire article before you open your mouth and let us all know that you didn't.

    April 29, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Baze

    I feel your pain Ms. Snowe. It's like if you want to be a Republican these days you have to be a negative whining jerk that says a lot of crap before you even think about how stupid it is.

    April 29, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Fan of Common Sense

    I'm hoping this woman is the next to go. The reason the republicans are no longer the majority party is because they have become too much like the dumb-a-crats. The nomination of McCain is the best example of this I can think of.

    It is time for the republicans to jettison their dead-weight (Specter, Snow, McCain, Graham) and return to the Reaganesque policies that made them a great party to begin with. GO REPUBLICANS 2010!!!

    April 29, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Mainer

    As a Mainer (and a Dem) I have to say that I always have, and always will, vote for Ms. Snowe. She casts her vote in the Senate for all Maine people and NOT just her party.

    Keep going Olympia! You embody what Washington should be!!

    April 29, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Bruce

    Olympia, you can go to. if you don't believe in what the Republican party stands for, then we don't want you either.

    April 29, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Frieda, IL

    We've known for a long time that Republicans eat their own. What else is new? I'm so glad we don't have to deal with King Bush and his merciless band of robbers.

    We are so OVER the GOPers. Happy days are here again.

    April 29, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. vern beard

    It's too bad that most are missing the point. Most Americans are poor or middle class and are hurting. Policies and some values such as conservatism have to take back seat to dealing with very real issues which affect mainstream Americans. When people are hurting then all politicians need to unite and address the hurt. Instead of doing that, many repubs want to incite a right wing base with cries of Socialism. They don't care about the people at all.

    April 29, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. norepubs

    Republican party= Very nasty people.

    April 29, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Miss M

    I've always liked Olympia Snowe and hope the GOP follows her lead on this one.

    April 29, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Sammy

    The backlash against the social values hard core has been rising at least since 2006 when the republicans got trounced. The party needs to remove whatever political power they have to get back on track so more people look at them seriously.

    April 29, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. James

    Moderate my foot he is a liberial Republican and they are very few thak god!

    April 29, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Retired US ARMY

    I was a Republican for years, since Nixon actually, however, while my views have not changed radically over the years, the Republican Party has changed. I applaud Specter and would say this so called defection may not and should not be the last unless the Republican Party mends its way.

    Thirty years ago I considered myself and others did too, an extremely conservative, today I am accussed of being a liberal with basically the same views. To be really honest, the Republican Party today scares me more than left wing cry baby liberals ever did.

    I hope more moderate Republicans jump ship, if they don't wish to go all the way and declare themselves as Democrates, at least take the step and go Independent.

    April 29, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Debby

    Who cares if Rendell runs Spector doesn't have a chance to keep his seat switching parties.

    April 29, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Jim

    There was a party in Germany in the 30's and 40's that demanded purity of political thought. They too ceased to exist.

    April 29, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Vincent Petrosino

    I give Olympia Snowe, a very fair-minded and intelligent woman six months before she jumps ship like Arlen Specter from my state did. Although she does not seem to have the re-election concerns he does, her sense of honesty, tolerance and fair play has already done her in with the GOP. The GOP has killed itself over this purity crap just as the Whig Party did in the 19th century. Conservatives owe the demise of the GOP to organized religion which is based on intolerance, hypocrisy, reactionary tenets, negativism and bigotry. Basic conservative tenets about government have become obscured by social issues most Americans believe is not part of governing and are personal issues not subject to government mandates.

    April 29, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Get A Grip!

    Senator Snowe should come over to the democrat or independent party, The GOP is lost in their own self made wilderness. The good ole boy network within the party is on life support without little chance of survival.

    April 29, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Lucy

    Well, another person with a brain in the GOP. Why are you all so fractionated with the ultra conservatives, moderates,etc..? You are right Senator Snowe, get some new ideas in there and maybe we would again be proud to have two parties to contribute. My idea of a republican is Rush limgaugh, and Mike Steele: ignorant, not a new idea since Regan and those were bad ones. Grab a clue before you become a regional party and we have Democrtic Rule for the next 50 years. Y'all have no one to blame but yourselves. Remember Palin? "Let's shake up Washington!" You BETCHA!

    April 29, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Bill

    So Spector the defector changed spots because he felt he couldn't win as a Republican.

    So he abhors the party that wants to protect the unborn, is for a strong national defense, limited governmental intrusion into our lives, lower taxation,and charges that the party has been taken over by the right wing fringe. He now enters a party taken over and led by a Socialist, apologist, elitist agenda.

    Blago wasn't the only one to "make a deal".

    What did the defector get promised in return is the big question.

    April 29, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Claudette

    Olympia Snowe your views are more to the demoocratic way than they are to the far right and we would welcome you to the party!

    April 29, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Rita

    I see that most here feels as if the Republican party should just join the Democrtic party, am I right here? We will see in the next few years just which party should be in control, Obama said this he wants to "remake America" That's a little scarry to me and shows a whole lot of arrogance in him and his party to think that America needs to be remade by them! Are they going to take my good, strong, and independent America and turn it into something that resembles ah, let's see, France maybe?So the Democratic party thinks we just need a great big nanny state? That thought scares me to death, what does it do to the rest of you self-reliant, independent, Americans out there? Last thing here, do most Americans really want to pay at least 3,000 more dollars for their utilities every year that cap and trade would tax us if it passes? If not you better get off your duff and let your Democratic leaders know what you think about this. After all it was one of their own democratic leaders who stood up and said this was nothing but a great big TAX.

    April 29, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. James M. Holmes

    Come on over... and bring a the last of the moderates in the GOP with you!

    April 29, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Minnesotan

    Good riddance, Republicans! You've turned into the party of religious zealotry, hatred, intolerance, cruelty, lies, corruption and have avidly avoided things like facts, logic and reality. Those of us who have seen your misdeeds eagerly look forward to the extinction and irrelevance of your failed political policies.

    April 29, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. some guy in New Hampshire

    Until a majority of activists in the Republican Party realize that ideological purity is not the same as either wisdom or patriotism, the party's only survivors will be the ones that kick themselves off the island.

    April 29, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Leilani

    She's next. I think a moderate republican or right leaning democrat is better suited as an independent.

    April 29, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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