April 29th, 2009
01:31 PM ET
6 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. Ariana

    Moderate Republicans:

    Start your own party. Democrats are willing to work with you...as long as youre not one of the crazies.

    April 29, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Anna, Missouri

    As a moderate Republican, I left the party in 2004, as have many others. What is left are right wing extremists that are not patriotic or proAmerican. They only believe that they are always right on any subject and refuse to find any common ground on any issue. I live in SW Missouri, and even here, people are beginning to see the light and beginning to question whether or not the Republican party still represents them. For this area, that is huge!!!

    April 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. dood

    The GOP is becomming irrelovent.

    April 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Ashley

    Why didn't McCain select her as a running mate again?

    April 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Doug, New Jersey

    The Republican party stands for greatness, decent people who do the right thing, have personal responsibility, love their nation for the chances freedom has given them and would never wish harm on another person for their political views. They represent the people who show respect, class, dignity, and compassion for others each and every day of their lives.

    If Republicans cannot win by standing for the best of America then it is much better to lose than to sell out to evil. If most Americans have a lib mentality, values and way of treating their fellow Americans then everything that made this nation great is just for the history books and a memory.

    April 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Ashley

    Yes, I know. she has a vision.

    April 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. southerncousin

    Snow, McCain and Specter aren't really Republicans dummies, they are libs who chose the expediency of running as republicans and the libs are so stupid they identify them as Republicans. I remember all the liberal rants against them when they did vote with the Republicans and see all of this hypocritical praise now that they have gone stupid. They belong with the dope smokers. Remember that is the number one request from Obama supporter, legalizationof marijuana.

    April 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Some Republican Guy

    CNN has deleted my earlier post on the economy story. Go see for yourselfs! Once again the koolaid drinking obamabots in the liberal media try to silence the true patriots who speak the truth. Censorship is the beginnings of tiranny!!! Have a nice day.

    April 29, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. DebM, Allentown, PA

    Cmon over Olympia. We'd love to have you and Senator Collins. Unlike most members of the GOP, who believe in politics first, you really do put your country first, and we appreciate you.

    April 29, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Cleaning up after W

    Come on over, Olympia! We won't make you eat bugs or anything!

    April 29, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. George

    Come on over to our side!!!! We care, they don't!!!

    April 29, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. TX Jim

    Sen Snowe.. you are the next one to be voted off the GOP Island. You may as well switch now before a Dem challenges you for 2010 and you have no shot of winning.

    Dems know the GOP doesnt want you anymore, make the switch today.

    April 29, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Jamie

    I am not a republican but I have long admired Olympia Snowe for her good common sense and honesty. Maybe she will be the next one to come to our team. I'm really sorry that, these days, the GOP has turned into a monster that's preoccupied with eating it's young.

    April 29, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. KMAN

    What the h*ll is a voice of reason doing in the GOP? Must be extremely lonely being amongst such loathsome creatures!

    April 29, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. Jake

    Senator Snowe, the Democratic Party will welcome you with open arms!

    April 29, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Kevin B

    As long as the republican party is held hostage by millionaire talk radio host and narrow minded "religious" zealots and continue to use name calling as a political tactic, they will continue to loose americans who are tired of the childish BS. in these tough times

    April 29, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Sally from N Dakota

    Everything said right!!

    When the country is falling down a hill, there should be NO PARTY basis – everyone who is not part of the solution is a part of the problem – SIMPLE!!

    If GOP continues this way, they will be EXTINCT in another 12 years!!

    April 29, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Mel_Brooks

    I believe that making the Republicans out to be the bad guys in Sen Spectre's party switch is just the same old smoke screen. At present, he is down in the polls against a former republican house representative and that if the PRIMARY were held today, he would lose the primary. Switching was the ONLY option if he wanted to remain a senator. He hopes to gain the Democratic numbers and keep some voters so he could win a reelection. Blaming the Republican party is now getting to be very old especially since the Democrats have been in charge of both the house and senate for the last few yrs. Anything that was passed had to have been started and voted on by Democrats then signed off by Bush.... not the other way around....

    April 29, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. AP in Illinois

    Dear Senator. Snowe...come on in, the water's warm!

    It's not even close to as bad as the naysayers like Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter will tell you it is to be a Democrat. If you join us, you might even get some of your ideas enacted into law. It's about time to sit at the adults table and be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    April 29, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Mike in Texas

    Although the fiscal tenets of the Republican party are important, it is the social issues that are paramount. A society that abandons a consistent, common, permanent moral code is one that is doomed to destruction. The growing relativism of recent years is such an abandonment. That abandonment has resulted in ignoring and denying the core principles, values and ideals upon which the U.S. was founded, moving us ever closer to a socialist govenment that controls every aspect of our lives and, thus, a dictatorship. If we are to avoid this consequence we must return to the common, consistent, permanet, faith-based (not religion based) moral code held by the founding fathers and the general population when the country was founded.

    April 29, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. No Incumbents 2010

    Snowe is exactly right. The obsession for ideological purity is the source of the GOP's demise. If the GOP wants any hope of regaining majority status they should listen to moderates and independents while focusing as a party on what unites Repugs can agree on...smaller government, transparency, competency, economic growth and individual liberty. Inidividual Repubs may differ on other issues without driving people out of the party. Instead, Repugs like Rush and Steele are driving away the very centrists that it needs to grow.

    April 29, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Adam

    How about opening up a broader discussion about the need for a viable third party? Politics have been so polarizing that Democrats and Republicans have had to band together in numbers for protection, when that clearly does not represent the will of a significant portion of the voting public. If a serious effort was made to create a third option – representing fiscally conservative politics and social and environmental ethics, all while showing an openness to listen and actually work together for the greater good – those willing to take the leap would find a surprising level of support. It may even pave the way for a reform of the political system that this country needs and whose citizens deserve.

    April 29, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. David

    Snowe's got it all wrong. Specter wasn't going to lose in the primary because he was more liberal on social issues. Specter's been re-elected many times despite that. Specter was going to lose because, by voting for the stimulus bill, Specter (along with Snowe) demonstrated that he is not a fiscal conservative either. If you're not a fiscal conservative, and you're not a social conservative, then you're not a Republican. And that's why he was going to lose.

    April 29, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. Brady

    I definitely agree with Senator Snowe. Moderates have been all but excised from the Republican Party, and the party has been completely taken over by the New Christian Right. Republicans need to return to the idea of small government and "states first", but they've been overrun by conservative Christians on social issues.

    April 29, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. J.Crobuzon

    "Mommy, what was a Republican?"

    'I'll show you one in the museum next week, honey."

    April 29, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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