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. Pat F

    Snowe's comparison of so-called moderate Republicans to contestants on Survivor is more accurate than she realizes.

    Moderate Republicans like Snowe and Spector feigned loyalty to the Republican party "tribe" because Pennsylvania and Maine have historically been Republican states. In reality, though, they are completely manipulating the voters, with their sole concern being to assure their own political survival.

    Beware, Democrats – All you've actually gotten in Spector is someone to whom party loyalty is a joke. Like the "other woman" who succeeds in getting her lover to leave his wife and marry her: all she gets is a philandering husband.

    April 29, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. eric

    Please move over to the other side MS Snowe. You let us down on the stimulus(ie PORK BILL). The big difference between moderate democrats and republicans is that the moderate republicans seem to let their party down on big issues where as the moderate dems let their party down on smaller issues.

    April 29, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Elaine AR

    Well Duh!!! The term "moderate republican" is now an oxymoron. It would help you guys if Cheney would put a sock in it.

    April 29, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. al

    I can't believe that the people of PA. would reelect him anyway at his age. He makes as much sense as Byrd from WV

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

    Republicans were never really the Big Tent party. I must have been asleep during that decade. I could never imagine these days the GOP accepting anyone with differing view points into their party. Unlike the liberal Dem's who were always made fun of for not being able to "unite". See what "uniting" does now?? The GOP is thru and the Dem's are so diverse they could weather any storm. Olympia.... please, please, please, come to the Democratic Party. We won't even ask you to change your philosophies. You can be just the way you are as long as its common sense you are using instead of idealogy.

    April 29, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Tom L.

    The only reason that Specter left was for selfish, self-preservation reasons. It had nothing to do with anything else. He is a coward and a man that clearly does not stand for his own principles. I ask you this to prove my point: can you think of one person in your life that is politcally interested that has ever changed parties at 65+ years of age?? It's just not logical....

    April 29, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Matt

    I like how all the neo-con's use the argument "Specter just wanted to get reelected." While this is true, the reason he isn't going to be reelected as a Republican is because the fundamental views of the Republican party have changed. Its not Specter who has changed...he won't get votes because he isn't "conservative enough."

    By saying "he just wants to get reelected" you are in fact agreeing with the senator.

    April 29, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    There is always room for more Republicans in the Democrat Party and they have a right to make their own choice without prejudice. Instead of Limbaugh, Steele and McConnell finding blame with Sen. Specter for leaving, they should be focusing on reasons to keep those Republicans they have before they too leave.

    April 29, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Chi Town

    I thought Obama got 53% of the vote...

    That's not what I call a land slide...

    No worry

    April 29, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Wendy

    Where are the republicans today? I can't believe not one comment from the republicans. First of all, I applaud the republicans for standing by what their party stands for. You don't change the foundation for what your party stands for based on what the new fad is. Republican party is based on doing the right thing according to the Bible. No abortion, no gay/lesbian marriages, freedom to protect your family from harm. If a person doesn't agree with that foundation, then they should switch parties. You don't try to change your partys beliefs and standards, you switch parties. So, I say good luck to Sen. Arlen Specter's and Senator Snowe. The Republican party may loose supporters but at least we are standing by what we believe in til the end.

    April 29, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "...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."

    Yeah, like when Republicans abandoned fiscal conservatism, replaced it with religious bigotry, and blew the national debt through the roof. And like when they abandoned a policy of strong nation defense and replaced it with a policy of offensive, self-righteous, arrogance. To Republicans, support of "social issues" became a process of cramming the tenets of their christian bibles down everyone's throats.

    If you learn nothing else from this, Republicans, or your successors: Religion has no place in politics! National policy must be based on the interests of the nation, not on religious ideology, let alone the extreme religious ideology that's become synonymous with the Republican Party. Believe what you will personally, but don't be so arrogant as to presume that your personal beliefs are universal or that they ought to be so.

    April 29, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. RKL-WPB

    Dear Ms. Snowe,
    We would welcome you with open arms as someone who is intellegent and will vote the way those who voted for her would expect her to vote. There isn't a future for you in the Grand Obsolete Party, or for Ms. Collins either. We would be as welcoming and we were to Mr. Spector and would afford the honor you deserve.

    April 29, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Apt analogy on her part. It's actually pretty sad. The one point of rhetoric on which I agree with them is that opposition and debate are necessary: it's just too bad they've decided that they have no need to be responsible, honest or mature in the manner in which they offer their opposition and debate...and that facts, evidence and that pesky thing called reality don't have to enter into it.

    April 29, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Greg in Colorado

    Senator Snowe,
    Come on over where we are the party of maybe and hope and not the party of NO. You can find at least acceptance here where you won't be going down with the titanic.

    April 29, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Dennis, Millbrae, CA

    The Republican Party is shooting itself in the foot with the political equivalent of a thermonuclear device. As a moderate Democrat I would welcome a healthy policy debate over the issues facing this country, but if the wing-nuts of the Republican Party only want to engage in debates over social ideology, ignoring the socio-religious-economic diversity of the country, then they are destined for the scrapheap of political history.

    April 29, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. David - Tulsa

    I would gladly invite Sen. Snowe to take the place of the mental migets we have as Senators from Oklahoma.
    We need only to review just a little history and we would find that changing parties in midstream is not all that unusual and it goes both ways. But the change seen within the Grand Old Party over the last eight years has to make one wonder if even Dwight Eisenhower could get elected today as a Republican. It has not been that long ago when a Republican President singed two executive orders creating the EPA and OSHA (for those wondering is was Richard Nixon). For those hawks or neocons reading this, it was Pres. Truman that gave us the CIA.
    I for one find it refreshing to have an individual stand up, whether for the values of opposition to party direction or for understanding electoral changes on the horizon within the voting populous and be willing to face the music from all directions. Arlen Spectors defection may be a signal of things to come, but it will be the voters of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to decide if they prefer his independence or want another puppet.

    April 29, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Irma in North Carolina

    The republicans not see what damage they have done to the country. And also in the last election when Mccain picked Sarah for his VP. She had nothing but hate come out of her mouth and the hate rallys she had that endangered Obama life and the Way John kept Bashing him. This is not what the people wanted in the white house and the American people showed them. And now they cannot get over the fact they did not win, so they are trying to get back at President by going against everything the President is trying to do. They have lost a lot of members of their party. I am one who quit the party. And the canditates they are throwing out there for 2012 will turn people off. And them listen to Rush, Colter and Ingram, they jumb when ever anyone of those three say a word. I think it will be a long time before you see a republican president in white house. At least 15 to 20 years for the way they have destroyed them selves.

    April 29, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. tompain

    Not sure what the ruckus is about. The Dems don't have any more votes than they did when he was a Repub. He voted to bankrupt the country with the party of "no responsibility" (it's Bush's fault) and now he can take full credit for his efforts. Soon they won't be any other party to point fingers at except at themselves. It's all good.

    April 29, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. The Teester

    Come on over Olympia–the water is fine

    April 29, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Jon

    Olympia Snow is nothing but a RINO anyway. Based on her voting record, and Susan Collin's as well, they both might as well be Democrats anyway.

    April 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. gl, Pittsburgh

    Olympia Snowe should have been selected to run on McCain ticket and maybe McCain would have had a chance. Sara Palin killed his ticket becasue she is set back to women and to far to the right. Olympia Snowe hang in their we need two parties to stay balance.

    April 29, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. chelle

    And John McCain couldn't have picked her????

    April 29, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. VAisforLovers

    That's one Republican that I actually agree with. The party is falling apart, whether there are some out there that choose to not believe it.

    April 29, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Delaware Girl

    Dear Senator Snowe, please consider this as a hand extended in friendship. Join us in the Democratic Party. We would love to have you and your colleague Senator Collins. You will find the Democratic party to be much more willing to listen to your viewpoints than where you are now.

    April 29, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. lied to

    Snowe in 2012! What would the media do to her then? Surely not put her up on CNN as a hero. Instead they would vilify her based soley on her sex, as happened to Hillary and Palin. Just watch and see.

    April 29, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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