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. phoenix86

    The democrats are the party of tax and spend. I don't know what Olympia is doing calling herself a republican.

    April 29, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. mjm

    Snowe is not a moderate. She is a liberal. She supported a stimulus bill that no other moderate republican supported. Not even John McCain, who is a big time moderate. When you are left of McCain, it's time to go.

    Specter had to go. He betrayed the republicans of his state on the stimulus bill. He was going to loss in 2010 to a true republican. He decided to take his chances as a democrat.

    I would rather have all the RINOs out of the party as soon as possible.

    April 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. JG, Seattle WA

    I couldn't agree more. I am a moderate Republican. Fiscally conservative, but moderate socially and with regard to international relations. I disliked most of Bush's policies, including his love for spending.

    The Republicans really need to look at bringing the party more to the middle and consider ditching the religious right's moral stances. Frankly, the religious right is going to vote Republican even if the party shifts more to the middle. But regardless, it's long past time that we stopped letting our party be held hostage by a loud minority.

    April 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. obama/mama

    We have plenty of room on our side for you Olympia. Get away before its too late.

    April 29, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. jill

    I think you have been hung out to dry, your party has no respect for you, heck they don't even respect themselves. If you want to do what is best for the people of your state, come on over to the other side, at least they will respect you.

    April 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. foxnews

    See ya Snowe. You're not needed with true Consevatives!!

    April 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. GOP eating its own

    well, thank you Rush for the cannabalism

    you really don't care much for compromise, its the Rush way or the highway

    "and we (the extreme GOP) will all go down together"

    April 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. JG, Seattle WA

    Let's not kid ourselves. The Democrats are just as much of a "tribe" as the Republicans. In some ways they are just as extreme on certain issues. They just look good now because anybody can look moderate after Bush. But soon people will realize that all the spending and policies that are being put into place now are going to hurt us in the long run.

    Eventually we will either have a third party or the parties will be split up. We need a middle of the road party.

    April 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Little Miss Sunshine

    Hey Ernesto,

    As someone from Georgia I agree with you. Those two idiots that call themselves Senators from Georgia are just pathetic!

    Olympia ... step away from the darkness and come into the light ... join the Democratic party!!

    April 29, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. James Tribbett

    It isn't so difficult to understand Specter's (political) motivation since he has not held a real working man's job in over how many decades? But it is difficult to understand why his cohort would now come out and publicly critique her own party rather than offer up solutions to remedy the problem and restore the Republican party as the party of the people as established by Lincoln.

    April 29, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. ron

    She has no credibility talking about Republican fiscal principles after voting for both the 787 billion pork bill and the 3.7 trillion Obama budget.

    Of course the Lib's on this site like the moderate Repub's. But they didn't vote for McCain, did they?

    April 29, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Greg

    after finding myself at odds with the republican ideas i no longer consider myself a republican. i was going to make the switch to democrat but ive seen more hatred and ignorance from the people posting in these stories over the last couple months than i want to be associated with. the dems make fun of the repubs for being hateful racists… by being hateful and racist. guess im now a independent.

    the people here representing the dems are really making the democratic party look stupid, as are the people here representing the republicans. the character of this country is really taking a beating and we are not going to be better off for it.

    April 29, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Hello to the Great State of Maine! Any interest in swapping Sen. Snowe for Rep. Backmann?

    April 29, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Greg Smith, Clifton Heights PA

    The Demcratic Party is like the trash bin, we are throwing all the trash that was in the Republican Party to the Demoratic Party. The Republican Party is where true American principles lie. The Republican Party is where the future is, after this President destroys this country with socialism..

    April 29, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Harvey

    Yeah, the Rush-led Republicans are using brilliant strategy - weeding out the moderate "undesirables," and shrinking the definition of what a "Republican" is to a small, extremist core of fanatics. Go ahead and kick out all the moderates, and demand total conformity out of anyone you accept. That way you'll have a hardline core... and you'll also appeal only to a small group that will never be big enough to elect you. And, when you've proven that you have no idea how to govern and can only create disasters when you're in office, NOT gettting elected is actually the best way to save your party's reputation!

    April 29, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Steve, New York City

    . . .and therein lies the problem with many conservative movements – if you're not EXACTLY LIKE THEM in every way, shape, form or opinion, they automatically conclude that there is something wrong with you . . .
    even the bumbling Bush #43, calling himself a "compassionate conservative" was kind of funny (implies that a rank-and-file conservative is a mean-spirited, cold-hearted person).

    April 29, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Joe

    Ms. Snowe, It is still not late in the game to get out from the GOP and support Sen. Specter. work honestly with President Obama on economy, creating JOBS,Health care and education . prove these old timer that now we are in the 21st Century.................

    April 29, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Cue the inevitable right-wingers calling Snowe a "RINO" and offering to show her the door if she wants to leave the GOP as well.

    Eventually the GOP will reach total ideological purity and all Republicans will toe the ultra-conservative party line as laid down by Limbaugh, etc.

    Unfortunately, there will only be about 20 GOP Senators left by then, and their purity won't do them much good.

    April 29, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Mike

    Snowe is not a moderate, culturally, or fiscally. Let's stop confusing the public over people who really want a smaller government and those that want to expand it. Go with Specter and stop wasting our money on electing you.

    April 29, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Ted

    If the Republican party ever wants to become relevant again, it needs to take Senator Snowe's sentiments to heart. I have never voted Republican for national office, but I will say there are many in that party that are good people and stand for good things. But they are overshadowed by the current crop of buffoons including Steele, Rove, Cheney, Beck, Limbaugh, and Faux News.

    April 29, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Dave

    Finally someone on the other side of the aile with the brains to realize that an "r" next to your name is the same as an "L" on your forehead. The guy wants to be elected and Republicans are hated....doesn't seem like rocket science to me. Hey Republicans don't open your wrists....you still got the brains of your party, drug-addled Limbaugh.

    April 29, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. In Oregon

    Excellent, Mrs Snowe come join the dems, they will welcome you and treat you with respect.

    April 29, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. cm

    It seems to me that Republican Party motto at this time is:
    Our way or the high way- dominated by the extreme right wing of the party. Extremisms is not good either the right or left-republicans or democrats, only shows lack of openness and inclusiveness and a very narrow minded point of view dangerously close to ignorance.
    Thai is why I am an Independent voter and thinker.

    April 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. rng

    I would love to see more moderate Republicans join the Democratic party.

    1) The Republican Party right now is so scary in a religious fundamentalist way, and their domestic and foreign policies just don't make any sense, and I would love to see their influence wane even further.

    2) The introduction of moderate Republicans would help bring the Democrats more to the center, which I would also love to see.

    Long story short: Democrats are too liberal, and Republicans are apparently both hateful and crazy; influx of Republican moderates to the Democratic Party would fix the first problem and make the second moot.

    April 29, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. RC

    Arlen Spector defected to the Democrats for one reason and one reason only.... to be re-elected. Olympia I think would agree and I agree also that the moderate Republicans are in danger of being picked off by ultra conservatives. I also know that the same can be said of the moderate Democrats, being picked off by the ultra-liberals.
    I hate seeing this country going the way it is going and fear that our culture, morals, and way of life will be dinosaurs in the very near future. Both parties are messed up and leading us to HELL.

    April 29, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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