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. james miller

    Anyone to the LEFT of the present Republican Party is branded a liberal/ fachist/communist/ anti-American socialist, etc. -– Doesn`t that tell you something ??????

    April 29, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Ms. Snow come over to the Democratic party, you will be welcomed with open arms. But be prepared to be called nasty names by all the GOP's talking heads, "traitor, Benedict Arnold, and leftist." That is ok because only 21% of the country will identify that they belong to the GOP. Come on over to the MAJORITY!!!!

    April 29, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Nathan,

    If moderate Republicans really cared about America they would join the Democratic party and influence some of the decisions that will come from the marjority instead of wallowing in the mire with those Republicans losers. AS long as they stay Republicans they will have no influence at all. The Republicans won't hear them becasue the conservatives own the party and the Democrats won't need them because they have such an overwhelming number of votes. At least in the Democratic party they'll be heard.

    April 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Unshrub

    The next time there is a filibuster and the vote is 60 to 40 to stop it, Rush can sit back and know that he was responsible for his party to lose. From a Democrat, thank you Rush, you have made the Senate a place where the Democrats can finally get things done without having to cater to a bunch of extreme right-wing republicans. We could not have done it without you. In fact, you have been great in showing the country how much of a nut case the right has become. Thank you.

    NOTE: CNN, this time have the integrity to keep this comment. Why must CNN try to censor these comments?

    April 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Big Ed

    She makes some very good points. It shows she is an independent thinker and has comon sense.

    April 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. P from CA

    The radical shift to the right is the reason I left the GOP after 35 years. There is no room for moderates anymore. They only have themselves to blame. They need to move from 19th century ideas into the 21st century.

    April 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Arie Ripis

    When will we come to our senses and understand that moderation or equilibrium between opposing points of view will prevent the G W Bushes and the Obamas from spreading their unipolar vision? Be a moderate Republican. Be a moderate Democrat. Or is this too naive? Well excuse me. Now I have to go renew my NRA and GreenPeace memberships as well as lobby my congress person to demolish any ideas he has for allowing off-shore drilling while I also demand access to cheap gasoline from Iraq which we have already paid for in moral and monetary support. God please forgive the agnostic for he does not know, and leave the atheists and zealots alone because they believe they know it all.

    April 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Adelita

    Are all the Republicans commenting here really as far right as it sounds? The general impression is that their philosophy is exemplified by Limbaugh and Cheney – ultra-conservative and mean-spirited. If you don't play by their rules they'll take their ball and bat and go home.

    April 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Susan

    I would much rather watch the Survivior show than to listen & read about the bickering between the Democrats & Replublicans. Grow up Congress.

    April 29, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Billy

    Its very simple – An opposition needs to be there to control and balance the extreme other side. Applicable to all parties across all nations.

    But a party needs to stand up to sensibility and honor instead of blind partisan ideology – like the Catholic church did in the middle ages or fundamentalists do today. Its very simple why they lost – The GOP failed to challenge Bush in his destructive path. They cared more about being re-elected and kissing up to the leadership rather than growing a spine and bringing about balance and order. So here it is. A likewise destiny awaits the Democrats should they abandon common sense.

    April 29, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Proud DHS radical

    Ms. Snow don't worry! It will be alright. All you need to do is step back and let the Obama administration step on their own toes such as the Air Force One snafu, bowing to foreign monarchs, Janet Napalitano, broken teleprompters and having a WH spokesman who can't answer the simplest of questions. Enjoy! for everyday Obama or one of his people are going to put their foot in their mouths and we will have a good laugh over it.

    April 29, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Snowe is probably next on the Limbaugh GOP Inquisition hit list.

    April 29, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. LB

    Well at least Snowe understands what McCain has been going through for the past 12 years.

    April 29, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. wakeupamerica

    The Democrat tribe welcomes you Senator Snowe. C'mon over!

    April 29, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Big Jilm

    So what I'm reading between the lines is that the GOP is a group of automotons who aren't allowed to deviate or debate.

    Good to know.

    April 29, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Chuck

    Olympia Snowe, Republican Senator from the the Great State of Maine, has been a moderate voice in the Republican Party for some time now. It behooves the right-wing conservative group of her party to start listening to her and her sound advice. She is the voice of the future, as regards the party.

    If she is ignored, the GOP, as a viable party, is doomed.

    April 29, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. dave

    Come on over we have room for you too Sen Snowe The Democrats are a party where all ideas are welcome.

    April 29, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. nick

    We seem to forget that Sen. Snowe is from the Great State of Maine.
    If the people in Texas or Alaska think they are individuals who have a mind of their own, they should visit Maine, and find out what real individual thinkers are like.... Great comments Olympia, keep up the good work.

    April 29, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Vence

    Since when the republiklans have accepted somebody who looks different, think different, and foresee different. They called this person liberal.

    April 29, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Streamwood Bill

    It's more like American Idol with Rush Limbaugh, not Simon, eliminating contestants in a game of who is Mr. Republican.

    Ann Koulter is the gal and Michael Steele is the other guy. But no one listens to them anyway so they don't even get names.

    April 29, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Tom

    Some on here no longer know the GOP. It used to stand for fiscal conservatism, individual rights, and little government interference in our private lives. Now we see false prophets requiring people to bend to a will and not follow their own individual values. We see so called conservatives wish to pass laws requiring subjugation. We listen to chest thumping and "NO" instead of offering a different path. I liked the GOP because I felt we walked to a different drummer, that we took at "path least traveled." No more. Cheney, shut up, be quiet, you screwed up long enough. You ought to have enough sense to be quiet, GW does. We need leaders who engage in the national discussion, who offer alternatives instead of bombastic asses braying loudly to out shout the opposition.

    April 29, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. matt

    Core fiscal principles???? Where were your core fiscal principles when you voted in favor of the stimulus bill? I'm all for expansion and diversity of thought in the party. However, not at the sacrifice of our very core principle of fiscal conservatism.

    April 29, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. chad

    Why can't the right understand that the rest of America doesn't like the faaaaar right. True, a few faaaar righters got into the White House on a Supreme Court ruling, and stayed in power using the fear of 9/11. But as only Americans can do, we picked ourselves up and voted those yahoo's out. What more of a message does the GOP need? Are they really this dense?

    April 29, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. Gene from Georgia

    Come to Georgia and see the future of the Republican party. Saxby Chambliss and Lyn Westmoreland. God help the GOP.

    April 29, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. LISA

    Come on over Senator we would be glad to have you.

    April 29, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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