May 2nd, 2009
01:52 PM ET
6 years ago

Bob Barr: GOP in ‘very deep trouble’

Former Rep. Bob Barr says the Republicans lack a 'coherent philosophy.'
Former Rep. Bob Barr says the Republicans lack a 'coherent philosophy.'

(CNN) - Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr said Saturday it’s hard to “overestimate the damage” that’s been inflicted on the Republican Party - not only with this week's defection of Sen. Arlen Specter, but also the “lack of any coherent philosophy, vision or leadership.”

“The Republican Party is in very deep trouble right now,” Barr said in an interview with CNN.

Barr, who was once a loyal soldier in the GOP, joined the Libertarian Party in 2006 and was the party’s presidential candidate in 2008.

The ex-Republican said he doesn’t feel like he relates to Specter's reasons for switching to the Democratic Party. “Where I came from there really was a philosophical basis for leaving the Republican Party,” Barr said.

Specter, who announced Tuesday he’s switching from a Republican to a Democrat, is making the move for political reasons, Barr said.

Specter said he had found himself increasingly "at odds with the Republican philosophy," but he also admitted the decision was driven partly by a desire to keep his seat.

The senator, who has represented Pennsylvania in the upper chamber since 1980, said he was "anxious" to stay in the Senate - and he did not want to face a Republican primary in order to keep his seat next year.

But Barr said he doesn’t think switching parties will give Specter an automatic win. “I don’t think that the people in Pennsylvania will really appreciate what he did,” he said.

Barr added that Specter’s decision is “just another sign that the Republican Party nationally lacks any semblance of leadership.” Democrats, he said, also don’t have a coherent agenda, but they have “something that Republicans absolutely lack.”

“They have a charismatic leader and they have party discipline. The Republican Party has none of that,” he said.

Asked if he ever considered returning to the GOP, Barr said, “That would make no sense as all, either from a philosophical standpoint or from the standpoint of wanting to join a party that knows what it’s all about.”


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Bob Barr • Popular Posts
soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Greg

    I am a life long democrat. I like a check and balance system. A weak republican party is not good for the country. The republican party needs a new identity. As an African-American male, the republican party has never appealed to me. Until the republican party learns that it must reach out to minorities, it will continue to lose. Most of the country is neither left nor right, but in the center. Until the republicans realize that, they will be in trouble. In order for the party to grow, it has to trim the fat. (Limbaugh)

    May 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. paying the price of the unholy alliance

    between the "conservative christians" – which is an oxymoron in itself –

    who are essentially anti-semitic zionists

    and the AIPAC neo-cons

    who are essentially anti-christian money-and-power-grabbing zionists

    for their political expediency.

    now, if only they can finish each other off,

    humanity will be much better off.

    let's get down on your knees and pray....

    May 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Joe the carpenter

    There is nothing more dangerous than a scared rich white guy, their first reaction is to kill everything in sight to insure their own safety. That is essentially what the stewards of the Republican party are doing right now. The Republican party has no resemblance of its original philosophy.

    May 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. george

    GOP will disappear eventually, just a matter of time. This is the result what started when Nixon developed his "Southern Strategy" 40 years ago. Now all that's left is something akin to "KKK Lite"! This is bad for the country, there needs to be a viable opposition force in American politics! How about the "F**K The Beltway/Wall Street" Party?

    May 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Ditto to what Chipster said about the GOP.

    And ditto to Claire's comments about our dimwit Governor in TX. God willing, he'll be gone soon. Unfortunately, not sure his perceived replacement (Kay Baily Hutchinson) will be much better. She's just a pawn for the old gray haired rich white men establishment.

    I really wish Texans would pay more attention to John Sharp– the man HAS a brain & common sense!

    May 2, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Al Mellen

    Everyone one of you politicians that leaves your own party,,,,,you are no different than the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam war. More than one North Vietnamese joined the South Vietnamese for one reason. The reason was to save their ass,,,,,,,this is what you politicians are also doing. I am sure all of you really feel good about what you are doing. You are disgusting.

    May 2, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. jack

    Former Repuiblicans are idiots, too, so who cares what Bob Barr vomits up?

    May 2, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Paul L

    No this country is in big trouble Bob. The media will give you air time to be a critic of the GOP but the they will not give your party any credit either. It is time for a peoples party. Glenn Beck for president!!!!

    May 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. flucxapacitor

    Bill Maher called it on the Repubs a few years back when The West Wing was ending its run on NBC. Anyone remember Alan Alda's Republican nominee character? He was an anti-religious right, pro-choice, moderate California Senator. There was a memorable scene in which he told his campaign staff, after meeting with some religious nut big-wig, "When I'm President, those people aren't stepping foot in my White House!" Bill Maher then said "how come we can't get a republican like THAT!?" So true.

    May 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Enlightened Voter

    What kills me is the rethuglicans say President Obama is spending too much money. He is spending money trying to rebuild this country yet the rethugs didn't balk at the trillions they allowed bush to spend rebuilding Iraq. What sense does that make other than the fact that the rethugs don't want America rebuilt.

    May 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. christine

    The GOP did this to themselves they put people like limbo, glen beck, o'reilly and fox news as there leaders thats the only mistake they did and they keep on using the same book that karl rove used when they were steeling elections in 2000 and 2004 but the fact is the american people are smart enough to see through the GOP party and i hope we dont have a republicans president for a decade to come so that this country does not have to go back in the HOLE we are in now because of the GOP PARTY

    May 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Marie,San Diego

    Until the GOP stop the hate and fear mongering, nobody in the right mind will join this AWC (all white club).
    I have a message to so-called GOPs hierachy: STOP scaring the non-white voters! Do something positive and don't just keep blocking the President agendas.
    For now, your party will remain the PARTY OF NO. BTW, I finally watched the latest propaganda created by tanned Boehner and I finally concluded that GOP need a major overhaul...like right now
    .
    WANTED: GOP = DESPERATELY SEEKING NEW IDEAS.

    May 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. GOP=Grump Old Party

    The Republican Party has successfully alienated young people, women, blacks, and hispanics – leaving Grumpy Old White Men as the leaders and definers of their party. Having Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and John McCain as your leaders does not bode well for you to bring in the bigger "tent" you'll need to win an election. I for one am glad to be a Democrat and am so very happy that my party stands for civil rights, women's rights and gay rights. I may not agree with everything the Democrats or Obama Administration is doing, but they are far and away much better than what YOU presented for 8 hate-filled years of Bush/Cheney.

    May 2, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. JOE

    Warning to all Washington, D.C. residents.

    Do not pick up any rocks or stones any where in the area at any time...You may destroy the hiding place, and nest, of a Repuke like NEWT, No Chin MITCH McCONNELL, BONER, CHENEY, RICE, ROVE, DUMBFELD, BUSH Sr, BUSH Jr, McPAIN and his BIMBO DAUGHTER. The all like to live in dark wet nasty places out of the sunlight. They can not stand sunlight or any bright light. It drives them crazy and they start to whine immediately. The only way to get rid of them is step on them hard. With the Bush's you will have to hit them with the rock. Especially the scumbag Bush Jr..

    May 2, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. John

    Bob Barr is right. GOP in ‘very deep trouble’

    – All because of Rush Limbaugh, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney.

    May 2, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Henry

    Steve makes a great point:

    Dumpt the religious right. They are either hateful or they blindly follow what is dished up for them by those who seek to control them. When will these good people finally figure out that they have been led wrong. That is unless they are hateful to start with. I wonder how much they follow the teachings of Christ. Never knew Christ to advocate the torture of people like the evangelical right feels.

    May 2, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. JOE

    Warning to all Washington, D.C. residents.

    Do not pick up any rocks or stones any where in the area at any time...You may destroy the hiding place, and nest, of a Repuke like NEWT, No Chin MITCH McCONNELL, BONER, CHENEY, RICE, ROVE, DUMBFELD, BUSH Sr, BUSH Jr, McPAIN and his BIMBO DAUGHTER. They all like to live in dark wet nasty places out of the sunlight. They can not stand sunlight or any bright light. It drives them crazy and they start to whine immediately. The only way to get rid of them is step on them hard. With the Bush's you will have to hit them with the rock. Especially the scumbag Bush Jr..

    May 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Kevin

    30 years of failed economic policy is the Republican party legacy. Even Bill Clinton bought into the misguided approach throughout his presidency.

    I'm not sure if the kind of change we need can be accomplished with the way our government works today. Special interest lobbying has gotten completely out of hand. The best investment a Fortune 500 company can make is in lobbying. A 1000+ to 1 return on every dollar spent is quite an accomplishment.

    May 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Catherine

    For all the skeptics (the totally insecure narcissists and the cult followers of fundamentalist power mongers aren't reachable), Obama is not "charismatic". He is for real. When I heard him twice in town hall meetings it wasn't just that everyone really liked him and his ideas, they left those events liking each other! Leaders inspire their teams to work well together, reach for excellence in whatever position they have, just like a brilliant and inspired coach. What is intense is the hatred that those narcissists and cultists have for Obama. They hate him because he is for real. They cannot stand it. At least its exposing them as hatriots, torture defenders and bullies. Have any of you read their posts on the comments after articles covering the flu outbreak? If you are any type of normal, upstanding American (for that matter human), disassociate from this bunch. Speaking for myself, as an independent moderate, I am more and more rethinking my view of anyone who openly admits to enjoying the banter of people like Rush. It says something about a person when they enjoy something that has caused the death of police officers responding to a domestic call or killings in a Unitarian Church! I am sorry but why should we start being terrorized by insecure bullies. Also, I am a church member.

    May 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Sean

    I will not beleive the republican party has any new ideas until they accept gay marriage.

    May 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Sheila

    The biggest problem with the GOP is that they are too much like the Democrats. Dems are celebrating the defection but what they don't realize is that they are next. A lot of Americans are getting annoyed with the move toward totalitarianism and are defecting from both parties. I left the Dems for exactly the same reason Barr left the GOP.

    Specter, on the other hand, is just a political hack who needs to be removed from office. He is just another part of the big (tell you what to do) government.

    May 2, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Irene

    Good, maybe if they stay in trouble they won't be able to do any more harm to our country. It's time for the GOP to go away and for a new progressive party to take its place. No more corporate welfare, illegal wars, wire tapping, breaking the constitution, torture, lies and deceit – oh yes – no more in your face right wing hypocritical religion. These are all the trademarks of the GOP that must go down!

    May 2, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. C Spurgeon

    The Republican party is not just the party of No but the party of hate. Not my cup of tea and don't much care about Pennsylvania politics bgut hope they stay to the middle. Only place to be. if something is to get done. Proud of my president and family and hope can stay to the middle too.

    May 2, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Felonious Monk

    The Republican party lacks a conscience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, and they also lack moral fiber, ethical judgement, and a heart!!

    May 2, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Ernie in LA

    This is the way it's suppose to be. One party rule with King Obama. It will happen. Change we can believe in. Good bye America.

    May 2, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13