April 29th, 2009
01:31 PM ET
13 years ago

Snowe: Moderate Republicans like 'Survivor' cast members

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/18/art.snowe1218.gi.jpg caption="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. rich

    Poor Olympia. I feel sorry for her. She wants to run acroos the isles so badly, but she is afraid to jump into the water. A nice dem or two should give her a gentle push. I think she will appreciate the gesture.

    April 29, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. John of Michigan

    Senator Snowe has to ask herself what kind of people she wants to be associated with. Her party is now run by Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin ... hypocrites, money-worshippers and dimwits. It is high time to switch.

    April 29, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Jeff

    What exactly is a moderate Republican – someone who believes in abortion, gay marriage, big government – sounds to me like a democrat and thats what democrats want. They dont want to compromise, they want it their way or no way. The reason Republicans are in trouble is because the dems and the main stream media (which are an extention of the democratic party) have done a great job of villifiying Republicans. The MSM defends democrats, pushes their agenda and at the same time ridicules and makes Republicans out to be the bad guys. I see it over and over on CNN, ABC,CBS etc. Just look at this last election and the continually fawning over Obama. Until the MSM starts becoming more fair I dont see how public opinion can be swayed. The media shapes how most americans think unfortunately.

    April 29, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Nancy

    Since only 21% of the electorate is aligning themselves with the Republican party, it is clear the "big tent" idea is not working for them. How they think they can become a majority party again without moderates is beyond logic.. Just looking at the changing demographics of the nation should tell them something.

    April 29, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. fearful for my country

    Well, considering that the democratic party has been hijacked by a select few ie: Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Dean, Frank etc...I'd say the Republicans have it pretty good. They just need to stop fighting each other and unite against the New World Order Nazi Group of Democrats.

    April 29, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Will they stop at nothing?

    Who will be the next in the tribe to go? Probably Sen. Snowe or Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). GOP is getting close to the end of the game when there will be just one left in the tribe.

    April 29, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Takeshi

    Well the republicans wanted a revolution and that got ONE. ahahahahahahaha. Just not the one they were expecting. This is the one were they LOOSE big time.

    April 29, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Lesley Anne

    It remains to be seen if conservative voters are as ignorant as their conservative leaders. I don't think the Repubs have noticed how many of their constituents have moved over to voting Democratic. Instead of finding a solution to their own problems, rather than roast and toast members of their own party, I'd like to see how long these conservative obstructionist congressman stay in office after this.

    April 29, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Robin in SC

    Why didn't McCain pick this lady as his running mate? I may have voted for him with her sensibility and brains at his side!

    April 29, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Mike in MN

    As long as the moderats vote for big government spending that will bankrupt America, their is not room for them in the Republican Party. They are no different than the big spending liberal Democrats and might as well join them. If they vote with the big spending Democrats there is no difference if they cast their vote as a Democrat or Republican. And there is no difference to the impact to America.

    April 29, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. The Jellyman

    As a former Republican, I am saddened by what is going on. As an American, it disconcerts me (hope I spelled it right) that we could be headed for one-party rule, which would be even worse.

    Not only does the GOP right need to take a breather, it needs to actively reach out to the moderates and listen to them. So do we Democrats. Moderate Republicans do not need to switch parties in order to have a voice.

    I live in a town that is dominated by Democrats, but I see rank-and-file, everyday Republicans everywhere, and I count many of them as my friends. They are good people, and we all need to reach out to them.

    - A proud Democrat

    April 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Guy Montag

    Ms. Parker, Olympia Snowe would have called the Senator's defection "disconcerting" not "disconcerning." Fix it! Stop the collapse of spelling and grammar in the Mindless States of America!

    April 29, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Darko

    Spector switched to keep his job. There was nothing 'moral' or 'tough' about it.

    A 20pt underdog in a primary (with party support) is a joke.

    April 29, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. John, Chicago

    Be careful what you say Olympia the tribe has spoken and you better
    run for your life.

    April 29, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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