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

Bob Barr: GOP in ‘very deep trouble’

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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)

    The Gop Is not Just in Big Trouble But in GRAVE DANGER Of becoming Extinct!

    May 2, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Jim

    Chiptser summed it up pretty good, its amazing how far from their principles these people carried themselves, and now alot of new young people want to start being a new voice in the party and they want none of it, these old dried up greedy, stubborn geezers are really something else.....judging by the childish antics of the few supporters that are left, it really would seem they are on their death bed, with only a few extremists holding out, sad day for the party, and a sad day for Americans who thought they were on to something with less goverment and blah blah blah. Anyway, the more I learn the more I realize less government would be an absolute disaster, people need to be governed, end of story, look around you. New party? or new ideology, something has to give because right now their principles are irrelevant to the world we live in day to day. As for Texas, if it gets bad enough ban that peice of crap flag they wave, ya know, Gen Lee, who would in all reality be embarrassed at these idiots being the patriot and gentlement that he was. Yep, we know atleast some of you have an education, but as far as that little seccession rally, where I live we call that treason.... Id distance myself from these morons if I were a Texan, for everyones good, including my own. =)

    May 2, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Bryan

    The Republican party should be in very deep trouble because they have completely forgotten about the Middle Class people of this country. The only people that they want to take care of are the wealthiest and corporations.

    When was the last time anyone in the Republican Party tried to pass any legislation that would be beneficial to middle class people?

    Have we heard any ideas or seen any bills that they have tried to pass that would actually create jobs for the middle class?

    They only want to stick to the old ideas that haven't worked for the last 20 years. Obviously the Middle Class has not seen the benefits of Trickle-Down economics – only the wealthiest have benefited.

    Why don't they try a REAL GRASSROOTS effort that will benefit people from the ground up – instead of that LAME Teabag stunt that is still pushing for benefits from the top down?

    May 2, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. E.C.Coleman

    Also, don't we wonder how obama is liking what his new best friend, Chavez, is saying about the United States in his latest tirade????
    obama has created a hornets' nest in the world.
    no question.

    May 2, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Dave Jacksonville, Florida

    The leaders of the GOP.

    Rush Limbaugh

    Sean Hannity

    Newt Gingrich

    Dick Cheney

    Fox News

    The GOP leadership wonders why the American people have turned on them. They don't have moderate republicans out in the forefront, people like Gov. Charlie Crist, Colin Powell, and others.

    When your party look to cut taxes for the wealthy, have racism and bigotry coming from the likes of Hannity and Slimebaugh, You have no new ideas but to cut taxes and create deficits. You dont look out for the middle class, but you look out for the wealthy and big business.

    They want to look out for the insurance companies, but there's millions of americans without healthcare.

    May 2, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Ernie in LA

    To Tulsa L, You need some stronger medication.

    May 2, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. Steve, Philadelphia

    I joined the Republican Party in 1982, when I first registered to vote. I will NEVER trust anyone in that party. Moderates are not welcome, and as far as I am concerned, any reform will either put wolves in sheeps' clothing in power, or a "real" moderate won't be able to stand up to the radical right wing.

    May 2, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Tim

    Specter should have simply said that he finds himself subscribing to the principles he's seeing in the Democratic party. Period. I'm not defending those principles. I'm merely saying that if Specter doesn't expect people to see through his flimsy reasoning, he's going to be really surprised when he gets trounced in the next election. To say "I'm doing it to keep my job" is pretty much saying "I don't really cater to any principles at all."

    May 2, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Cali Mike

    The Republican Party is dead and can't blame anyone but themselves. Try this:

    Care about the country as a whole more than the welfare of your "party"


    May 2, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Steve

    History in the making folks. Our first African-American President and the extinction of an old political party...possibly being replaced by a whole new political party. It's kind of cool to be able to live and witness history in the making first hand.

    May 2, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Darryl Schmitz

    I'm still a bit perturbed about Rep. Barr's serious PR miscue during the election, when he pulled a rather dirty political trick on Ron Paul.
    But that aside, Barr is correct about the Republican Party. The arrogant Limbaugh "my way or the highway" approach is an insane scorched-earth policy. It's as though Rush is living in a delusional world where he thinks he can tell everyone who he can't persuade to go along with his way of thinking to go to hell and somehow he will emerge victorious.
    His conviction and determination are admirable, but his egocentrism has led him down a path that was once traveled by Nero and Napoleon. With his "help", the Republican Party will soon go from critical to terminal.

    May 2, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. ET

    The Republican party chooses to dig in their heels and act like spoiled kids just screaming no to everything. What we are seeing on C-Span in the committee meetings is more of the same, which leads me to believe that they never had any serious brains in that party to begin with or they would accept the mess they made in Washington, and ask what can we do to work out the problems together? That's what being a statesman/woman is about. But with the base they have, it won't work for them to show a brain. I see their problem, but it was one of their own making, to just win at all costs. That cost them dearly. We need a two party system only if they chose to live in the reality of the 21st century, not the 20th. The ones who are left in Congress would be more appreciated if they were to act like they wanted to be there and go on with business. Maybe they can talk to some of the Democrats who have stuck it out these last eight years to help them settle down and get to work. Running around looking for a leader means they don't see themselves as one. Saying no means they don't have to think and come up with positive solutions.

    May 2, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Bubba

    The Republic Party is the party of religious extremism. Agin science. The party of racism. The party of special tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of the least able. The party that has more faith in guns than faith in policemen. The party that likes preemtive war.

    Will things get better for the Republics come 2010? Stay tuned...

    May 2, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. JW

    Now that ex-felons can vote, the Democratic party will have a lot more voters. Enjoy while you can, Dems. Viva Jimmy Carter.

    May 2, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Scott in Jacksonville

    You know what…let the Dems run it for a while. The Republicans had YEARS to get it right and they screwed it up with massive spending. Contract with America…yea…right. Not much accomplished Newt. Rush Limbaugh isn't perfect, but he is the true voice of conservatives along with Sean Hannity.

    Scott Lara

    May 2, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. mike

    I agree. The party must be in poor shape if an idiot like Duhbama was elected. Is this the best America has to offer?

    May 2, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. Earl

    The only, theeee only way the republicans reverse this steep downward spiral is to send Rush packing and kick the extreme right (neo-cons and christian extremists) wing out for good. To much to ask for. Well so long and farewell.

    May 2, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Gary S.C.

    What scares me the most isn't the hate, the racist attidtude, the fear mongoring, the need to take care of the rich, the need for war. What scares me the most is the intire country is telling you that you are wrong, and you just don't get it.

    May 2, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. jobsinlobbying

    The Republicans need to reinvent themselves. They need to quiet the religious wackos. They also need to do something about Rush Limbaugh who is driving more people away from the party.

    May 2, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Skip

    Has anyone noticed the Republicans talk about there "values", because after 8 years in power they certainly cannot talk about their accomplishments

    May 2, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Careful there

    Barr is an opportunist

    May 2, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Repugnants

    that what they get for being divisive, running dirty campaigns filled with lies, and trying to manipulate people into voting, first with Sarah Palin, and then with Michael Steel, Sarah Palin did not get the Hillary voters and Michael Steele will not pertsuade the african american community
    at least he is not doing a good job in reaching out to them, perhaps Mitt Romney will, and where did this fat piece of meat, Rush Limbaugh take it....up the creek without a paddle!
    it's ashame, that the party of Lincoln is Nancy Polosi said, not the grand ole party anymore.

    May 2, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Patriot

    Let's face it.....the Republican Party needs to be banned once and for all! If we all work together we can get rid of this filthy bacteria that is infecting our country. The Republican Party is nothing more than an American Taliban composed of robber barons and illiterate misfits, and they are our worst enemies. Let the war on terror start at home!

    May 2, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Lori

    Time for a third party. The GOP disgust me. Not for the obvious reasons- their bigotry, racism and ancient ideas. It's because they would rather have the economy fail or another terrorist attack, so that they can point and say 'See, I told you that Obama was no good.' And that's VERY scary. What American goes around saying that they wish for the failure of the U.S President which ultimately means the American people fail?!! For that reason alone, I will yet again put my support behind the Democrats. I would rather vote for a so-called 'socialist', 'fascist', 'terrorist' and a party that is so-called 'spending my future away' than vote for ANY member in the GOP!

    May 2, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. christianecon

    I don't think the problem is they "lack a coherent philosophy, vision, and leadership" at all. Their ideology is extremely coherent–it's just that it is an obvious disaster in theory and is now, unfortunately for America and the world, a disaster in practice. They are all–Heritage Foundation, AEI, Club for Growth, Limbaugh, Hannity, Gingrinch, Fox etc. etc. still promoting the same b.s ideology they have since the 80's, as if the last 8 years never even happened. It's very coherent, and their leadership hasn't changed either. The fact it *is* coherent and hasn't changed is the problem. They're just sinking further and further into denial about their own ideology, and seem angrier and angrier about it. I think something like an exorcism is taking place.

    May 2, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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