April 28th, 2010
11:09 PM ET
13 years ago

Kaine: GOP 'civil war' pushing moderate Republicans 'overboard'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The chairman of the Democratic National Committee suggested Wednesday that Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist could become a political victim of a “corrosive civil war” among Republicans. And Tim Kaine said that as moderate Republicans are pushed “overboard,” some of them will become Democrats.

Kaine spoke to a group of supporters at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, where the former Virginia governor detailed his party’s push for electoral success in the November elections.

Kaine also talked about the political situation surrounding the Florida governor. A GOP fundraiser tells CNN that Crist has decided to continue his senate bid as an independent rather than continue in the Republican primary against former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.

Related: Crist to run for Senate as nonaligned candidate, source says

“They’re kind of throwing him out,” the DNC chairman said, referring to Republicans and Crist.

Kaine suggested that if Crist announces Thursday that he will run as an independent, as expected, it will be the result of an internal war within the GOP.

“The battle in the Republican Party between the Tea Party side of the party and the sort of moderate wing of the party is pushing a lot of moderates out and making them feel like they don’t have a home,” the Kaine said.

“But that’s what’s happening with this corrosive civil war within the Republican Party,” the DNC chairman added.

Kaine also said that his organization, which he described as the “big-tent party,” will see some benefit from Republican Party defectors.

“Some of them will become Democrats. Some of them will become independents. Some of them will become disaffected,” Kaine said.

As for other potential benefits for Democrats, Kaine said an independent bid from Crist would help Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meeks, who is also vying for the senate seat. Kaine sized up Meeks’ chances in a race with Crist and Rubio.

“The odds are that he would fare better in a three-way scenario, based on all the polling that I’ve seen,” Kaine said. “That immediately takes the race and turns it into a sort of a dead heat among the three candidates. And that will be real positive for our chances.”

RNC Communications Director Doug Heye told CNN that Democrats “need to address their own divides.”

“The Democrats lose members, we’ve seen, over the past 10, 12 years with some frequency,” he said. “There are significant divides in the Democratic Party that Tim Kaine is either unaware of or wants to ignore.”

Heye added, “If we want to talk about a party that’s shrinking, let’s have this conversation in November when…the Democratic numbers in the House and Senate have really shrunk.”

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Kendrick Meek • Marco Rubio • Tim Kaine
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Hopeful American

    I hope we start getting some more Ron Paul type candidates elected.

    We don't need any more fake republicans pretending to be conservatives. Examples of fake conservatives: Romney, McCain and Pawlenty

    April 28, 2010 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  2. RandyT

    I've voted Republican in the past, way, way past when they had some moderates. This current bunch is even to the right of Goldwater and Ike would dismiss it as a neo-Nazi Party.

    April 28, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    Moderate republicans joining the far left fringe democratic party of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Ried and Obama?

    Moderate dems joining the republican party is much more likely.

    April 28, 2010 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    I believe Crist will run as an independent, and that this will show the divide that is within the Republican party who are being forced by Tea Party activists to have right leaning conservatives a candidates for anything House, Senate, governor ships etc.
    I think also with Republican behaviour over the last 12 months plus on health care and Financial regulation and Immigration vs climate change, that the politico's of the party underestimate how damaging that policy of NO and NO cooperation will affect voters. I have become an even stronger independent from when I once was what could have been called a reliable conservative... no more unless Republican Reps and Senators stop saying NO and enter into intelligent debate, not ideological filibusters.

    April 28, 2010 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. EHendricks

    The DNC Chairman is correct. I am a long time "R" ever since I quit being a starry eyed early 20 something. I'm now 56. BUT I am not a bigot, anti abortion or gays. The Republicans have become a party of divisivness not unity. Yes I vote R just because of all the republican faults their candidate is better than a bleeding heart liberal but they are trying my patience. Maybe it is time for a 3 party coalition type government. No I am not a tea party wanta bee. Sorry about any misspelling, math and science was my bag. English grammer and spelling never made sense to me. PS – I am only a second generation AMERICAN (German-Irish decent) an I think Arizona's new law is OK. My job caused me to travel the world and every other country expected me to carry my passport/visa with me at all times. I'll just remeber next time I visit friends in Arizona ( in about 3 weeks), I'll take my passport with me to prove I'm an American. God Bless America. If this wasn't the best place to live then why is everyone trying to move here.

    April 29, 2010 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Republicans have asked and hopefully America will deliver.
    They want to be the party fo exclusion, and its working!
    Moderates- no longer welcome
    Hispanics- no longer welcome
    Gays- no longer welcome
    Ill- no longer welcome
    Women- OK, but not until you've finished the ironing
    open minded- never were welcome
    So Republican party – get those walkers and wheelchairs ready for the elderly, white conservatives ready!

    April 29, 2010 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  7. key

    The party has lost members but they weren't the leaders of the party McCain vetted Crist for VP and McCain was the Presidential candidate. Give me a break

    April 29, 2010 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  8. paddy mac

    We are "alienating the Latino vote", or the Jewish vote, or the Iranian vote, or the UK vote, or the Irish vote, ad nauseum. What's wrong with this picture?! Is there no longer such a thing as an AMERICAN vote?!! Or are we just serving the "Balkanized vote"? Paraphrasing Lincoln: You can't satisfy all the people all the time but only some of the people some of the time. Tough! pm

    April 29, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  9. Smith in Oregon

    It's entirely fitting and refreshing to see the Republican-Tea Party leaders applying their RINO scratch and sniff racial and political purity exams on their own Republican lawmakers. That should weed out quite a number of Republican lawmakers that have wavered on supporting the birther issue.

    April 29, 2010 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  10. Jim Taylor

    Obviously Mr. Kaine lives in a dream sequence. There is no one heading toward the Democratic tent. Only the true believers remain. Kind of like the folks in Jonestown. All the Democrats can do now is crank up the loud speakers and try to brainwash their dupes into staying put.

    April 29, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  11. Tony

    As much as I'd like to believe that the sheer craziness of the far right will scare off swing voters, if they're in an anti-Dem mood they might reflexively vote the crazies in, unaware of the tragicomedy of errors they're inviting.

    April 29, 2010 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  12. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    It appears that many of the Republican leaders are indeed pushing an moderate Republican out of the party. Those leaders are pandering to the racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-Jewish-Muslim- Buddist-anything but right wing Christian psychopaths that are scrambling to get national acceptance. They will however accept blacks, women and anyone else who will agree that rich white middle aged protestants are the only group fit to govern. The party must have a few tokens to trot out whenever it is needed to show they are incclusive.
    Any Republican that doesn't follow the new, even farther right party line is more than welcome to seek membership in another party.

    April 29, 2010 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  13. Michael from Ventura

    Love to see the haters treat their own with as much disdain as they do us-what a party!!

    April 29, 2010 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  14. True Patriot

    Don't worry Tim...we'll sort it out....and the Democrats or Meeks wont be the beneficiary!

    April 29, 2010 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  15. madkeyra

    The Lunatic Right Wing of the Republican Party has taken over the entire GOP. Vote Democrate in November and keep the Right Wing Lunatics out of Office, unless you like the way Michelle Bachmann and Limbaugh, Sara Palin, Hannity, Coulter and the rest of the nuts running your state. Keep them out. We have enough problems as it is and we definately don't need any of them going to Congress to stir up trouble.

    April 29, 2010 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  16. Marry

    IF the GOP had a “middle of the road” fraction, they most certainly have been very silent in the last year and a half. So, since they have acted WITH the party of “NO” they should be treated that way and feel the consequences. To row back at the last minute will not help convince me that they changed their minds and want to work FOR me. The way they “worked” is unacceptable as representatives of the people.

    April 29, 2010 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  17. Gasman

    RNC Communications Director Doug Heye would have us believe that it is actually the Democratic Party that is experiencing internecine warfare between its idiot base and their own moderates. Hmmm, I don't recall hearing anything on that subject prior to now. The GOP, however, is driving out moderates as it tacks ever to the right. The only tactic that the GOP seems to understand is tossing out the false equivalency argument. If you have a vulnerability, accuse your opponent of suffering from that very same deficiency.

    Good luck with that, GOP.

    April 29, 2010 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Wonderful i hope more people leave the gop us dem will welcome them like there brothers and sisters

    April 29, 2010 07:48 am at 7:48 am |