Bill Kristol knocks out a halfhearted effort to explain why Arlen Specter defecting is great news for the GOP, using Jim Jeffords’ switch as an example.
On May 24, 2001, I wrote an op-ed for The Post in the wake of Vermont Sen. James Jeffords’s party switch. I argued that the switch, which cost Republicans control of the Senate, could well turn out to be good for President Bush.
Not entirely for the reasons I speculated on in the op-ed, I turned out to be right. Bush was still able to get enough cooperation to govern over the next year and a half, and he was also able to run successfully against the Democratic Senate in the fall of 2002. The GOP regained control that November.
5/24 was supposed to be The Day That Changed Everything. However, it utterly failed to be a day that hijacked our democracy and drove it straight into prominent American — Jesus how could this idiot skip over 9/11? I suppose it does show an evolution in the GOP: they used to cynically manipulate 3,000 dead people to justify everything they did, now they cynically ignore 3,000 dead people to justify the continued viability of the shambling corpse that is their party.
Oh, and Newt Gingrich also thinks that this puts the GOP exactly where it needs to be. He also announced his new job as motivational coach to the San Antonio Spurs.
As a bit of political advice borne out of the part of me that hates seeing people get punched in the face repeatedly as a part of their master plan: it is time for the GOP to start lying. We all know that the conservative movement believes that purifying itself of heretics will eventually take it back to the days of Reaganesque nirvana, but it also means that the GOP will be a quarter of the size it was when it actually won presidential elections. Guys, just pretend you understand. Do and say things, even if you don’t actually believe them, that send a message of contrition and desire to see this pattern reverse itself. Yes, it will be disingenuous and yes, you’ll hate yourselves for it. But right now, the GOP is tied to the tracks, the train bearing down on them, insisting to all who will listen that the incompetent unionized conductor is about to go off the rails and forever discredit rail in our proud nation.