A Small Tent for Big Government Conservatives?


Sen. Arlen Specter (D!-Pa.) insists that he will not be an automatic 60th vote in the Senate, giving Democrats a filibuster-proof majority, and told assembled reporters that, for instance, he will not change his opposition to card check. At Politico, centrist Republicans Lindsay Graham and Olympia Snowe, spoke out in support of Spector's decision:

Snowe said the party's message has been, "Either you're with us or you're against us."

Her frustration was shared by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), who slammed right-wing interest groups for pushing moderates out of the party.

Specter switched parties Tuesday after a recent poll showed him badly losing a Pennsylvania Republican primary next year to Club for Growth founder Pat Toomey. Toomey's staunchly fiscally conservative political action committee backs only those Republicans who support a low-tax, limited-government agenda and comes down hard on those who break with party orthodoxy.

This is the odd thing, though. Rather than arguing that the Republican Party is small-tent when it comes to heterodox social views, Graham seems upset that the party is too rigid on economics, despite its long-standing embrace of Bush's fiscal profligacy.

"I don't want to be a member of the Club for Growth," said Graham. "I want to be a member of a vibrant national Republican party that can attract people from all corners of the country-and we can govern the country from a center-right perspective." "As Republicans, we got a problem," he said.

You certainly do.