In 2009, the political character of the nation began to change. Barack Obama made the electorate more polarized than it ever had been as he became the face of the Washington political establishment and for many, the apparent enemy of traditional American values. It was also the point at which conservatives began to abandon Republicans who preferred status in the political establishment over the values of the people who have financially supported them and whose votes helped them win elections.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was forced to join the ranks of the Democrats after serving as a Republican in the U.S. Senate since 1980. Specter voted for Obama’s first stimulus in 2009 after being warned by the National Republican Trust PAC (GOP Trust) that any Republican who voted for the nearly one trillion dollar spending spree would face a well financed opponent. Specter chose to switch parties and lost in the Democrat primary.
Last week Olympia Snowe renounced her bid for reelection in the wake of her 2009 support for the stimulus and the National Republican Trust’s subsequent endorsement of her truly conservative opponent, Scott D’Amboise. But beyond the departure of such a high-profile like Snowe from the race are other stories of liberal Republicans in Congress being held to task for their support, both overt and tacit, of Obama’s failed policies.
In Indiana, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a conservative who has served his state since 2006 and was reelected with 62% of the vote in 2010, is running for U.S. Senate against longtime incumbent Richard Lugar, who has consistently supported surrendering U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations and was instrumental in passing the dangerous New START Treaty during a lame-duck session of the Senate in 2010.
But perhaps even more captivating is the story of Justin Bernier, who is challenging Andrew Roraback in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.
Bernier enlisted in the Navy after September 11th and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007, where his distinguished service earned him the Joint Service Commendation Medal and an eventual appointment as Executive Director of Connecticut’s Office of Military Affairs upon his return to the United States. Bernier has joined the growing number of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to take a stand for pro-American values.
He is running as the conservative alternative to his opponent Roraback, a Republican state senator whose voting record is characteristic of a rank-and-file Democrat’s. In his home state, Roraback has voted in favor of socialized medicine, cap-and-trade, the expansion of the government’s use of imminent domain against private property owners, and was deemed “100% pro-choice” by the National Abortion Rights Action League.
With authentic conservative candidates for the U.S. House and Senate like D’Amboise, Mourdock, and Bernier, the character of the Republican Party is quickly becoming anti-establishment and presenting a true alternative to the Washington political class. Skeptical voters now seem to see this establishment as a stubborn third party unto itself, an amalgam of careerist politicians of both parties who are codependent on one another for power and protection.