republican values OR how to use web design to look like a jerk

While doing research for my previous post, I happened to visit the websites of our nation’s two dominant political parties.  I took a couple snapshots, so that we could compare them.  I think what we’ll see will reveal something about the state of American politics right now:


Democratic site: clean, simple, dignified.  Not sure I’d want my head put up real big on my website, but I guess if you’ve only got one popular kid at your table, you play the hand you’re dealt.


Republican site:  Well, let’s see here, we’re ridiculing a respected colleague and elected official, we’re trying to swell our friend list, we’re being sassy about voter fraud…  Oh and look!  We’re hiring!  Wonder why?

Also, here’s some samples from that Welcome Memo Generator:

This is change that makes sense. Welcome to the Democrats. I look forward to working together to borrow more money from China and the Middle East. Worry not, the next generation won’t even miss college.

(from “The White House Teleprompter”)

Now that you have officially joined the spend, tax and borrow Democrats, I can get you some sweet, free flights on military planes!

(from “Speaker Nancy”)

Senator Specter: Too bad you won’t be on the GOP ballot in Pennsylvania. I know you didn’t want Republican voters determining your future in the Senate. Enjoy the Democrats.

(from “You”)

Hm.  I can’t imagine why Specter wouldn’t want to ally himself with the keen intellects and razor wits that came up with this crap.  I wouldn’t want those people determining my future, either.  Not only is it pure snark, it’s Grade D Industrial Snark, the kind of stuff they’ll be scraping off the bottom of Jon Stewart’s chair six hundred years in the future, when planetary catastrophe has reduced the human race to a humorless assemblage of nomads who use the remnants of our civilization’s comedy to power their jury-rigged roadsters.  Maybe once the Republican leadership graduates from the ninth grade, they’ll have some time and attention to devote to building a decent platform and giving the Democrats a run for their money.


arlen specter: democracy at work

File:Arlen Specter, official Senate photo portrait.jpg

As I’m sure you all know, Senator Arlen Specter recently announced his withdrawal from the Republican Party, in favor of having one of those stylish little “D“s next to his name.  Specter makes no bone about the reason for his change:  he can no longer get elected as a Republican.  Certainly he makes a good talk about how the party is changing, moving away from his values, etc., but the crux is, he can’t win a Republican primary in the current environment.  He even goes so far as to say:

I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

(Specter’s full statement)


It’s easy to characterize Specter’s decision as an act of pure self-interest (and boy, people are happy to do so), but his move is actually (or additionally) a shining example of representative democracy at work. One of the points of having elected officials is that they are answerable to their constituency, and will to an extent modify their behavior to please that constituency.  Self-interest is one of the things the Founders counted on to maintain accountability.  The Senator sees not only that the party is moving away from him, but also that the state of Pennsylvania is moving away from the party, in droves (I believe there are numbers that support this, but I can’t for the life of me get a hold of them).  Whether he means to or not, Specter is not just saving his own hide–he’s bowing to the will of his constituency.  It’s political evolution at work.

Here he is:

P.S.  Hey, Arlen:  next time, if you don’t want to sound like such an opportunistic ass, try something like:

“My job is to represent the people of the State of Pennsylvania.  However, the Republican Party is no longer interested in supporting the kind of moderate voices which the State clearly wants in office.  As such, I am regretfully leaving the Republican Party, in favor of a party which is more in line with my values, and the values of the voters of my state.”

See that?  I just made that up.  Three minutes.