I just caught 15 minutes of news that will make a lot of Republicans even more unhappy than they already are.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge has announced he won’t be a candidate for that state’s Republican U.S. Senate seat next year. That’s the seat Arlen Specter just vacated by switching parties. I’m genuinely sorry to hear it, actually. Ridge is a moderate Republican I could have voted for if I’d ever had the chance. His not running is a blow to those hoping to rebuild the GOP and move it back toward a more moderate, “big tent” stance.
And Joe the Plumber just announced he’s leaving the party. Now there’s a shocker. Actually, I don’t know how big a loss it will be for the GOP.
Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, tells TIME he’s so outraged by GOP overspending, he’s quitting the party — and he’s the bull’s-eye of its target audience. But he also said he wouldn’t support any cuts in defense, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid — which, along with debt payments, would put more than two-thirds of the budget off limits.
It’s hard to imagine an intellect like that would be a loss to any political party. He never intended to be an asset, either. He was just enjoying the notoriety flowing his way and milking it for everything it was worth. But at the very least, those individuals whose cars sport “Joe the Plumber endorses Sarah Palin” stickers (including my misguided daughter-in-law) will probably want to remove them.
And this in from Keith Olbermann at 6 pm:
Since March 2008, Sarah Palin’s approval rating in her own state, Alaska, has dropped from 85% to 54%.
Definitely a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for Republicans. (And the day’s not over yet.)