Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dinosaur turns Democrat


This isn't big news, but it's interesting, in that you rarely see a switch like this after so long in the fold.

Maverick former GOP Rep. Pete McCloskey, who represented Northern California in Congress from 1967 to 1982 and ran unsuccessfully again last year, has announced that he's switching party registration and becoming a Democrat.

McCloskey, who was an original author of the Endangered Species Act, made his scorn for the modern Republican Party clear during his primary campaign against former GOP Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy last year. He contended that leaders like Pombo and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay had been corrupted by power.

After losing the primary bid, he endorsed the Democrat who eventually beat Pombo in the general election.

McCloskey is 79, and not exactly a major player. And he was always a bit on the independent side. He was the first Republican Congressman to call for the impeachment of President Nixon, and his opposition to the Iraq war led him to endorse John Kerry in 2004.

But it does indicate that the GOP has moved rightward enough to leave behind people like McCloskey, who at one time not only considered themselves Republicans but were part of the party's public face.

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