The Specter of Certain Defeat

Arlen Specter never was a true conservative Republican.  In “rust belt” Pennsylvania he convinced himself he could never have voted against more spending and federal government give aways.  Much of his electorate is in need of work or a hand out.

“The big question I hear is, ‘Who’s going to pay for it?'” the 79-year-old Republican told about 160 guests at a Lancaster Chamber of Commerce before the vote on the stimulus.

“Most of us have children, and some of us are lucky enough to have grandchildren. We don’t like to pass the buck down to the next generation,” said Specter.

Then Specter voted for the stimulus.

When Specter got attacked by conservatives nation-wide for voting with President Obama and for his stimulus, along with only two other Senators, Olympia Snowe and  Susan Collins, both of Maine; it became clear that Specter was no longer welcome as a Republican.

And the Republican Party went to work to defeat him in the Republican Senate primary next year: putting up Pat Toomey to run against Specter.

Earlier this month, Specter said there was no way primary opponent Pat Toomey could win the seat.

But now Toomey is seen as a very strong Republican candidate.

Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican said, “This was an act of politicial self preservation.”

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, called the move a “defection.”

But Senator Lindsey Graham had the best remarks from the Republican side.

“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.

At the age of 80 next year, Specter wants to continue in the Senate.  So we don’t see this as siding with Obama or fleeing the Republicans.  We see this as an old guy that doesn’t want to go home and retire…..

So we don’t see this as a man forced to act by his principles; but a man who faced his own Specter of defeat….

Political experts in Pennsylvania note that Specter has alienated the Republican base over the years with his support for abortion rights and gay rights, and other more hard-core conservative issues. His approval rating percentage among Republicans hovered in the 30s, according to a handful of polls conducted this year.

Back in March here is what Specter said:

[Democrats] are trying very hard for the 60th vote. Got to give them credit for trying. But the answer is no.

I’m not going to discuss private talks I had with other people who may or may not be considered influential. But since those three people are in the public domain, I think it is appropriative to respond to those questions.

I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role, a more important role, to play there. The United States very desperately needs a two-party system. That’s the basis of politics in America. I’m afraid we are becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party with so little representation of the northeast or in the middle atlantic. I think as a governmental matter, it is very important to have a check and balance. That’s a very important principle in the operation of our government. In the constitution on Separation of powers.

Hot Air:


AP Special Correspondent David Espo

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement: “Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not. Let’s be honest: Senator Specter didn’t leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”

Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania disclosed plans Tuesday to switch parties, a move intended to boost his chances of winning re-election next year that also will push Democrats within one seat of a 60-vote filibuster-resistant majority.

“I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” Specter said in a statement posted on a Web site devoted to Pennsylvania politics and confirmed by his office. Several Senate officials said a formal announcement was expected later in the day or Wednesday.

President Barack Obama called Specter almost immediately after he was informed of the decision to say the Democratic Party was “thrilled to have you,” according to a White House official. Spurned Republicans said his defection was motivated by ambition, not principle.

Specter, 79 and in his fifth term, is one of a handful of Republican moderates remaining in Congress in a party now dominated by conservatives. Several officials said secret talks that preceded his decision reached into the White House, involving both Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden, a longtime colleague in the Senate. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell as well as Democratic leaders in Congress also were involved, added the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details.

Read the rest:;_yl


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