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Specter of the None

Arlen Specter is leaving the GOP.  A few scattered thoughts.

First, I hope the people who blasted Specter for his stimulus vote are happy with the 60-seat Democratic majority.  I’m sure Limbaugh and various bloggers will be saying “good riddance”.  I understand that; I didn’t like the stimulus vote either.  But while Specter is on the left side of the GOP, his vote could have held back some of the stupider ideas of the Obama Administration (card check, for example).  I don’t know that he’ll vote against his new party out of principle.

This is the problem with wanting a “purge” of “moderate” members of the GOP.  Eventually, there’s going to be no one left.  GOP membership in polls is already down into the low 20’s.  When you purge the left wing of the party, you have no chance of winning left-leaning states.

Second, this is a disaster for the GOP’s hopes of holding onto PA.  Thanks to party affiliation changes and Specter’s name recognition, he is almost certain to win re-election.  But Specter is also a 78-year-old cancer survivor.  There is a chance he will not live out his term and 2016 will see a younger incumbent Democrat defending the seat.

Third, this has nothing to do with any principles Specter may or may not have.  This is the same naked political calculation that led Lieberman to become an “independent”.  It is highly likely that Specter would have lost the Republican primary—he says as much himself when he notes that 200,000 Pennsylvanians have switched parties recently.  There’s no second chances in PA and he failed to get an open primary passed. He wants to stay in the Senate. And since the GOP threw him under a bus, he might as well return the favor.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/28/09 at 10:26 AM in Politics • Permalink

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