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The Old Switcheroo April 28, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Arlen Specter, Barack Obama, National Politics, Republicans.
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PA Senator Arlen Specter
PA Senator Arlen Specter

BREAKING NEWS…………..In a stunning move, current Republican Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has announced that he is switching parties and will enter the 2010 Senate race as a Democrat.  This is an immense victory for the Obama Administration as they will need Specter’s help to pass several important pieces of progressive legislation.

“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 could come later in the day or Wednesday.

There is argument why Specter has decided to make this move now.  As a Republican, he was facing a tough primary fight to hold his seat, and he has made no friends in the party lately.  GOP Chairman Michael Steele issued a statement saying, “Let’s be honest — Sen. 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.” 

Specter has had difficulty operating as a Republican moderate in a party that has veered sharply to the right.  Though many believed that its stunning losses in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles would moderate the radical conservative elements of the party, this has not happened.  The party has instead hardened its more extreme positions and now plays only to its conservative base. 

More troublesome than this defection for the Republicans is the realization that once Norm Coleman is forced to give up his obstructionism in Minnesota and Al Franken is sworn in, the Democrats will have the 60-seat “super-majority” that is required to stave off the filibuster.  If the Republicans want relevance in the upcoming debates over energy policy, health care, climate change, and labor issues, they had better learn to start playing ball – instead of simply saying “NO”.

Its a thing of beauty……roll on, socialized medicine!