In his statement released this morning, and found here, Specter said in part:
“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in
changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” Pennsylvania
“When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.”
“Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of
“I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.”
And the word is that he will be running unopposed in that primary. In the
So really it is a move to stay in office. Ideological shifts or not. And really, the ideological shift was not Specter’s to have, it was his (former) party’s shift to the right.
Something we have been watching here in Fort Bend County,
But the icing on the cake is that with Al Franken’s victory that makes the Senate filibuster-proof and we can get some legislation passed with a 60-vote majority.
And what does that mean for former Minnesota Senator Norm “Crybaby” Coleman and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty? I think the heat just got turned up on them and it’s imperative now for their foot-dragging to be renewed with the vigor of staunch members of the Grand Obstructionist Party.
Or maybe they should just change parties.
UPDATE 1: On a livechat at the Houston Chronicle Texas Congressman Mike McCaul had this to say in reaction to Arlen Spector's defection:
"I am disappointed that Senator Specter has decided to switch parties. With the Senate just 1 vote away from being filibuster proof, this will give the Democrats extraordinary powers over both the Congress and the White House. Under the Constitution, our system of checks and balances is fundamental to our democracy. I am concerned that this decision will take away those checks and balances."
UPDATE 2: Watching Specter at his press conference this afternoon, I distinctly heard him say "Democrat party."
Rule number one: Get name right.