Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter Jumps Ship

What a day. Arlen Specter just announced that he is dropping his longstanding association with the party of the Dark Side and throwing his support, and hopefully, his cloture votes, to the Democratic Party.

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 Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

“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 Pennsylvania.”

“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 Pennsylvania primary, where 200,000 voters changed their registrations to Democratic in 2008.

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, Texas for some time now.

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."
You got that? "Checks and balances?" How hilarious is that? Yes, there is a concept called "checks and balances" in our government's design and structure. But it is an INTER branch concept, not an INTRA branch one. This guy's a congressman?

UPDATE 2: Watching Specter at his press conference this afternoon, I distinctly heard him say "Democrat party."

Rule number one: Get name right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo for Arlen Spector!

I think he made a very wise and logical decision. Actually, the Republican Party left him.

If you are a logical thinker whose public service is “really" about serving the people who elected you in the first place rather than service to self, ego, and a blind obedience to a run-away train going in the wrong direction congruent to a partisan party agenda which puts the Republican brand of failed policy of no, never, and no new ideas over the needs of the American people, then the option is clear. Arlen Spector has exhibited for his political career, an act of self preservation as the first law of nature.

Too bad some other Republicans are being resolute to the party line and blocking the people of their state opportunity to benefits rendered by the Stimulus Package like Bobby Gentry of Louisiana, the Governor of South Carolina, and, I would say Texas, but I’m not sure whether we are still part of the Union. The last I heard we were leaving the 21st Century and returning to a better way of life in the 18th Century.