Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter leaves GOP

Senator Arlen Specter's announcement earlier today he plans to seek re-election as a Democrat is the latest evidence the Republican Party remains in the arguable political wilderness in Washington and in other areas across the country.

Specter, who was one of three Republicans who backed President Obama's economic stimulus package earlier this year, said in a statement he feels the GOP had moved too far to the right.

"I have been a Republican since 1966," he stated. "I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation."

Specter acknowledged his decision to back the stimulus package caused tension within his caucus. And GOP leaders were quick to respond to his defection.

“Senator Specter didn’t leave the G.O.P. based on principles of any kind," Republican Party Chair Michael Steele said as reported in the New York Times. "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 Senator Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”

Specter's decision is almost certainly an extremely welcome development for Congressional Democrats and the White House itself. The GOP's reputation remains in tatters after last November's election. And Specter's defection will almost certainly contribute to their continued turmoil. Stay tuned!

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