Specter to bail on the GOP?

posted at 2:40 pm on March 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Hill indulges in some speculation regarding Arlen Specter’s political future.  With Pat Toomey suddenly looking for a rematch in a Republican primary and the RNC threatening to insert itself into the race, Specter may find the pastures greener on the other side of the partisan fence:

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) does not have the fall-back option of running as an independent should he lose his 2010 primary election, giving the senior lawmaker strong incentive to abandon his party this year.

Specter faces an extremely difficult primary race against former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the conservative firebrand who lost his bid to oust Specter from his seat in the 2004 GOP primary by a mere 17,000 votes (out of more than a million cast).

Pennsylvania political experts say that Specter would likely face a more difficult challenge in 2010 because the Republican primary electorate in Pennsylvania has become more conservative.

Specter can blame Operation Chaos for that development.  In 2008, over 150,000 Pennsylvania Republicans switched to the Democratic primary to vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama.  Most of those were centrists and moderates, and most of them haven’t switched back.  If they stay out, they won’t be able to participate in the closed Pennsylvania primaries in 2010.  Specter’s close shave in 2004 would almost certainly transform into a lopsided defeat under those circumstances, especially with his vote on Porkulus.

Would switching parties help him?  Specter barely beat Toomey in 2004 with Bush’s backing, when times were still good, in a Republican primary with the moderates.  As a Democrat, he might command those centrists to his banner, but only if Porkulus shows miraculous signs of working by the spring of 2010.  If not, Toomey and his fiscal conservatism will look much better to working-class Pennsylvanians, who will be in the mood to clean house (and House and Senate).

Switching parties now will almost certainly eliminate any chance of holding a filibuster for Mitch McConnell, but it may be difficult to tell the difference at this point.  Specter’s failure on Porkulus kept the GOP from demanding meaningful input into the stimulus package, a rather significant betrayal.  He’s more than likely to vote for Card Check with his ties to big labor, or at least vote for cloture on the measure to allow it to come to a vote.  He might stand firm against FOCA, but that’s a long shot.  I’m not aware of a single significant part of the Obama agenda on which the Republicans can rely on him to help with a filibuster.

Most Republicans won’t mourn his departure at this point.  Normally I’d argue for the big tent, but Specter doesn’t appear ready to rebut Obama at all on any policy.

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Normally I’d argue for the big tent, but Specter doesn’t appear ready to rebut Obama at all on any policy.

Welcome back. /sarc

DannoJyd on March 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Now we just have to get Snowjob and Collins to follow suit. Collins win this past election wasn’t that big; and with conservatives like myself vowing to never vote for them again, I’m not sure if she or Snowjob will be re-elected.

I could be wrong, but only time will tell. There’s so many welfare voters up here, maybe switching parties would be their smartest political move.

ErinF on March 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Good, because when we take power back and get to have OUR banana-republic-nuremburg-show-trials, these guys are gonna get the first subpoenas.

Mr. Specter, you are charged with the crime of generational theft. How do you plead?

Going down.

jeff_from_mpls on March 8, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Good riddance to bad rubbish. May he enjoy a long and happy life safely tucked away where he can’t betray his party or our children any longer.

Midas on March 8, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Specter should become the democrat that he is and take Snow and Collins with him. We have no room for wishy washy crap that they are full of.

Travis1 on March 8, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Specter was a Republican? Could’a fooled me.

Pole-Cat on March 8, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Study this my big tent brothers..

This is what you get when put rapid expansion above holding your foundational ideals. For a surge of power you expand and take in everyone anyone, BUT for a enduring power you must build on a foundation of ideals that all members must be held to and judged by.

Shortterm populist Goals
-Small Government–Audit cut Audit cut name names and programs, call waste out force Dem defense.
-Deregulation–Free small business, free invention, and the American creativity
-Strong Defense–simply we should be and maintain a world beater military edge PERIOD.

Longterm goals rebuilding the three pillars of America
-God–not X god, just freedom of religion. End the current policy of mandatory atheism
-Country–Bring back American history and make the curriculum PRO-America. A people/nation without any self-pride will not be able to survive during hard times or threat. Patriotism should a mandatory standard.
-Family–End welfare, don’t reward bad behavior.

END VICTIMIZATION MENTALITY, were everyone is helpless victims and not responsible for their own hardships.

-Small Government
-Strong Defense

C-Low on March 8, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Spincter is a crook, unfortuately he is a republican, but he acts like a democrat. He should go.

workingforpigs on March 8, 2009 at 2:38 PM

I am sick of these so called conservatives..
This is why wall street nearly collapsed

So go ahead you LIER join the democraps..
so we can clean house and thow all of you out..

jcila on March 8, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Elections are supposed to be about choices. If you are offered with candidates that sound nearly the same on policy, the choice devolves into a personality contest. It is no mystery that McCain lost – he could not compete on charisma, and offered no clear alternative on policy.

SgtSchultz on March 7, 2009 at 11:18 PM

The ‘middle’ doesn’t exist folks. They vote for the person who seems better for the job. the McCain/Obama Contest was between a pair of empty suits, and the ‘middle’ chose the better looking one handing out 20 dollar checks.

Chaz706 on March 8, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Specter the Democrat… as he’s always been… is why I will NEVER forgive Rick Santorum. I wrote at the time that the Specter-Toomey race would reveal the true conservatives… Bush and Santorum failed the test.

Santorum is a fraud. Not only did he kiss Specter’s backside, he abandoned his supposed committed to LIFE in the process.

I don’t care what he says now… when it could have counted he failed Pennsylvania, the USA, the unborn, the courts and the Republican Party. Sorry, Rick, but kiss off… you had your chance.

mankai on March 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM

C-Low on March 8, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Make sure that includes the removal of the H1/L1 programs for a while until they learn not to screw with citizens.

sethstorm on March 8, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Good Riddance!!

build the wall on March 8, 2009 at 6:16 PM


Blacksmith8 on March 8, 2009 at 7:01 PM

For God’s sake put the (D) behind your muddied name already, Sir!

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 8, 2009 at 7:03 PM

RINO Specter has been a regular GOP disaster. The faster the Republican party rids themselves of this phony, the better.

byteshredder on March 8, 2009 at 8:02 PM

It’s a shame the GOP invested so much (funds and energy) to ensure that Specter would win the 2004 primary over Toomey. Bush and then-Sanator Santorum campaigned tirelessly on Specter’s behalf.

Specter, Lincoln Chaffee, etc. – when will the GOP learn?

bw222 on March 8, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Bush and then-Sanator Santorum campaigned tirelessly on Specter’s behalf.

Santorum has not paid for this bit of cowardice. Hannity and company still bring him on as some conservative purist without ever taking him to task for his treachery. Sorry, Rick, you sold out… I, for one, will not forgive you for that. Your hands have the blood of America’s future on them.

mankai on March 8, 2009 at 9:34 PM


Winebabe on March 8, 2009 at 10:53 PM

the McCain/Obama Contest was between a pair of empty suits, and the ‘middle’ chose the better looking one handing out 20 dollar checks.

Chaz706 on March 8, 2009 at 3:12 PM

I think you forgot to check the contents of McCain’s suit before penning the above. McCain served his country, while the closest Obama came to such service was when he jarred his head on Marine One.

We would not be having the “growing pains” we are witnessing now as Obama attempts to acquire the maturity McCain already had. We are in a real “Lord of the Flies” situation and boy are we going to pay for it!

unclesmrgol on March 8, 2009 at 11:09 PM

I have ONE word to say to Arlen Sphincter….BYE

nelsonknows on March 9, 2009 at 5:12 AM

Would anyone be able to tell the difference?

MarkTheGreat on March 9, 2009 at 8:31 AM

He already did. Years ago. Final nail in the coffin, days ago.

sheesh on March 9, 2009 at 9:02 AM

Specter bailed on the GOP a long time ago, I’m surprised it is still news, but the fact he’s drug it out so long is probably the real news.

Lawrence on March 9, 2009 at 11:04 AM

We received a contribution request from the Republican Senatorial Committee just last week. We mailed it back with a note that they should ask Senator Specter for the donation since he had spent all OUR money last month.

CJ on March 9, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Don’t let the door hit ya in the….

quikstrike98 on March 9, 2009 at 5:20 PM