“The Specter defection is too severe a catastrophe to qualify as a ‘wake-up call.’ His defection is the thing we needed the wake-up call to warn us against! For a long time, the loudest and most powerful voices in the conservative world have told us that people like Specter aren’t real Republicans – that they don’t belong in the party. Now he’s gone, and with him the last Republican leverage within any of the elected branches of government…

Let’s take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party. And until and unless there is an honored place made in the Republican party for people who think like Arlen Specter, we will remain a minority party.”

***
“I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.”

***
“But before Specter’s defection is automatically written up as a new chapter in Profiles in Courage, there is reason to question whether the braver, better course of action would have been to stick out another primary fight as a Republican. Specter had the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which understood that his primary victory was the GOP’s best hope of holding on to the seat. Independent voters appreciate Madison’s vision of checks and balances—that’s why they so often split their tickets, especially in states like Pennsylvania. But the aim of checks and balances—so vociferously defended by Democrats when Republicans tried to invoke the so-called ‘nuclear option’ over judicial confirmations in 2005, and salvaged by the centrist Gang of 14, including Specter—is now under threat from the left. Don’t expect many Democratic warnings of the same dangers. In Washington, where you stand is a matter of where you sit. Partisanship trumps principle.”

***
July 22, 2008: