10 thoughts on “On Specter

  1. Well, I agree that he’s no liberal, but it does seem the more radical elements of the Republican Party have been seizing control while many moderates have been jumping ship. So, I think it is actually true when he says the GOP has shifted to the right. Really, then, he can choose to remain in the GOP, get marginalized, and lose his primary, or he can rebrand himself as an independent or a Democrat. Even though this doesn’t really change his voting habits, or signify anything beyond the fact he really want to be re-elected, I’m still pleased. Why? Cause it shows how weak the Republican Brand is really getting.

  2. Specter’s a professional politician in the worst senses of the word. This is about nothing more than him not wanting to give up his Senate perks for six more years. The first polling in his district showed him over 20 points behind Pat Toomey, who barely lost to him in 2004. Toomey is a solid conservative who’s got a very good shot at taking out Specter in a general election.

    I figured one of the furthest-left Republicans–Specter, Snowe, Collins, etc.–would switch parties at some point over the next two years. I just didn’t think it’d be quite this soon. But with Toomey announcing his candidacy, and the polling showing Specter starting off way behind, it’s not surprising, really.

    And no, you can’t call his voting record “left leaning” if you’re a Democrat. You can if you’re a conservative like me, but generally, he’s been right down the squishy middle.

  3. Eh? The Democrats are so varied right now. You have your left-D, your right-D, your far left and far right-D, that he’ll fit right into the party without any problems.

    Oh, and if you are Che, I’m Carl Marx.

  4. The Republican party has shifted its ideological turf so much that no small number of politicians (should) have found the border between parties has slid right past them. I would much rather the people of Specter’ district voted on his positions and record rather than his party affiliation anyway.

    In a two-party system, ground that is not claimed by one party goes to the other by default. As the Republican party concentrated its efforts on the far right, it surrendered issues and positions to the opposition. Typically, representation is then passed from one candidate to another in the next election as issues are claimed by one party or the other.

    If you picture the political landscape as an actual landscape, then landmark positions and issues don’t actually go anywhere, it’s just the flags overhead that change. Representatives must choose whether to relocate when the borders shift or do business under the new flag. Specter clearly knows how to do the job of being a Senator, so if he’s actually going to represent the wishes of his district, I’d rather he change parties and keep on doing it than have to train new Senators after every election. Party affiliation should be just one part of a representative’s description, not the whole summation of his positions and abilities.

    I am fine with candidates switching parties to stay with their chosen positions, rather than shifting their positions to sync up with the party’s portfolio.

    More to the point, Specter chose not to bullshit people at his press conference by pretending that electoral politics weren’t part of his decision, and I applaud that. He’s making his case, and the voters get to make their choice. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

  5. True enough, Will, and it does cut both ways–Ronald Reagan’s famous statement of “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.” It happens. We let Specter go, and now concentrate on defeating him in 2010.

    Specter fits comfortably on the right side of the current Democratic spectrum. His lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is only 44.47, which puts him near the right edge of current Democrats, and I think well to the left of any other Republican senator. Democratic House members of the Pennsylvania delegation, by comparison, range between 0 and 40.23.

    I’ve never actually looked at the ACU’s rating website before. Kinda weird to see that Dennis Kucinich has a lifetime ACU rating of 9.59…which, according to whatever arcane formula the ACU uses, puts him about 1.4 percent to the right of Hillary Clinton. Buh?

  6. Hey, you have to at least give him points for honesty, if nothing else, and that’s rather refreshing.

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