Both Parties Lost, and Gained, From The Defection of Arlen Specter
The defection of Arlen Specter from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party has stirred up a lot of political debate over what his change of party affiliation truly means. The Democrats, or at least a large portion of them, speculate that Specter walking the plank, jumping up and down a few times, and then taking a swan dive onto the quarterdeck of the party of Leftward ideologies, is evidence that the Republican Party's ship is sinking, and that Arlen was smart to abandon the party before the entire vessel winds up lying on the bottom of the ocean of political history as yet another failed party that was unable to change with the times.
The Conservative base of the Republican Party is essentially proclaiming "good riddance," and I am in agreement with those folks. Rather than have a liberal Republican stay and try to change the party, I would rather him go where he feels he belongs.
Arlen Specter, in truth, did not make the switch for any reason other than for himself. He simply believes he has a better chance of winning his next election with a "D" after his name. If, when his next election comes up, he feels being a Republican would give him a better chance to win, I would not be surprised to see him try to hop back to the GOP. In short, he is a self-serving politician who cares more about the next election than he does his constituency, or about the honor that should go along with the privilege of serving this great nation. With that said, I believe he is exactly where he belongs, in the party of "self-servers."
Excitement on the side of the Democratic Party, however, is unfounded. They did not suddenly achieve a filibuster-proof majority by the addition of Arlen to their party. Specter, or Senators Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe, can already be depended on delivering at least a vote or two for the Democrats on the majority of issues up for a vote. If anything, the party of the donkey is making a big whopping deal over nothing at all. Arlen Specter votes conservative about forty percent of the time. He votes to the left of center about forty percent of the time. He is without opinion the other twenty percent of the time. In other words, Arlen Specter, though liberal for a conservative, is quite conservative for a liberal. He rides the fence. And while he was straddling the fence as a Republican, the Democrats said nothing, and the Republicans complained about his unwillingness to vote more conservative more often. Now, the Democrats are crying out that Specter has come to their side, when in reality, as he was before, Arlen continues to straddle the political fence.
Meanwhile, though Specter's defection doesn't come at too great of a surprise, Republicans are acting as if losing this questionable member of the party will keep them from gaining the prize of returning control of Congress in 2010 back to the Republican Party. The GOP, in this matter, reminds me of a squirrel with his hand in a jar full of nuts, trying to grasp as many as he can with his outstretched digits. However, with a handful of nuts, the squirrel is unable to pull his full fist out of the jar because his filled fist has become larger than the opening at the top of the jar. The squirrel tugs and pulls, screaming and chattering incessantly, trying to pull the nuts out of the jar, and doesn't realize it isn't until he lets go of a few nuts that he will be able to gain his prize, or at least a part of it.
The Republican Party may have lost a voting member of the GOP, but they have gained a valuable space that can be replaced by a more conservative candidate that is not interested in trying to change the party into "Liberal-light." The Democratic Party may have gained another voting Democrat with a "D" after his name in Congress, but they have received a man who cannot be depended upon during each vote, and may not vote with them on some vital issues when the chips are down. After all, though he was quite liberal for a Republican, he still voted with the GOP forty percent of the time.
So, as it turns out, neither party really gained or lost much at all when it comes to the defection of Arlen Specter from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. If anybody lost anything at all, it is Arlen, for he is now one of the most despised figures in politics are far as the Right is concerned, and he is an untrustworthy, undependable turncoat that is essentially a Democrat wannabe, though not willing to fully baptize himself in the liberal Kool-Aide provided by the radicals now running the party of Democrats.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary