By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Among the more humorous responses to Arlen Specter's defection from the GOP to the Democrats came from GOP party chief Michael Steele. Steele said, in part:
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.
Did Specter ditch the Republican Party to further (or lengthen) his personal political career? You betcha! Did the GOP accuse Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado of looking out solely for his own political gain when he left the Democratic Party to become a Republican in 1995? Did they chastise former Democrat Richard Shelby of Alabama for joining the GOP in 1994, purely for political self-preservation? Methinks not. And yet that is precisely what those two men and a host of others before them did.
Congressional party-switching is almost as old as the Republic itself. And it's always done for self-preservation.
And one more thing: Arlen Specter a left-winger? Yeah, the same Arlen Specter who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee and ripped lawyer Anita Hill to shreds for telling the truth about her encounters with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. That would qualify Senator Specter as a far-Lefty, all right.
The GOP had better realize it needs to get back to its roots as a centrist, fiscally conservative big tent if it ever wants to recapture the White House or Congress again.
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