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It’s Official! The RINO Has Become an ASS: Senator Arlen Specter Now A Democrat April 28, 2009

Filed under: Republican Party — afrocity @ 3:14 PM
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Can’t say I am surprised. We all saw it coming. At least respect the guy for getting out and being honest with himself. Good Bye, don’t let the door hit ya.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania abruptly switched parties Tuesday, a move intended to boost his re-election chances that also pushed Democrats within one seat of a 60-vote filibuster-resistant majority.

“I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” Specter said in a statement posted on a Web site devoted to Pennsylvania politics and confirmed by his office. Several Senate officials said a formal announcement was expected at mid-afternoon.

But even before the event took place, Specter attended a Senate subcommittee hearing on the swine flu outbreak and took a seat on the Democratic side of the dais.

He made no overt mention of his decision, but said, “Sorry I can’t stay longer, but this is a complicated day for me.”

President Barack Obama called Specter almost immediately after he was informed of the switch to say the Democratic Party was “thrilled to have you,” according to a White House official.

Spurned Republicans said his defection was motivated by ambition, not principle.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said, “Let’s be honest: Senator Specter didn’t leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. 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. Republicans look forward to beating Senator Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”

Specter, 79 and in his fifth term, is one of a handful of Republican moderates remaining in Congress in a party now dominated by conservatives. Several officials said secret talks that preceded his decision reached into the White House, involving both Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden, a longtime colleague in the Senate. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell as well as Democratic leaders in Congress also were involved.

With Specter, Democrats would have 59 Senate seats. Democrat Al Franken is ahead in a marathon recount in Minnesota, and if he ultimately wins his race against Republican Norm Coleman, he would become the party’s 60th vote. That is the number needed to overcome a filibuster.

Specter faced an extraordinarily difficult re-election challenge in his home state in 2010, having first to confront a challenge from his right in the Republican primary before pivoting to a general election campaign against a Democrat in a state that has trended increasingly Democratic in recent elections. Former Rep. Pat Toomey, whom Specter defeated in a close primary race in 2004, is expected to run again.

Specter has acknowledged in recent months that in order to win a sixth term, he would need the support of thousands of Pennsylvania Republicans who sided with Obama in last fall’s presidential election.

“I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate,” he said in the statement.

Asked by a reporter what he had to say to his constituents, Specter replied with a smile, “I don’t have to say anything to them. They said it to me.”

Specter has long been an independent Republican, and he proved it most recently when he became one of only three members of the GOP in Congress to vote for Obama’s economic stimulus legislation. Then, he proved it once more, pivoting not long afterward to say he did not support legislation making it easier to form unions, a bill that is organized labor’s top priority in the current Congress.

In Pennsylvania, the chairman of the state Republican Party, Rob Gleason, said that Specter should offer a refund to Republicans who have helped fatten his war chest, which totaled $5.8 million at the end of 2008. “He should give them the option,” Gleason said.

Even before Gleason made his comments, Specter announced he would return donations he has received this election cycle “upon request.”

Specter has long been one of the most durable politicians of either party in Pennsylvania. In recent years, he has battled Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system, but maintains a busy schedule that includes daily games of squash.

As one of the most senior Republicans in the Senate, Specter held powerful positions on the Judiciary and Appropriations committees. It was not clear how Democrats would calculate his seniority in assigning committee perches.

As recently as late winter, he was asked by a reporter why he had not taken Democrats up on past offers to switch parties.

“Because I am a Republican,” he said at the time.

“I welcome Sen. Specter and his moderate voice to our diverse caucus,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement.

____

Associated Press Writers Julie Davis, Laurie Kellman and Liz Sidoti contributed to this story from Washington. Peter Jackson contributed from Harrisburg, Pa.

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12 Responses to “It’s Official! The RINO Has Become an ASS: Senator Arlen Specter Now A Democrat”

  1. Janis Says:

    Well, the Republican brand has been destroyed over the past eight years. Specter just wants tok eep his job, so he needs to stick the other side’s label on his ass now.

    That’s ALL this is — a rebranding. Same old crap, different package.

  2. Daveman Says:

    Its long over due. The last thing we need in the republican party is “democrat lites”. I think the republican party will be able to have a little more credibility if they can stay on principle and get rid of the “me too” republicans. The greed for Big government power is addicting. The left may try to do good in being generous with other peoples money, but in reality, it only spreads the misery to everyone.

    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” -Thomas Jefferson

  3. boldandbald Says:

    Once again, this problem would have solved itself a long time ago if we had term limits on our legislators. 30 years is way to long for anyone to stay in Washington and still claim to represent the people. These long term legislators have no idea of what it means to live in the real world that the people they purport to represent are forced to live in thanks to their incompetence, greed and corruption. Kick the bums out!

  4. theblackcommenter Says:

    I don’t know how I feel about term limits, but I am beginning to see the wisdom of the founders in having Senators be appointed representatives of the various states (via legislative or gubernatorial appointment) than direct election. As it is, the political parties gain more and more power and the people, supposedly empowered by the change, have less and less

  5. afrocity Says:

    Now the democrats are in the driver’s seat. No more blame games.

    • FurryOldGuyJeans Says:

      The Dems will not forgo the strategy that garnered them the WH and Congress, playing the blame game.

  6. Deathknyte Says:

    I heard he switched because he was going to lose the Republican primary.

  7. manbearpig68 Says:

    Where’s “StateofDisbelief”? Now you don’t have to vote Republican anymore!!!

  8. paranoidpyro Says:

    I’m with manbearpig. All those Democrats who whined to us R’s about how a moderate like Specter is the lifeblood of our party, well now he’s on your hands. Let’s see if moderates are as “vital” to the Democrat party as they allegedly are to the Republican party. After all, the Dems seems to love him so much, so he should have no problem in their primary, right?

    • afrocity Says:

      He has a shot. Obama said he is only supporting incumbents so that basically squashes any competition that Specter has in the DEM primary. He is worthless to any party.

  9. FurryOldGuyJeans Says:

    Specter has ideologically been a Dem for quite some time, he finally decided to formalize it because he wants to keep his Senate seat. Screw the voters is his motto.


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