When Charlie called me, Senator Arlen Specter was in a very tight race against Far Right Poster Boy Pat Toomey. Charlie knew I had a soft spot for Snarlin' Arlen, and asked me to switch parties and help defeat Toomey. I agreed and was even able to talk a few fellow Dems in joining me. Specter won his primary, 51% to 49%.
This time around, it's Specter who has switched to Democrat, sounding a possible death knell to the Reagan Big Tent that tolerates moderate views. This is no surprise. Just weeks ago, Lehigh County Republicans were squabbling amongst themselves over some movement to censure Specter. At the time, blueblood Charles Snelling warned that "if we don't find ways to work together as a party, we will cease to be a party." But ideologue Joe Hilliard blames "[t]he tiny minority that advocated the 'move to the Left' strategy just to win elections ... ."
Specter's defection, though clearly an act of self-preservation, will continue to marginalize the Far Right. His move to the Democratic party is actually a move to the center, where he's most comfortable.
With Specter and Al Franken, Dems now have the muscle to stop a Senate filibuster. But don't expect to see that muscle flexed. Just as he has infuriated Republicans for years by supporting Democratic initiatives, Specter will have no trouble swinging away from the left. Sooner or later, everyone gets mad at him. That's why I like him.
And then they all sang a song.