As I spent the better part of Tuesday away from the web and from any source of news, I did not read or hear what others have been saying about Arlen Specter’s sudden decision to switch parties.
My sense is that anything I might have to say has already been said. I’ve only read one post on the matter, that of my co-blogger; I pretty much agree with Bruce that Specter’s “only principle has always been self-preservation.” Though I might change tbe word “only” to “primarily.”
It’s clear he made the decision he did today not out of principle (as he claims) but out of concern for his political survival. He stands a better chance of winning the Democratic primary than the Republican one, though I daresay it won’t be smooth sailing for him next year in the Democratic contest.
Interesting that in the one news article I did see on the switch, Specter did cite “public opinion polls.” Even he acknowledged he was making the switch so as to better stay in to power.Â I’d read that he’d only registered as a Republican because that party affiliation would have made it easier for him to run for Philadelphia District Attorney back in the 1960s.*
Finally, it seems that the Democrats were bound and determined to get to 60 votes in the Senate. My sense is that they began working on this as soon as New Hampshire’s Judd Gregg withdrew from consideration as Commerce Secretary.
Interesting that no news of this leaked out until today.
In short, this is all about Democrats increasing their political power and Arlen Specter’s trying to assure his political survival.
*UPDATE: We can always count on Michael Barone to be able to answer such questions for us: “Party-switching is something Specter is adept at. He switched from the Democratic to the Republican party to run for District Attorney of Philadelphia County in 1965“.