Yes, it was a bombshell that happened yesterday. Senator Arlen Specter has crossed the line and denounced the Republican Party and joined the Democratic Party. But what does this all mean?
First, Arlen Specter as every member of congress is a politician first and foremost, don't forget that. He has read the polling numbers, saw the Obama train register people in his state at record clip, and know that it would be tough to beat former Rep. Toomey in the Republican primary. With the Republican numbers shrinking all over this country, beating Toomey would have been tough.
Enter Specter’s friend, Vice-President Joe Biden who has been working out at the Senate gym and talking to his friend to join us. Nothing hits a person like reality and the facts. The facts were that things looked grim for Biden's friend; the reality is that he likes being a senator, loves his job in Washington, DC, and wants to stay. So, Specter became a Democrat.
What does it mean? Well, deals are not brokered in the open. Specter gets the Democratic establishment behind him in the primary and most importantly the general election for fall 2010. Specter also gets President Obama to campaign for him during his campaign and the Obama machine. Did he get a chairmanship deal? No, but he has seniority and don't expect him not to get one.
Does this stink? Depend on which roses you smell. This helps the Democrats in the senate, but does not change much. Specter is a moderate. Does this help the Republicans? No. It exposes a puss on a sore that is leaking very badly now. The northeastern part of this state has NO CONGRESS MEMBERS but for the lady senators of Maine. The Republican Party is not a big umbrella, it is a narrow minded party that expects you to tow the line, damned if you have an independent streak, you must tow the line. For many moderates in the Republican Party that is difficult because if you vote for the stimulus package as Specter did, you are called every name in the book but the Son of God. That is the problem for the Republican Party. They have not expanded, they have not brought in new folk, they have not outreached to the young, have turned off the African-American vote, have repeated hate speech to the Hispanic vote, and does not like ANYONE if you are not with THEM. Sounds familiar does it? This party has shrunk to a small hard line conservative, right winged nuttery party. Specter is no fool, he bounced.
I welcome Specter. I know what this means. I know what his vote means, whether I like it or not. This means in the end that the Republican Party is nothing but a southern regional party and does not know how to communicate to the whole of the country. Right now the Republican Party is totally irrelevant.
Remember, the Democratic Party is a big tent. You only have to remember the look of the two conventions last summer. That says it all about where this country is really at and Specter got the message.