Arlen Specter, facing a stiff challenge in the Penn. Republican primaries yet again, this time from Pat Toomey, has now switched parties. By doing so, and by explicitly declaring his allegiance to Democratic Party ideals, Specter has shown his stripes as a purely political animal with no sense of loyalty nor any values that he holds to above the retention of political power. In a March 17 interview with the Hill, Specter noted that he was being courted by the left to switch parties but that he refused on grounds of conscience. This from the interview of Specter with the Hill in March:
"Democrats are trying very hard for the 60th vote. Got to give them credit for trying. But the answer is no."
"I'm not going to discuss private talks I had with other people who may or may not be considered influential. But since those three people are in the public domain, I think it is appropriative to respond to those questions."
"I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role, a more important role, to play there. The United States very desperately needs a two-party system. That's the basis of politics in America. I'm afraid we are becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party with so little representation of the northeast or in the middle atlantic. I think as a governmental matter, it is very important to have a check and balance. That's a very important principle in the operation of our government. In the constitution on Separation of powers."
So much for values and conscience. In his words today:
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.
Merely as an aside, let me add that the Republican Party has not moved right since Reagan, it has simply self destructed with those elected on the right losing all fiscal discipline and being corrupted by the process. It was Specter as one of three Republicans who passed Obama's massive spending bill - once he was promised funding for his own pet project. And indeed, while the Republicans have remained fixed, it is the Democratic Party that has shifted to far to the left, Specter's new claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
The importance of Specter's act to the nation is as he described in the March interview. Now Obama now has complete control of the reins of power and, once Franken is seated, nothing, not even a filibuster, can be used to slow down the socialist agenda.
The Republican Party has been very good to Arlen Specter since his first political victory in 1980. Specter was always welcomed in the the Republican Party, though some of his positions, such as on abortion, ran against traditional conservatism. That said promises were made to him, including the promise of chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. Those promises were kept. Yet now, with the Republican Party at its nadir, fighting to remake itself and to stem the steamroller to socialism that is the Obama administration, Specter jumps ship. He does so not to become an independent on grounds of conscience, as Joe Lieberman did over the Iraq War, but to wholly join Obama and crew out of political expediency.
In Dante's Divine Comedy, one of the most well known works to come out of the 14th century, Dante observes that the ninth circle of hell, its pit, is reserved for traitors. Let us hope that they have a space resereved for Arlen Specter (D-Penn).