Arlen Specter

specterArlen Specter has served in the United States Senate since 1980. A moderate voice, in an increasingly conservative republican party, Specter announced today he was bolting the party of Limbaugh to join the majority. I’m thrilled Senator Specter came to his senses, but this has more to do with good old fashion back room politics than party ideology.

Specter’s support of President Obama’s stimulus bill put him on the outs with his republican masters in Washington. His chances of winning a conservative primary in his home state of Pennsylvania were next to nil. Keystone state republicans were going to throw Specter out faster than Rush Limbaugh reaching for a bottle of oxycontin. The only hope for Specter to continue his 29 year senate career was to jump from the sinking SS Limbaugh to the ship the Democrats now sail. He was honest and admitted it.

Specter also said he found himself “increasingly at odds with the republican philosophy”. A philosophy that’s moving farther and farther to the right. I’ve heard many moderate republicans say they’re uncomfortable with the direction of the party. But, the party bosses aren’t listening. They’re ignoring their failure in the last two national elections. They’re going to ignore the defection of the senior senator from Pennsylvania and they’re ignoring the fact most Americans are centrists. Americans don’t want to be governed from the far right or left. They want to be governed from the center. I’m a liberal Democrat and even I know that.

The farther right the republicans go the fewer followers they’ll have. My only fear is Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will see this as an opportunity to take the country hard to the left. Now, I’m all for it (mostly, I have a few nasty conservative streaks in me) but most Americans will not. Whether or not the country’s center right or center left does not matter. The important thing to remember is the majority is hanging around that white stripe in the middle of the road.

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