From Turncoat Republican to Typical Democrat: The Unprincipled Story of Sen. Arlen Specter

Good riddance.

Am I the only one not surprised by Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter’s so-called “sudden” switch from the Republican to Democratic Party? Just as it doesn’t take a perceptional samurai to determine that fitness guru Richard Simmons isn’t too fond of the ladies, it shouldn’t take a political genius to reach the conclusion that Specter would be far more comfortable with a big “D” after his name — adjacent, of course, to the solid “F” he has received from conservatives over the course of his career.

In admitting that his political views fall more in line with the Democratic Party, Specter said today that he came to his decision after, during a recent meeting of GOP leaders, he failed to receive the warm welcome he felt was deserved after he helped to defeat the business-stifling “card check” legislation.

News flash, Arlen — just as you don’t praise a puppy for not micturating on the area rug, you don’t get a standing ovation for simply doing the right thing. Besides, only two years ago, you voted with your Democrats on the issue, and only changed your mind after admittedly being “lobbied heavily” on the issue. Now that’s principled leadership. Please. Save it for the left side of the aisle; completely devoid of principles and values, that’s where you belong.

Even today’s party transition put his startling lack of core principles on display — after all, only a few weeks ago, Specter assured everyone that he would not leave the Republican Party, citing the need for the checks and balances provided by a competitive two-party system in America:

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.

Those I’ve spoken with today keep coming back to how such a switch will change the balance of power in the Senate, pushing the Democrats closer to the 60 votes needed for a filibuster-proof majority. Does anybody in their right mind believe that, just because Specter was masquerading as a Republican, the balance of power wasn’t there already? Specter switching parties is much like slapping a new paint job on one of those floating trucks used by Cubans to leave Castro for the United States — at the end of the day, because of the content, the truck is still going to sink and hurt people.

Where this will make an impact, of course, will be in the primaries for the 2010 election. I cannot help but wonder if Specter, now reviled by so many Republicans here in the Keystone State, might have difficulty being welcomed by Democrats who have voted against him for so many years. Personally, I think it paves the way for Pat Toomey or, better yet though certainly a long shot, Devon Generally to pick up the seat — giving Pennsylvania a Republican senator that actually makes decisions rooted in conservative principles rather than determined by which side can lobby more effectively.

I spoke briefly with Generally, who wanted to point out the inherently disingenuous nature of Specter’s decision today, saying that “this was a move made completely from a standpoint of self-preservation, and was a microcosm of exactly what needs to change in Washington.”

“Look, forget for a moment how Specter has, for years, showed a lack of core values,” Generally told me. “He’s abandoned his party because he wanted to stay in power. Specter saw he was some twenty points down here in Pennsylvania, and rather than face the consequences of his poor decisions at the polls, he decided to completely disregard the fact that people have voted for him as a Republican, and he put his own best interests ahead of the will of the people, ahead of the good of Pennsylvania and America. This is what’s wrong with our elected officials today. Their priorities are all wrong.”

Devon is right. Contrary to what Specter will likely argue, this wasn’t about the GOP moving to the right, or about anything other than shameless self-preservation. Honestly, while I may be a conservative, I have respect for anyone–on both sides of the aisle–who refuse to waver from core principles because of what’s popular or politically expedient. That being said, with regard to Sen. Arlen Specter, I cannot speak for all conservatives (and will not pretend to), but on behalf of this conservative and on behalf of America’s Right, I say “good riddance.”

Like caring for a flower garden, occasionally you need to cut away the dead, rotting growth to make room for new shoots. Today, the GOP may have lost one person, but the party became exponentially stronger.



  1. Laurie says:

    Jeff, I could not agree with you more!! Good riddance to bad rubbish. I only hope the people of PA have woke up or have come down off the KOOL AID high and realize what is really going on here and elect someone worthy of the job. What a great opportunity for Devon.

    BTW…You can speak for me anytime.

  2. Celia in TX says:

    I agree…it’s sad to see one less Republican in Congress, but he wasn’t really a Republican in practice anyway.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am from Pa and I can tell you that Specter was not going to make it as a Republican again. He is still in for a hard time against Devon. I only hope the rest of the people wake up before it is too late. That is why I am an Independent.

  4. Uncle Rick says:

    It was bound to happen. The article I read ( in Austin) claimed he was one of a very few ‘moderates’ among the ‘conservative’ GOP in the Senate. (‘Moderate Republican’, btw, is a term almost surely invented at the Washington Post or the New York Times; think about the implications.)

    Well, count me as an immoderate conservative, even though I’m really a juris naturalist. I know we on the right have differences, but it’s time to close ranks and get busy. We can take back the Congress, but only if we find *real* conservatives to run — people who aren’t afraid of a political confrontation, aren’t scared of the MSM and won’t balk at a fight.

  5. Linda says:

    Hmmmmmm!!! Makes you wonder who is on the other side of HIS Blackberry!!

  6. Rix says:

    The Old Sphincter is wise, I’ll grant him that. These days, there is no election money in being a Republican – and there soon might be no elections, judging by the intensity with which top Democrats are dumping on the public opinion.

  7. Lilly says:

    I actually laughed when I heard about this! From what I’ve heard democrat registrations has been up in PA with people leaving the republican side. Maybe, they were just trying to get away from him and now he’s following them, lol! Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out!

  8. RAD says:

    Well said, Jeff. Even though I am living in Colordo now I was born in Pennsylvania and spent the first 46 years of my life living there. As a lifelong conservative I was never fooled into believing that because he had the “R” after his name he was anything other than what today’s actions prove – just another liberal. Of course almost all “R’s” are not conservative anymore, just less liberal. At least now Pennsylvania will have the ability to vote on Spector knowing his true values – do anything to get re-elected be whatever is politically expedient.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Arlen Spector is a traitor to his country and to his state. He is the embodiment of the majority of politicians in this country, a hypocrite sell out unconcerned about violating the oath of office they swore to uphold. I doubt PA Democratic voters will be stupid enough to embrace this turncoat viper in their midst and look forward to his defeat in the upcoming election.

  10. Bobby K. says:

    I think if a elected offical switches parties after an election is won, then they should have to have a special eclection. They were voted in by that party not by the other party.

  11. Jesse says:

    I agree, they have already had the filibuster proof Senate with this crack-head in office. I think it is something that likely will bite him in the butt in the long run. I am VERY hopeful this is the beggining of the end of Spector, a RINO of the worst kind.

  12. whats_up says:


    I am not so sure, if Santorum (sp), one of the most conservative members of the legislature couldnt get elected in PA what makes you think any conservative can get elected there?

  13. AUWIEDERSEHN says:

    Don’t let the door hit ya in your Democratic arse on the way out. You need to go home and try living a real life, egomaniac.


    Watch Bruno’s speech this afternoon. She reads from the paper for about 30 secs, looking down, then her head bobs up and she stares AT THE CEILING, then back down to the paper, and so on. SCARY. Looks like she is swimming laps.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I say GOOD for the turncoat for finally standing up and letting everyone in on his mindset. He will NEVER HOLD ANOTHER OFFICE and will go out spouting exactly what he is AFRAID OF, based on his interview that I heard at lunch today….

    FOr the State Of PA to have been blindsided by that stump of crap for soooo long is so far against what PA was built around. Now it is time for Murtha to do the same.

    Come’on out Murtha, I double dare you!!!

  16. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    whats_up said…


    I am not so sure, if Santorum (sp), one of the most conservative members of the legislature couldnt get elected in PA what makes you think any conservative can get elected there?Solid question.

    I think times are changing a little bit, and in a hurry. You’ve got Obama and the Democrats finishing the job that the Republicans started — tanking the economy.

    I often say that Republicans murdered the economy, but the Dems have gone on a killing spree. As things get worse–and, unfortunately, they will–people will wake up a bit and see how much has been spent.

    Also, with PA being so old demographically, Obama’s healthcare provisions aren’t going to be met well. Rationing is real with regard to the Daschle-type plan, with bias going toward younger folks. Also, the scale of the detrimental effects on Medicare has not been determined fully yet.

    But that’s just my opinion … I could be wrong. The Democrats could always continue to skate by due to a mostly uninformed electorate…

  17. tm says:

    Can we all say it together ………………
    The man looks and sounds dazed -
    His time has been up -

    Dear Chairman has huge stock holdings in “Tamiflu” – their stock soared after the election.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Good riddance, indeed.

    The only thing stranger than his “single-bullet” theory was his being called a Republican.

    I believe it’s time to cast out almost ALL incumbents, Democrates and Republicans alike.

    The man is 79 years old and desperately wants to remain in the Senate. Tells you the lengths they will sell their soul to keep their cushy position.

    It’s time to throw them all out!

  19. Montanan says:

    Amazing how fast the Grand Old Party is shrinking. Just keep throwing rocks at those who different than you and you will die away forever.


    Die away my ass, we will come back even stronger and annihilate YOU. Who needs DEAD wood like Specter. You can have him.

  21. whats_up says:


    I appreciate your answering my quesiton. I dont know that the electorate was uninformed, I just think that they choose the candidate that they wanted.

    I have always hated when the left assumes that because the electorate votes for the right they are uninformed, instead they should look at their ideas and see that the voters a) didnt like them, or b) those seeking election didnt do a very good job explaining them. In American politics as much time as we spend with our primary seasons and general election I find it hard to believe that the majority of voters are uninformed.

  22. Rix says:

    Here's a sweet exerpt from CNN. I laughed so hard that couldn't resist to share:

    > Reid called Specter a "man of honor and integrity"…


    Sometimes people need rocks thrown at em Montanan, it’s called thinning the herd….. then the herd remains healthy and comes back even stronger. You’ll see.

  24. amomx4 says:

    I think it is an opportunity for some new, truly conservative, blood…

  25. Dee says:

    I am not sorry to see him leave. He stated that he was disappointed in the response he got from other Republicans and from his constituents. CNN has already posted that they see him winning the election, as a Democrat, in a landslide over Toomey.
    Jeff, I agree that PA is very old but unless the rationing in the proposed BO health care plan is pointed out very clearly to many of the elders, they may not get it. The media certainly will not make an issue of it.
    I’m not sure that many realize that his healthcare proposal is part of his budget plan and that the Dems plan to pass it without debate or input from the GOP.
    Part of Santorum’s problem was that he maintained an address here in Pittsburgh but did not really live there. The local Democrats went after him with a vengence. Of course, when Doug Walgren, a Democrat who preceded Santorum, did the same thing, it was no big deal.
    Sometimes I feel like a salmon, always swimming upstream. What a ride the next 4 years will be.
    Thanks, Jeff, for all your hard work and to all those who contribute.

  26. UNBELIEVABLE says:

    whats_up you have got to be kidding. After this last election you didn’t see ignorance abound? O M G. You and Jeffery shacking?

  27. Nathan says:

    A good thing for the GOP. Check out my post on the subject, I could really use some comments for my college course: Goodbye, Farewell….

  28. goddessdivine says:

    He has been overcome by the dark side of the force. It’s time for a rebellion.

  29. CAL says:

    Hearing that Spector left the party has made my day! Now we just need to get Collins and Snowe to see the light and leave as well!
    As long as these people are in power, there is no room for someone truly conservative to move in. Snowe is up for reelection in 2010 I believe. If the GOP has any backbone, they will tell her that they are not going to support her financially. Collins has five more years until she is re-elected. Email the GOP and tell them not to support Snowe’s reelection in 2010. Just email

  30. Anonymous says:

    Can we have a nation-wide impromptu tea party to celebrate?

  31. Reaganite Republican Resistance says:

    Actually, I would vote for Phil Spector over Arlen any day of the week- seems like a more stable and sensible choice, lol.

    With all due respect, Senator- don’t let the door hit your butt on the way-out. And nobody on our side’s going to miss you.

  32. Anonymous says:

    CAL said…

    Figuratively speaking … you took the very words from my mouth … call a spade a spade, a kenyan a kenyan, an Indonesian an Indonesian

  33. Anonymous says:

    My grandmother always use to say that water seeks its own level.

  34. Chrystal K. says:

    I’m proud of him. At least he’s staying true to himself.

  35. Anonymous says:

    If everyone would quit voting party and start voting principles we wouldn’t be having this discussion…that is why the Independents out weigh both the Democrats and the Republicans!!!

  36. jack leone says:

    good riddance is right, however… should he not have to relinquish his current position ? He can’t remain in office part way through his being elected as a Republican Senator. He has every right to change party, but either wait until you have to be on the ticket again, or resign, change party and wait for next election. I say he has no right to remain in office.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I suspect blackmail, myself. And this is just the beginning….


  38. Katherine says:

    Specter is not a liberal, people. He’s also not a conservative. He’s a moderate. I, too, am not surprised that he switched parties. It was the logical thing to do in order to be re-elected. If PA goes redder in the future, he’d switch back.

    It also doesn’t matter if the democrats end up with 60 votes in the Senate (assuming Franken will get in). Specter was already voting with them some of the time. And after switching, he will continue to vote AGAINST them some of the time, too. So switching doesn’t really change the magic senate number, either.

    Basically this is unsurprising news and not particularly important news. And as much as you all don’t want him in your party because he’s not conservative enough…a lot of us feel no better than lukewarm about him because he’s too conservative for us. He just sits in the middle somewhere.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Personally, I’m happy to have Spector out of the Republican tent. I think that it’s vitally important that the Republican party become a clear alternative to the Democrats rather than just wearing different color T-shirts in a pick-up game, all made up of the same neighborhood gang.

    I firmly believe that that is the only hope we have of making a difference in 2010 and 2012. What good does it do to win an election, only to have our party (think “W”) engage in the same expansionist government policies as the Democrats?

    Old Bob

  40. Anonymous says:

    If in 2010 would be a fair election, I’m sure AS would loose. But, as I read some times ago, the Union member said, they would pay change party in order for AS to win. BTW, don’t forget the ” magic” ACRON who elected our POTUS. Term limit should be mandatory. They should make space for those who will represent the people not enhance their career. At 79,give me a break, go and enjoy your life, what is left actually.We don’t need them to stay, until they will be carried away by strecher.

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