From MSNBC's "Frist Read," one of the better political/analytical morning automatic emails out there. jc
Arlen Specter's defection yesterday to the Democratic Party was big news for several reasons. First, it gave Democrats a possibility at a filibuster-proof majority (even though Specter said he wouldn't be an automatic 60th vote for Dems, he'll be more reliable than Ben Nelson). It also gave Specter a MUCH greater chance at winning re-election (he admitted that was the reason for the switch, rare frankness from a politician). But perhaps the biggest news from the switch -- at least in the short term -- was that it served to kick a GOP that's already down. As Specter said in his statement yesterday, "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans." Translation: There's no longer room in the GOP for someone like Specter, even though he resides in a state Obama carried by TEN percentage points last November. While plenty of Republicans are bidding good riddance to Specter, we have this question: Can the Republican Party regain control of Congress without moderates like Specter? Don't forget this truism in American politics: Winning races often comes down to winning the middle (see: Obama, Barack).
...also, remember, most folks don't "know" Specter that well outside of Pennsylvania and Washington. And all it looks like to the average citizen in Denver or in Raleigh or in Orlando is that a Republican decided that Obama's Democratic Party was a good home for him.
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