Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has decided to change his political party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. In the past, when there were actual differences between the parties, this might have been a truly meaningful act of political rebellion against a party that has so thoroughly lost its way. Of course in today’s one party system, a legislator moving from one wing of the party to another will make little to no difference whatsoever.
Specter’s defection to the Democrats will do little in the way of a seismic shift on key pieces of legislation since Specter held few of the economic principles that Republicans claim to believe in. That of course hasn’t stopped Republican interest groups from lambasting Specter. From CNN:
…Club for Growth President Chris Chocola replied in a statement, “Sen. Specter has confirmed what we already knew: He’s a liberal devoted to more spending, more bailouts and less economic freedom. Thanks to him, Democrats will now be able to steamroll their big government agenda through the Senate.
“This cynical play for political survival calls into question whether Pennsylvania taxpayers can believe anything Arlen Specter says.”
“A liberal devoted to more spending, more bailouts and less economic freedom”? As opposed to the rest of the GOP (minus Ron Paul)?
More important than the switch in and of itself, however, is the change this will make in party balance in the Senate:
The switch puts Senate Democrats one vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats. They can reach the 60-seat mark if Al Franken holds his current lead in the disputed Minnesota Senate race.
Once filibuster-proof in the Senate, if they can only manage to toe the party line there will be little to stop Democrats from passing any and all legislation they like — at least until the next election cycle.
The entire story, and Republican response, can be read here.Published in