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Arlen Specter Switches Party: Gives Dems 60 Vote Edge

Woo Hoo - looks like the GOP's well-orchestrated, Limbaugh-induced attempt to constipate the progress of America just got a enema:

The Washington Post's Cillizza first reported and NBC News confirms that Republican Sen. Arlen Specter has switched parties, which would give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 seats if/once Al Franken is seated.

Franken seat is assured, its delay is just another example of the foot-dragging delay tactics employed by the GOP to obstruct progress in America.

Here's Specter's statement - note how he specifically points out the right-wing extremism that has permeated the GOP (empahasis mine):Specter.jpg

April 28, 2009

Statement by Senator Arlen Specter

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

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.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania's economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

The right targeted Specter for defeat, and in the process gave the Dems a 60 vote filibuster-proof majority.

Does their stupidity know no bounds?

Okay, now the pressure on Senator Arlen Specter from his right is really gonna get intense.

It turns out that his main conservative primary challenger, Club for Growth president Pat Toomey, is going to get the ultimate in blessings from the right: He's campaigning alongside Joe the Plumber!

As I reported yesterday, Mr. Plumber has been enlisted to campaign at rallies in Pennylvania against the Employee Free Choice Act. It turns out that Toomey is now going to join Mr. Plumber, according to a little note on one of the Web sites of the event's organizer, the anti-EFCA group Americans for Prosperity.

Inexplicably, the group has not publicized Toomey's appearance -- perhaps to avoid offending Specter, who just came out against EFCA.

The other day I called for America to Flush the Toilet on the GOP -- and now the GOP brought in Joe the Plumber and apparently accomplished the Royal Flush that I was calling for -- all of their own doing!

Update: President Obama congratulates Specter:

President Obama called Specter shortly after learning the news during his daily economic briefing in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, according to a senior administration official.

"You have my full support, and we're thrilled to have you," Obama told Specter.

President Obama will no doubt campaign on Specter's behalf, meaning we'll have Joe the Plumber vs. Barack Obama - the Rematch!

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (12)

Paul Hooson:

When Republican moderates such as Arlen Specter no longer feel at home in their own party, then that's a pretty good sign that the Sarah Palins, the Rush Limbaughs, the Newt Gingrichs and others have taken their party way too far from the political center.

My own mother was a registered Republican, but often voted for Democrats from 1980 on because so many of the Republican candidates began to drift away from the that Mark Hatfield/Bob Packwood centrist position in Oregon, and were extremists like Kevin Mannix and others were far less acceptable to her.

The fact of the matter is that this party has left many good and reasonable voters behind. And by comparison, the Democrats are at least the party of the broader common good right now by comparison.

Lee Ward:

The GOP has been taken over by anti-abortion extremists and other fringe elements. America is waking up to that fact more and more each day.


Arlen can rest comfortably amongst his friends now, no longer needing to pretend.

"The GOP has been taken over by anti-abortion extremists and other fringe elements. America is waking up to that fact more and more each day."

Yeah Lee, you keep telling yourself that.

Christina Viering:

The republicans have been very disappointing lately.

Lee Ward:

lately? When were they not disappointing?


It is breathtaking to see the conservative movement and the republican party disintegrate like this. What is doubly fascinating is that members of that elite group of boeotians, like garandfan, are totally clueless as to what is happening.

Even while most of America is moving away from the idiocy that defined the Bush years these lame-brains go further crazy and further to the right.

It reminds me of a book I read about the Waco siege and how that cult doubled down on crazy when the barricades went up.

Lee Ward:

I see the far right's rally around Sarah Palin along those same lines, DR. The more I attack her, the more they love her - and the better chance we Dems have of facing her in 2012.


the problem, lee, dr lava, et el, is that while the republican party is having problems, the does not mean that the democratic party is either 1) gaining in general support, or 2)that the American peopel prefer the policies of the current Democratic party/leadership.

in poll after poll, i see americans unhappy with the perceived wrongs of the republican party. and at the same time i don't see people wanting to move to the progressive left either. what is it? 77% on a recent poll trusted capitalism more than government controlled socialism.

the problem is not conservatism. the problem is that for most conservatives, the republican party is too much a part of the system. they're interested in their own power, and not the power of the individual. not all of the republican policians, but a lot of them.

why do you think the tea parties were so successul? they tapped into an undercurrent of dissatisfaction among the citizenry with the status quo.

and lee, it's not us attacking you. it's us pointing out that you are wrong most of the time and that you are obsessed with palin. if anyone around here could be described as "attacking" it is you attacking others.


First of all better double check the poll numbers you quote, theey are wrong.

Most people have no idea what socialism is. America is a mix of capitalism and socialism. You think most Americans want the "socialism programs", [I read that on a tea-baggers sign], eliminated? Get rid of Social Security, Medicare, the VA, police, fire departments? How about that horibble socialist program where you can dial 911 in an emergency?

The tea bag parties were very successful at one thing at least: gathering together a small number of clueless losers whose grasp of current events encompasses yesterdays Hannity show, for the hilarious entertainment of normal people.

They were kind of like the crowds that camp out for days to get tickets for a monster truck rally where all tickets are general admission.

The conservatives future is perfectly captured in the brilliant [but not great] film: 'Idiocracy"..

And for Lees obsession with Palin.....she is a precious treasure deserving of obsession, like out of a Ray Bradbury story.

Lee Ward:

Palin is an angel - sent to earth to deliver votes to the Democratic Party.


In my county's Democratic Party office, we had small busts made of Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, and Palin, and a little plaque underneath that says "We forever honor these trailblazers of the Democratic Party. Their hard work ensures that our volunteers show up, the money keeps flowing in, our progressive agenda advances."

Welcome Senator Arlen Specter(D - PA) !! Woot!

Rich Fader:

The entertaining thing here is that Arlen Specter is, before his career is over next fall, going eventually to be caucusing with the guy who wrote "Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them". Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

(Eventually, I said. Patience, my leftist friends. As I'm sure even Al Gore would agree, Mr. Coleman has every right to pursue every legal remedy he has available.)


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