On April 28, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter had dropped quite the political bomb on the GOP. In the past, Specter was considered to be a moderate Republican Senator. On that day, Specter made the announcement that he was defecting to the Democratic Party. He would switch his political affiliation to Democrat. Some conservatives blasted Specter. Moderates said they did not blame Specter. Other conservatives hailed it. However, it is unknown on what Specter’s true motivations are.
It is revealed that Specter is up for reelection in 2010. As a Republican, he faces steep competition from conservative Pat Toomey. So far, Specter has been accused of trying to save his own political skin. Also, this turn of events has brought the GOP to an interesting ideological crossroad.
Despite the move, Specter said that it does not make him the “60th vote” according to an article on TIME Magazine. The “Magic 60” is sixty votes which can override filibusters in the US Senate. Despite the change, it is still unknown on what side Specter will align with. It brings up one question: Can Senate Democrats rely on Specter in the future?
With the defection, it would mean that Specter will run for reelection as a Democrat. While Democrats in Washington are giving praise, it is a different story with Democrats in Pennsylvania. In another TIME Magazine article, there are some Pennsylvania Democrats not too thrilled at the possibility of Specter running for reelection as a Democrat.
There are concerns on how the Democratic primary for the Pennsylvania Senate seat will turn out. According to Montgomery County commissioner Joe Hoeffel, there are plenty that will not be happy about it. In that respect, the TIME Magazine article explains that Specter will receive strong Democratic support. It is reported that for the reelection race, he will get support from United States President Barack Obama and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. It also highlights that there could be another person who could run up against Toomey in the GOP Primary for the Senate seat.
But the main issue in this respect would be Pennsylvania Democrats and the notion of Specter running for reelection as a Democrat. Overall things have gotten quite interesting in regards to both Democrats and Republicans. For the GOP, it has raised the interesting question: What path will the GOP take?
An article on TIME’s Real Clear Politics blog, it asks another question: Is the Republican Party a party that caters to a region? The article touches ground on the “50-State Strategy” concocted by former DNC Chairman and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. This was a strategy used by Obama during his campaign.
This topic was somewhat brought up by moderate GOP Senator Olympia Snow of Maine. However, the article says that it is something not uncommon. The blog entry explains that when things get very rocky for a party, it gets reduced to its base. The further implication is that no party is immune to that. In that respect, the same could happen to the Democrats as well. The blog entry cites what happened after 1964 in regards to the Democrats. It maintains that the GOP still has a strong base in the South. Still, it plays on the question on the direction of GOP ideology.
In respect to now Democratic Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, this is one race to watch carefully. In the wake of everything, one should pay attention in which ideological direction that the GOP is headed.