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.
Now, I'm certainly not expecting Senator Specter to be as liberal as, say, Al Franken. And he insists he won't be an "automatic 60th vote for cloture." But he's always impressed me as being one of the saner Republicans, despite the fact that his name always sounded to me like it ought to belong to a James Bond villain.
As the GOP "base" demands more and more ideological purity, there may very well be more defections of moderate Republicans, or as the wingnuts derisively call them, "RINOs" (Republicans in Name Only). Hyper-conservative washed up rocker Ted Nugent even declared "Open Season" on RINO's with "no bag limits or permits required" for the "cockroaches."
Hey, good luck with the ideological purges, wingnuts. They worked so well for the Soviet Union.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that since Specter says he won't be an "automatic" vote for cloture, the biggest change may be that he ends up being the most courted and therefore one of the most powerful men in the Senate.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The Incredible Shrinking GOP: Specter Jumps the (Sinking) Ship
Senator Specter switching parties - POLITICO.com
Posted by JD Rhoades at Tuesday, April 28, 2009