PJ Media

Specter of the RINO to Haunt GOP No More

Arlen Specter’s announcement that he is switching from the Republicans to the Democrats may have come as a shock, but it shouldn’t. The writing was on the wall for some time — recently illustrated by his vote for the “stimulus” boondoggle and initial support for “card check,” or, as I like to call it, “vote to join a union or regret it.” His 2008 rating by the American Conservative Union — 42 — certainly wasn’t much to write home about, although I’m sure he enjoyed the fawning of the press whenever he voted as a good “moderate” should. “Moderate Republicans” are favorites of the liberal press — until they stop being moderate for one reason or another. Just ask John McCain.

Specter’s change of heart comes on the heels of recent polls that put him well behind GOP primary challenger Pat Toomey. Within his “resignation” statement is a most telling passage:

I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine-year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate.

In other words, Pennsylvania Republicans can suck it — Specter’s loyalty is to his own political hide. If he was really confident about his record and his popularity at home, he would gladly take on Toomey in the primary. It’s all about keeping his job.

Isn’t this the kind of guy we say we’re tired of in Washington?

Often described as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) on the right, Specter’s departure isn’t exactly being mourned in conservative circles, but fellow “moderates” are circling the wagons. Ringleader David Frum considers the defection some sort of catastrophic event:

For years, many in the conservative world have wished for an ideologically purer GOP. Their wish has been granted. Happy?

Let’s take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party. And until and unless there is an honored place made in the Republican Party for people who think like Arlen Specter, we will remain a minority party.

Honored place? What’s so honorable about voting for a bill that will bankrupt our nation and put our children and grandchildren into hock before many of them are even born? Or bailing out the auto industry instead of allowing the market to separate the good eggs from the bad?

And Sen. Olympia Snowe from Maine wasn’t surprised at his move. Perhaps she’s not far behind?

GOP leaders, however, were taken by surprise, which either proves that Specter truly kept his intentions a secret until the last minute or that the Beltway Republicans are completely out of touch with the Republican base. I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the latter.

We hear a lot about “moderate Republicans” and how we should honor and respect them and make room in the “big tent.” But what about those “moderate Democrats” and their big tent? Last time I recall a prominent Democrat bucking the party line, he was defeated in the primary but, due to his overall popularity in a state with more independents than Republicans or Democrats, was elected as an independent. Democrats didn’t make much room in the tent for Joe Lieberman, did they? And his party had to welcome him back into the caucus, even if it wasn’t with open arms, if they were to hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.

If you’re going to act like a Democrat, you might as well be one. Will the real Arlen Specter please stand up? It looks like he has. And fortunately for Pennsylvanians, they’ll be able to vote for the real Arlen Specter next November instead of the pasteboard image that’s been propped up for years.

The question on everyone’s lips now is, facing a similar primary challenge, will John McCain follow suit?