Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal makes several good points about Specter’s defection to the Democrats and what it means for the GOP. She writes:
Purely from a philosophical standpoint, Mr. Specter’s move means nothing, because he didn’t leave his party on philosophical grounds. As even the good senator acknowledged in his press conference, his top priority is, and always has been, staying in office. Had the GOP last year allowed Mr. Specter to pen the entire party platform to his liking, he’d still have bailed this week. The Pennsylvanian has only ever been purely ideological on one issue: the polls.
The point here being that Mr. Specter isn’t necessarily a good indicator of how open, or not, the GOP is to “ideological” diversity. As it happens, the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate that Mr. Specter is now so unwilling to be “judged” by didn’t suddenly turn against him because he was pro-choice (he always has been) or pro trial-lawyer (ditto). He got in trouble after he voted for the blowout $787 billion stimulus bill. (More on that later.)
And so did Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, in the same way as they vote for every spending bill in sight. In addition, Congressional Quarterly notes this morning:
Maine’s two senators, Snowe and Susan Collins, are among the Republicans most likely to vote with Democrats on policies such as energy, entitlements and social issues such as support for abortion rights.
Then, how can they complain with a straight face that their party is not accepting enough of their “centrism”? I am not a party person, but if the concept means anything, it seems to me that the GOP might, in fact, be too accepting.
To read Strassel’s piece, go here.