re "Specter's Departure a Wake Up Call for GOP", Dan Balz, Washington Post, 4/28/09
To the editor:
If Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic Party was a "wake up call", it was one with the ringer set on "silent." Specter's departure doesn't represent a failure of the GOP or a frightening harbinger of its long-run political future. Instead, it represents the departure of a Republican in Name Only, a man who only once since 1992 has rated better than a C in the National Taxpayers Union's ratings, a man who sees that the Republican Party has realized it must return to being a party of principles, not just partisanship -- an unfriendly place indeed for a man whose only obvious principle is his own reelection.
Senator Specter's claims that the GOP has moved too far to the right ring hollow. If that were his real reason, he would have switched sooner. Instead, he knew that he would lose the GOP primary and that he might not live to once again be a committee chairman unless he switched into the majority. I'm sure there are Detroit Lions who'd gladly switch to play for the New England Patriots if they had the choice. Of course, the rules of the NFL aren't as forgiving to turncoats as are the rules of politics. Specter would simply rather be on the winning team than actually live up to any principles. If there's anyone whom the Republican Party should be happy to see leave, it's Arlen Specter. He represents the GOP's weakness, not their strength, and certainly not their future.