Specter's switch was more than likely not so philosophically driven as it is motivated by plain old political survival. As one of three Republican Senators who voted in support of the bailout, Specter has received a lot of harsh criticism from those on the right.This has even brought up the consideration within the RNC hierarchy to withhold money from his campaign for 2010.
Specter was also facing a very difficult challenge from former Congressmen, Pat Toomey, in Pennsylvania’s upcoming 2010 Republican Primary.
From Rasmussen Reports,
Incumbent Senator Arlen Specter trails former Congressman Pat Toomey by 21 points in an early look at Pennsylvania’s 2010 Republican Primary. Fifty-one percent (51%) of Republican voters statewide say they’d vote for Toomey while just 30% would support Specter.
Reading the handwriting on the wall, as far as the Republicans are concerned, is not very difficult, most are glad he is gone. However, the reaction amongst the left is a little more blurry.
From the Democratic National Committee.
Earlier today Senator Arlen Specter left the Republican Party and he is now a Democrat.
A Republican for 43 years, Senator Specter has chosen to leave a party that he says has moved far to the right and join Senate Democrats as they work with President Obama to turn our country and our economy around.
Senator Specter courageously supported the President's economic recovery package -- setting politics aside to create solutions to America's problems.
Not exactly the warmest reception one would expect from your newest benefactors.
Also there is the linking of Specter to the bailouts, which will either haunt him politically or make the twilight of his career shine. Your take on that outcome just depends on your point of view concerning the bailouts.
(H/T to memeorandum)