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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter a Symptom of Shrinking GOP

by Jay Allbritton
At the height of the Bush Administration, Arlen Specter drove me nuts. He would occasionally appear on the precipice of doing the right thing, then... not so much.

In July of 2007, Specter talked of empowering a special prosecutor to look into the 2006 firing of U.S. Attorneys.

In May of 2006, in a move designed solely to force red state Democrats onto the record, Specter voted for a gay marriage ban in committee before voting against it on the floor.

After all that, knocking off Specter meant a lot to me. So, while this is a great moment for the Obama agenda, it's a tough day for progressives hoping to get a better Senator in that seat in 2010. Also, Specter joining the Democrats effectively ends my one-man Bob Saget for Senate campaign. Well, he was a better choice than Chris Matthews.

Still, Specter's switch to the Democrats tells a larger tale. The Republican Party shrank so much by 2008, that a relative moderate like John McCain had to take on such radical positions just to get nominated that he could not sustain a credible national campaign. What remains of that party is a mess, and while at least two viable national parties are necessary to the health of our nation, it doesn't bother me in the least to see the message being sent in the clearest possible language--the Republican Party must change or it will die.

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