May 6th, 2009

Senator Arlen Specter switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, as we’ve all heard by now.  He said he was doing it because he finds himself more aligned with the Democrats and the Republicans have become too conservative, yada yada yada.  Horse puckey.  As we all know, he did it because he would most likely be defeated in the next Pennsylvania Republican primary election.

Senator Specter said earlier that Senator Reid, leader of the Senate Democrats, promised him he would retain his seniority on the five Senate committees of which he is a member.  With 29 years in the Senate, he was the ranking minority member on Judiciary and near the top of Republican rankings on the others.  Turns out, though, that Reid lied to him.  He’s now the most junior Democrat on every one of his committees.  Seems he upset some of his new comrades by opining on TV that Norm Coleman might still defeat Al Franken.  Bad Senator—go to the back of the line!

This is nothing more than Specter being Specter.  He’s gone from being a RINO (Republican In Name Only) to a DINO (Democrat In Name Only).  He’s always going to speak his mind and vote his conscience on any given issue.  Anyone who expects otherwise either doesn’t know Specter or suffers from an extreme case of partisan wishful thinking.

Frankly, I think we’d be better off with more people like Arlen Specter in politics.  Party politics is fine, but acting like a robot following the party line is often a betrayal of a politician’s constituents.  If I lived in Pennsylvania, he’d have my vote, even though I often disagree with him.


The Keystone State’s Most Junior-Senior Senator, New York Times
Party Switch Costs Specter His Seniority on Senate Committees, Washington Post
Specter Will Be Junior Democrat on Committees, Roll Call

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8 Responses to “From RINO to DINO”

  1. Atomic Lib Smasher |

    The Dems can keep him. We don’t want him. After the statement he made about Jack Kemp’s death, he’s not a RINO but another acronym… P.O.S.

  2. Kevin |

    I agree, Tom. We could use more politicians like Specter.

  3. Tom |

    ALS, I assume this is the statement you refer to:

    “If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine.”

    What’s so bad about that? Specter is expressing the opinion that if we had pursued cancer research more diligently, it could have saved Jack Kemp, just like it saved him. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong, but it’s his opinion. There’s no disrespect for Kemp in that statement.

    So, ALS, what’s your point…?

  4. John Q |

    I don’t have sympathy for Specter. He was a bad Republican, he could not get reelected, so he switched to Democrat. He will be a bad Democrat too, I’m sure. The Repubs should not be sorry he left because they cannot depend on him. The Dems can’t trust him either, so why would they give him all the senior positions? He made his bed.

  5. Kevin |

    John Q goes to the heart of what’s wrong with this country. Specter doesn’t represent the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, he represents a state composed of members of both parties as well as other smaller parties and many non-affiliated citizens. He may be affiliated with an organized political party, but that’s not who he is there to represent. Otherwise we’d just cut to the chase and have only two Senators – the chair of the GOP and the chair of the DNC.

    I vote for folk who share my values and are likely to vote accordingly. I don’t, never have and never will vote for someone based on whether they’ll represent a political party because that’s just not what they are there to do.

    Most of the very best elected officials over the years have demonstrated a willingness to buck their own party. That’s pretty much the difference between a Party apparatchik and a statesman/woman. One is a common political hero that Tom and I share – the late, great Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Another would be Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR).

  6. IamRobert |

    I for one am sick and tired of these folks practicing politics “just for the sake of it,” or their own personal agendas. As a pragmatic person, I beleive we send these people to Washington to achieve some sort of result. But this story just goes to show that no matter who is in Washington, it’s S2D2.

    Perhaps these folks should get an annual performance rating like the rest of us…based soley on the problems they have solved. Even better, someone should start a referendum that the American public must approve all pay raises for these folks.

  7. Tom |

    I took John’s point to be that Specter knew the rules and chose not to observe them, so he had to expect a negative result. He shouldn’t cry about it.

    I also agree that the best politicians are the ones willing to buck their party when their conscience dictates. That’s OK, too, and I’m glad we have them. But the two major parties aren’t going away. In our system, if we didn’t have them, we’d have to invent them–which is pretty much what happened over time.

    Robert, politicians do get performance ratings, and we do approve their pay raises. This happens each election cycle. If we don’t like what they’ve been doing, we should throw the bums out. We have the power; it’s too bad we’ve so rarely use it.

  8. Brian |

    I think that if Holly Maddux had anything to say about it, she’d want Specter defeated. I don’t know what kind of strings Specter pulled to get his client Ira Einhorn a pre-trial release on a murder charge, but I cannot imagine that it was an above-board deal.

    A strong group of defense attorneys is important – they keep the state from running roughshod over the accused. Specter’s deal on behalf of Einhorn has a nasty odor about it, and falls outside what it is that defense attorneys are supposed to do.

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