Woah, Washington DC! Big news! Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is switching parties to the Democrats. Once Minnesota gets it together, and they seat Al Franken the Democrats will have their 60 seat super majority, and the Republican party will officially be irrelevant on the national stage. Well, as irrelevant as a party can be in a two party system.
Specter made the change because conservatives in his state (of the Club for Growth variety) were threatening to run a primary opponent against him in 2010. The same candidate, Pat Toomey, almost beat Specter in the primary in 2004.
This is obviously big news, and will almost assuredly move Swine Flu to the bottom of the cable news, at least for today, but lets look at what this means for Florida.
Oddly, if the Republicans want to do damage control and stop the flood of not only elected officials, but more moderate voters from the Republicans to the Democrats it might do them good to remind everyone that there's room in the GOP for centrists. And who is, for better or worse, one of the last high profile moderates in that party? Why, Charlie Crist!
If I was Michael Steele at the moment, and thank the stars I'm not, I'd
put Charlie on every talk show imaginable talking about how great it is
to be a moderate in the GOP, about how silly Specter was for making the switch, about how the Republican party is still a big tent party with room for lots of points of view. I'd do my best to minimize any primary
challenges he meets if he runs for re-election or senate, and I think
this news makes the pressure for him to run for senate all the more intense. In fact, I'd hold Charlie Crist up as the face for
Republicans in the 2010 election cycle and try to find more candidates
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Because when it's not only voters that feel the Republican party has
gone to far to the right, but the 5th highest ranking Republican in the
top legislative body in the land, well you've got a problem.