Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Sen. Arlen Specter to switch parties!

  1. Apr 28, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    CNN is just now reporting that Arlen Specter - one of the most senior Republican Senators - will become a Democrat! If Al Franken does assume office for Minnosota, which we expect to happen, that would give the Democrats a fillibuster-proof 60 vote majority in the Senate.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Arlen Specter to switch parties

    Here we go.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/04/arlen-specter-switches-parties.php
     
  4. Apr 28, 2009 #3

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I heard the announcement on NPR.

    I would hope Specter would declare himself Independent like Jeffords and Sanders, because I do think we need a successful independent 3rd party movement. That might however complicate running for office.
     
  5. Apr 28, 2009 #4

    LowlyPion

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    This looks to highlight the Conservative schism that has divided the Republican Party into a diminishing minority.

    I agree that the best system is one in which the tension between the parties is even enough so as to be more centrist. That would seem to be the best result for all. But the Republicans have lurched in recent years to embrace an unsuccessful strategy of attempting to dismantle government, unfetter regulation, and eschew oversight to the point that the rudderless ship of state has plunged into rocky waters. In their zeal to push their minority agenda I think they have alienated, provoked and angered a growing majority. Arlen Spector is merely recognizing which way the wind is blowing.

    I'd suspect that with Spector as a Democrat, Toomey is in a hopeless position now, unless Spector is defeated in the Democratic Primary. I'd think however, that this move was likely already vetted with Democrats, and they won't all that actively oppose him, most especially if they get his vote on more party line issues - allowing him some room to be independent when not needed.
     
  6. Apr 28, 2009 #5
    :rolleyes:He had chemo for a brain tumor, obviously the chemo fried more than just the tumor
     
  7. Apr 28, 2009 #6
    This is... really interesting.

    The important thing though is how he votes now that he's a Democrat. How much does this free him up to vote for Cloture where he might not have with the Republicans looking over his shoulder?
     
  8. Apr 28, 2009 #7

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Susan Collins and Olympia Snow should follow suit and switch parties, too. They have broad bipartisan support in Maine, and since they voted in favor of the stimulus package the state's rabid right-wingers have been attacking them and insulting them, calling them RINO's. The GOP has spent the last couple of decades abandoning their moderates to the point where the party's political viability could be in question - maybe it's time for GOP moderates and REAL conservatives to either re-take the party or leave it to die. Just a dream, maybe, but if politically moderate fiscal conservatives wanted to form an independent 3rd party, I'd back them.
     
  9. Apr 28, 2009 #8

    LowlyPion

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Maybe it was the tumor all these years that has been pressing against his socially compassionate lobe, and now that he is in remission he has his ideological priorities in sharper focus?

    I suspect he was afflicted as far back as when he erred in his judgment about Anita Hill.
     
  10. Apr 28, 2009 #9
    He lost a lot of supporters over the past few months and since the stimulus vote. He made the right decision, given his goal of re-election. Chances are he'll position himself as a critical swing vote on important issues.
     
  11. Apr 28, 2009 #10

    LowlyPion

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    In that sense then he will be influential, and Obama will be having his bi-partisanship. So far Republicans seem determined to marginalize themselves in letting their parade be led by the likes of Fox and Limbaugh, with such lightweight potential candidates in the wings as Jindal and Palin or even Pawlenty or Cantor, with their most serious voice McCain too old to effectively be viable in 4 years or Romney being not the exactly right flavor of Christian ... How effective can Republicans ever hope to be if their Party Platform teeters atop the single word No?
     
  12. Apr 28, 2009 #11
    Is it ethical for him to stay in office, since the political philosophy that got him elected has changed?
     
  13. Apr 28, 2009 #12
    Potentially more powerful than ever.
     
  14. Apr 28, 2009 #13

    LowlyPion

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    If politicians resigned every time they changed their positions ... Congress would be a ghost town.
     
  15. Apr 28, 2009 #14
    That's too bad. I was hoping some disgruntled Republican would pull a Strom Thurmond
     
  16. Apr 28, 2009 #15

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/parsing-the-polls/21-percent.html

    Specter has always been a moderate. What choice did he have?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  17. Apr 28, 2009 #16

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It hasn't changed. He's been liberal for quite some time, he's just been trying to play both sides of the field. Back in the '80s, that was important because of the strong support for the republican side of the fence. With democrats now in control, there is less downside for him to be honest (relatively - he says he's independend yet is joining the Democrats :rolleyes: )who he really is.

    What this changes is only what Coin says: now he won't have people second-guessing his liberal tendancies and will be more free to express them. Expect his voting record to switch from slightly conservative, which it is now, to medium-liberal as a result.
     
  18. Apr 28, 2009 #17

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    "Independent". He didn't choose the Democratic party because he is "moderate", he chose it because he is liberal but also an opportunist. He said it himself in that quote you posted:
    Similarly, he wore the "republican" label more because he was an opportunist than a conservative.
     
  19. Apr 28, 2009 #18

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Just curious...how do you define liberal?
     
  20. Apr 28, 2009 #19
    He chose the Democratic party because he is more likely to win a general election against Pat Toomey than a three-way election against Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak. This is all about electoral politics, nothing to do with ideology or principles.
     
  21. Apr 28, 2009 #20

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There is no point in him declaring himself an Independent if he wants to survive politically. The 2-party system is strangling our government and the gerrymandering of primary rules (state-by-state) makes it pretty darned tough for independents to get onto a general election ballot. Faced with this situation in an increasingly Democratic state, he had little choice.

    Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins should follow him tomorrow, IMO. Maine went overwhelmingly for Obama, though Collins and Snowe are iron-clad in general elections due to strong bipartisan support. They should join the Dems and work from within to drive that party toward more fiscally-conservative policies. Both are well-respected in DC for their willingness to seek bipartisan compromises to address important problems. We have a tradition of pretty independent women politicians in Maine, not the least of whom was Margaret Chase Smith, who bucked her own party to challenge "Tail-Gunner Joe" and back him down from his communist witch-hunts.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Sen. Arlen Specter to switch parties!
  1. Party, party, party (Replies: 21)

  2. Surprise party! (Replies: 24)

  3. Pf party (Replies: 25)

Loading...