President Specter Fits Right In
Arlen Specter went on Meet The Press and defended his strong credentials as a Republican inside the Democratic Party.
Gregory: It was reported this week that when you met with the President, you said, “I will be a loyal Democrat; I support your agenda.” Let me test that on probably one of the most important areas of his agenda and that’s healthcare. Would you support healthcare reform that puts up a government-run public plan to compete with a private plan issued by a private insurance company.
Specter: No. And you misquote me, David. I did not say I would be a loyal Democrat. I did not say that. And last week, after I said I was changing parties, I voted against the budget because the budget has a way to pass healthcare with 51 votes,which undermines a basic Senate institution to require 60 votes to impose cloture on key issues.
He's one of those vote-against-the-budget, vote-against-the-Democratic-health-care-plan Democrats. Just like his new BFF Ben Nelson.
Combine that with his appearance on Face The Nation, where he openly hoped that his defection to the Democratic Party would help the Republican Party.
SCHIEFFER: I was just talking to these health officials about this flu and how it -- was there a danger it might mutate into something more dangerous. I want to ask you, do you feel that your switch to the Democratic Party, could that mutate into something even more dangerous for Republicans? Have you talked to anybody who has said to you, you know, I’m going to follow your example? Or is this just a one-time deal that pertains only to you?
SPECTER: Bob, it would be my hope that, as was reported in the New York Times last week, that this would be a wake-up call and the party would move for a broader big tent like we had under Reagan.
The party has changed so much since I was elected in 1980. And now, when I cast a vote with the Democrats on the stimulus package, that one vote created a precipitous drop so that I was looking at a situation where the prospects were very bleak to win a Republican primary, and I simply was not going to put my 29-year record before the Republican primary electorate.
But it would be my hope that we can maintain a strong two-party system and we’ll stop the business of what the Club for Growth has been doing to defeating moderates in the primary and then losing the general elections.
It's a curious profile for a Democrat, running to ensure that Republican moderates get elected more easily.
Joe Sestak's not giving up on primarying this guy. I hope he does. Maybe we can set up a special Lieberman Congress at a kiddie table somewhere so all these principled moderates can vote against each other's priorities and pat each other on the back for it.