Arlen Specter: Once a Democrat always a Democrat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Syndicated Columnist

Sen. Arlen Specter hasn’t really switched parties; he’s simply realized he cannot win the Pennsylvania Republican primary election. And he cannot win the Republican primary because he has become a tax and spender — characteristics Republicans have tired of. He started off as a Democrat, switched to the Republican Party, and has now simply confirmed his loyalty to the Democratic Party he never really left.

Despite the hand wringing of some so-called Republican strategists, the Grand Old Party is better off without sheltering this fox in their Senate henhouse.

What the mainstream media overlooked — they actually cheered Specter when he announced his defection — was his naked admission that his decision to return to the Democratic Party was based not on principle, but merely because he knew his days in the Senate as a Republican were all but over.

Polls showed that he had no chance of surviving a GOP primary challenge next year. His political calculation is simple — he figures that that a Democrat can win next year in a state that almost always votes Democratic these days.

The media also failed to recognize the demonstrable fact that Specter has certainly not been a dependable vote during his convenient stint as a Republican senator — and could never be counted upon to stick with the GOP on issues central to its core.

His decision to support President Barack Obama’s shockingly extravagant $800 billion “monstrosity package,” which will be on the backs of our children far into the future, was the latest proof. It was a prime indication that his views were becoming increasingly aligned with the wild-spending left wing of the Democratic Party.

His convenient and faulty excuse that the GOP had moved so far to the right that he was no longer comfortable in the ranks of the GOP ignored the fact that the Republican Party has not moved at all from its traditional position as a conservative party dedicated to the core values of the men who founded this nation. Only timid presidents and members of Congress moved leftward. The GOP remained what it has always been — the party of the right, literally and figuratively.

As I told Fox’s Neil Cavuto Tuesday, no one in the conservative movement has supported this man for a long period of time because he hasn’t really supported anyone in the conservative movement.

His defection is a self-inflicted wound arising out of the abandonment of traditional Republican anti-big government spending policies. Conservatives sat back for too long, watching George Bush and the spending that was going on in Washington. It cost them the House and the Senate in 2006. Still, they didn’t learn anything — and it cost them the White House in 2008.

If conservatives had had taken over the party as Specter asserts, we simply wouldn’t be in the spending crunch we have today and we wouldn’t have the deficits we have today.

We are always being asked to listen to the voice of the small contingent on the left such as Specter and his tiny band of allies. When are they going to listen to our side of the party? We’re always asked to give in to the moderates and the liberals. It’s about time the moderates and liberals acknowledged that it’s long past time when we conservatives — the majority in the GOP — had a voice in this party.

A note of caution to President Obama: Don’t let your happiness over picking up a vote in the Senate lull you into forgetting that having Arlen Specter in your ranks is like having Benedict Arnold in your army. He may be with you today but the chances are whenever he finds it’s convenient, he’ll turn on you. That’s the nature of the beast.

Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is heard on radio stations nationally as part of American Family Radio ( Look for Mike’s newest book, “Twice Adopted” and other info at E-mail comments to