Many national outlets are reporting that moderate U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has switched parties and is now part of the Democrat majority. No doubt, this is a major story and has significant implications for this Congress and the agenda going forward as the Democratic Party is now one seat closer to the magical number of 60.
Reports are also indicating that the main, or at least a major, reason why Specter is switching parties is that he feels he stands a better chance to be re-elected as a Democratic candidate than a Republican candidate does. If this is true, outrage should follow by the citizens of Pennsylvania. Putting his own selfish political interest ahead of what is best for his state and country in these tough economic times is exactly why so many Americans are incredibly fed up with the politics coming out of Washington D.C.
Now, if Specter’s reason is based solely on his philosophy and belief he is now a Democratic legislator and should thus be recognized as such, fine. However, to make a switch late in the fifth of a six-year term on the heels of what is expected to be a tough re-election effort smells of the self-preserving attitude that has become far too common among many elected officials.
If this politically calculated, self-interested attitude is driving this decision, I hope that someone — a Republican or Democratic candidate — replaces Sen. Specter in 2010 and will serve the good people of Pennsylvania and the country with the wishes of the taxpayer first.
Feel free to add your comments and start a discussion on the topic of elected officials switching parties.
Editor’s note: Here’s a list of some other well-known political party switcheroos.