When I read that Arlen Specter switched parties yesterday, my jaw dropped to the ground. I don't think anyone saw that one coming.
The impact of his switch is glaringly obvious. The Republican party is too extreme for Specter and the voters in PA. Again jaw drop. I'm not sure if there is more to say on that score.
The Democratic reaction to this switch is obvious. I'm actually mostly curious what the Republicans have to say. Here's Ramesh Ponnuru:
while the GOP is being reduced to a conservative rump. The timing of
the announcement could hardly have been better for the White House.
OK, I take back the lack of good liberal commentary on this matter. Check out TPM:
Probably the most important point is here is the demographic changes
going on in Specter's home state. Pennsylvania is a closed-primary
state, and the ranks of registered Republicans, the folks eligible to
vote in the GOP primary, shrunk last year.
In 2008, between 150,000 and 200,000 registered GOPers switched to the
Democratic Party in order to vote in the contentious primary between
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Let's take a look at the deeper numbers — and how the state's
reduced GOP electorate has pulled harder to the right, making this move
necessary as a simple matter of political survival.
Those people tended to be moderate voters — Specter's people
— and without them he cannot win a primary. But with them staying as
Democrats, he could actually start with a leg-up as a Democrat, just in
case any liberal challenger might try to take him on in the Dem primary.
I'm in reading/linking mode on this topic. I'll share the good stuff. Oh, I like Dan's post.
UPDATE: (Thanks to bj for spotting this.) The quote of the day goes to David Brooks, "The Democrats I saw on Capitol Hill were experiencing the joy you feel
when your team, already up by four touchdowns, scores yet another.
Let’s call it the joy of pulverization."
Though Gail Collins gets a close second for: Everybody knows, of course, that even when Al Franken finally makes it to Washington, getting all 60
Democrats-and-fellow-travelers to vote together on something will be
like herding … something really impossible. Not cats. Cats I could
envision all going in one direction if there was a little
herring-flavored incentive at the end of the line. Herding rabid guinea
pigs in a thunderstorm, maybe."