Long-time Republican Senator Arlen Specter fearing a loss in his states primary switched parties in a desperate attempt to retain power. His vote for President Obama's stimulus package, one of only three Republicans to do so, outraged the far right-wing of the Republican base and their hopes that Obama will fail as President.
The Republican base see this as a victory in their attempt at "purifying" their party of anything resembling reasonable. Other "moderates" of the Republican party should be concerned--both of them. The shock jocks of the right-wing wurlitzer, Rush, Hannity, Coulter, O'Reilly, etc, have captured the base of the right and demonized Democratic policies to such an extent that compromise is an impossibility. This has reduced the Republican party to a regional party limited to primarily the old confederate south.
The search for ratings and commercial success has come at the expense of electoral failure.
Aside from concern trolling for the right and doing a Dr. Phil drive-by psych 101 evaluation of the dwindling Republican party, my concern lies with the Democratic leaders reaction to Snarlin' Arlen's defection.
President Obama has pledged full support for Specter's re-election bid in Pennsylvnia. Harry Reid will allow Specter to keep his seniority in the senate. Ed Randell, Governor of Pennsylvania and master of machine politics, will "clear the field" for Senator Specter, insuring he draws no primary opponent.
Specter would have lost his primary election to a far-right loon backed by Club For Growth, a hard, right-wing party purification organization. The club's President, Pat Toomey, would have been Specter's primary opponent, bringing to bear his entire apparatus in the effort. Toomey probably would've beaten Specter but due to over 200,000 republican voters recently switching to the democratic party, it is very unlikely a hard-right loon like Toomey would have won in the general election.
So if the Senate seat Arlen has now would have went to the Democrats in the very near future, why is the Democratic party promising Arlen a walk? He was in favor of the war in Iraq, the Protect America Act, warrantless wiretapping, telecom amnesty, and every other right-wing authoritarian cultists wet dream.
Primaries are when the voters get to hold their party leaders to account. When party leaders try to short circuit this process, voters should become very concerned. Pennsylvania Democrats should have the opportunity to decide if they want to welcome Specter to the party, or someone else like Joe Sestak. Democrats have a deep bench and do not need, or want to poach from the other side.