Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has officially made the leap from the GOP to Democratic Party, and speaking personally, I couldn’t be happier to have him.
While many pundits believe Sen. Specter’s decision is about self-preservation — his 2010 re-election prospects were not looking bright — the Senate’s fifth eldest statesman gave the following justification:
As the Republican Party has moved farther and farther to the right, I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party.”
So, in which ways did Sen. Specter differ from the GOP and fall in line with Dems?
- Voted NO on Constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
- Voted NO on increasing penalties for drug offenses.
- Introduced Senate bill S. 2611 (the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 1996) which he called a “pathway to citizenship” that included a “guest worker program.”
- Voted YES on prohibition of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- Personally opposed to abortion but supports a woman’s right to choose.
- One of three Republican senators to vote in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Unfortunately, Sen. Specter is a fierce defender of the Second Amendment, approves the death penalty and has been known to get caught up in less pressing, yet sexier issues. He is nothing if not media savvy, known for his scathing sound bytes and criticisms of superiors and peers alike.
So, with Specter on, the Democrats hold 59 seats in the U.S. Senate. With Al Franken’s imminent victory in Minnesota, the Dems should obtan a fillibuster-proof Senate capable of passing almost any proposal on the Obama Administration’s agenda. My first concern? Universal health care. Specter’s transition may be the key to making real change in the health care sector.