Sen. Arlen Specter’s GOP Friends Start Throwing Him Under Bus

It took only a couple hours for the GOP to start throwing knives in the back of Sen. Arlen Specter, who’s abandoning the Republican party for the Democratic ticket to save his Pennsylvania seat.

Above, GOP chairman Michael Steele reveals his non-surprise as Specter’s move. In a statement, Steele says: “Let’s be honest — Sen. Specter didn’t leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.” Below, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responds:

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #politics #arlenspecter #democrats stories and more


  • paulied

    Wouldn’t a left-wing voting record be indicative of a principled difference with the Repugnants?

  • George

    Today has been a schadenfreude overload. Watching the Republican party’s much-deserved death spiral is just a delight. And it gets better every day.

    Olympia Snowe of Maine will be the next to abandon this sinking ship.

  • nadaboi

    Mitch and John are wearing the same tie! Talk about awkward moments…

  • Cam

    These people are so stupid. hey…GOP idiots. Do you realize that as SOON as the tories in England stopped being the anti-gay party, large numbers of gays started voting for them? Stop attacking us, and using us a swedge issue to keep your foaming at the mouth outer wingnuts satified. They can’t go anywhere else anyway. But if you stopped being such out of touch idiots you might actually win back some independents and start looking competitive again. Until that time, you can call choke on Obama’s dust.

  • Michael W.

    That’s part of the reason why the Republicans are fucked up as it is. Look at the way they treated Specter, before and after he switched, versus the way Obama embraced Lieberman and gained a confidant who’d be one more guaranteed vote for his agenda (though the rah rah progressive crowd wanted him removed from the Democratic caucus, proving once again that they lack the foresight of our President).

    When Michael Steele threatened to withhold RNC campaign funds from moderate Republicans, it sent the message that they weren’t welcome.

  • Alec

    @paulied: One would think.

  • Dabq

    Michael Steele should be the last one talking about someone having ‘principles’ since he has none as does the party is allegedly in charge of. That said, I’ll stay on the fence about Specter since getting rid of that GOP baggage isn’t going to be that easy.

  • Joeb1212

    Okay, so it doesn’t matter that he’s only doing it because he’ll lose in the Republican primary? It doesn’t matter that he acknowledged that today and already said he still plans to vote as a Republican? A Democrat in name only is no better. You people have the IQ of a gnat with a lobotomy. Get your facts straight before you slap the guy on the back. He’s nothing nothing more than an opportunistic prick.

  • InExile

    Aren’t they pathetic! Just watching the GOP trash their colleague after all his years of service to their party just shows how backstabbing they are, completely out of touch! Specter has never been as bad as most of them so hopefully he will be an asset to the democrats.

  • Alec


    Okay, so it doesn’t matter that he’s only doing it because he’ll lose in the Republican primary? It doesn’t matter that he acknowledged that today and already said he still plans to vote as a Republican?

    Nope, doesn’t matter. He’s far more likely to oppose the use of filibusters as a D. I guess it might matter to the Republicans, but hey, they weren’t going to reelect him anyway. :-)

    On substantive legislation he can vote what he likes. He’ll be countered by a majority that supports the President’s agenda. This is, as the religious right likes to say, democratic rule.

    Bottoms up!

  • Ian

    Why are you watching CNN? You should be watching gay-friendly MSNBC

  • Nickadoo1970

    FYI: There’s an interesting clip posted by CSPAN from 2001 regarding the first time he switched parties in 1965. Ironically, he did it for the gays?!

  • The Gay Numbers

    I like how we think we won somethere here other than a feel good moment. He’s not going to vote in favor of any legislation that matters to us, and he has said he will not vote on cloture on any bill including gay rights issues like ENDA to name just one. Add to that he’s being give a clear path to the Democratic nomination in the primary, and we have a classic liberals are stupid, conservatives are smarter than us moment.

  • Bob R

    He’s still a so called “moderate”, but right of center Republican. You can coat a turd in powdered sugar but it’s still not a donut. And believe me, Specter is a turd. Specter said he won’t vote for cloture to end the GOP filibuster of Obama’s appointees. He will not vote for EFCA. I still remember his treatment of Anita Hill and his all out support for Clarence Thomas. I expect little from Specter and think Democrats will soon live to regret welcoming him into the party and bestowing committee chairmanships upon him while short changing loyal Democrats. The Pennsylvania Democrats are losing in this deal too. Specter couldn’t beat Toomey, a very conservative Republican. The Democrats had the opportunity to run several good progressive candidates who would have beaten Toomey in the general election. Now we’re stuck with this treacherous old political hack, this opportunist without principals other than keeping his job. Another Lieberman. Like Lieberman, he’s a hawk and will only work to move the Democratic party even further to the right of center.

    Well, perhaps some good may eventually come out of Specter’s self serving defection. The GOP is clearly in a death spiral. Perhaps they’ll join the Whigs on the dust heap of history. Then, thanks to the Specters, Liebermans, Nelsons, the Conservacrats or Blue Dog Democrats, the Democratic party will eventually split into a (moderately?) conservative wing and a progressive wing, preserving the two party system with neither of the “new” parties providing a home for the right wing loons that now control the GOP. I don’t like or trust Specter and I think he’ll be a big disappointment. I hope he gets challenged by a young, progressive, loyal Democrat and loses in 2010.

  • Nickadoo1970

    @The Gay Numbers: I personally don’t think this is a win or a loss for gay people. Specter’s going to continue to vote essentially the way he always has on gay rights issues: shitty on some measures (like same-sex marriage, of course) and good on others. The change from D to R to D won’t change that.

    I’m surprised to hear you say he’d said he would vote against ENDA. He was one of the first GOP sponsors of ENDA the last time it was up for a vote in 2001, so I’d be interested in seeing a citation for that.

    My fascination for this story is strictly as a Democrat and as a former Pennsylvania resident; not necessarily as a gay man.

    His move is strictly self-serving. PA has had a huge sea change since the days of Rick Santorum. The GOP is dwindling fast, and the urban and suburban centers have all shifted dramatically to the left.

    Sadly, he’s all but secured a nomination for Pat Toomey for the Republican slot on the ticket. I don’t think Toomey has a snowball’s chance to win, though. The eastern mountain areas are almost all wingnut, but there’s not enough votes there anymore.

    Pennsylvanians, for the most part, can’t be bothered with wedge issues (with the possible exception of abortion – there’s a huge Irish Catholic contingency). Attempts to ban same-sex marriage in the state repeatedly die on the House floor.

    I don’t know if Specter is well-liked enough to secure the Dem nom, and if he’s not, I sure as hell hope they pick someone competent enough to kick Toomey’s ass.

  • The Gay Numbers


    I am probably wrong on ENDA. I was going off top my memory what he supported, and what is coming up soon.

    I agree about why he’s doing this. My issue with it is that the Dems have given him a clear path and will attempt to prevent any other real Dem from running against him in a primary. I don’t think the GOP candidate has a snowballs chance of hell of winning either. The fact is that after Obama’s run last year there are as I remember 1 mil more Democrats (or some such insane number) than Republicans. What Specter had going for him was a) incumbency and b) at one point labor supported him.

    Bob R and Nick

    I agree GOP is on a death spiral- they are down to 21 percent. They are becoming a party of just the South. They are all but dead in the House, and it is only the conservative Democrats in the Senate that keeps them alive with power in that chamber of the Congress. My feeling is that by next year election the Senate will also tip away from the GOP and the conservatives as several of the races that we can possible win may tip progressive. I had hoped that because PA is not particularly conservative we might have a win there. It seems there is a last ditch effort of conservatives to use trickery to hold onto power such as what Specter is doing or what Gillibrand did. It’s clear that they know they can not win in some states without playing these games.


    He has made it clear that he does not plan to vote for cloture either. So, I am not sure wha tyou are talking about. If he’s not voting for cloture, then even the fillabuster is still effectively on the table.

  • Alec

    @The Gay Numbers: He said he will not be an “automatic” vote for cloture (specifically for the Employee Free Choice Act). But I think he wants to keep some committee seats and he probably wants to win the Democratic primary. He’ll probably receive establishment backing regardless of what he does, but there’s no guarantee of winning a primary, particularly if he blocks pro-union legislation.

    There are other potential obstacles to cloture even still. Senator Nelson, for example. But I think Specter may change his tune. He can still vote against the wishes of the majority, of course. But Party sponsored bills deserve an up or down vote, and it will be an issue in a contested primary.

  • oneway

    Look at all the worry warts! Hey, y’all give Specter a few votes as a “D” before you decide that he’s a horrible Democrat.

    The guys just switched parties and will likely now vote differently on a wide range of issues. He has to put up some kind of charade about having a backbone — at least right out of the gate.

    For now, enjoy being one step closer to that magical 60-vote threshold. Al Franken, where are you?

  • Michael vdB

    Personally, I don’t think parties should be allowed to exist. All people running for office should run under an independent banner and then if they want to get re-elected, run on their record and not on the coat-tails of the party that is popular at the time.

    That being said, politics is a cut throat business and if you see the writing on the wall, you make your decisions likewise. If the people of his state don’t think he made the right switch, he will lose the primary or the next election. Simple.

  • The Gay Numbers


    the point is you have to guess and that specter no longer really represent where his state is economically (which is what drives politics in PA).

  • Alec

    @The Gay Numbers: I am not interested in Specter getting a free pass. He should be primaried if he refuses to sign off on a free vote. Hell, even if he does, if he votes against the Employee Free Choice Act I wouldn’t bet on the outcome in a Democratic primary.

Comments are closed.