Republicans seek dough to help defeat Specter after his defection

April 29, 2009

Reaction among Republicans to Senator Arlen Specter’s decision to defect to the Democratic party ranged from somber disappointment to outrage, and now the Republican National Committee hopes to capitalize on that anger.

USA/RNC Chairman Michael Steele sent an e-mail to supporters expressing his outrage and disbelief that Specter was blaming his fellow Republicans for leaving. He beseeched party members to send in donations to help defeat Specter in the 2010 election.

“He simply believes he has a better chance of saving his political hide and his job as a Democrat,” Steele said in the e-mail. “He loves the title of senator more than he loves the party — and the principles — that elected him and nurtured him.”

In Steele’s bid to gin up donations, he told supporters: “Some will use Specter’s defection as an excuse to fold the tent and give up. I believe that you are not one of those people. When Benedict Arnold defected to the British, George Washington didn’t fold the tent and give up either.”

Specter, who has broken with Republicans on several key votes, sspecter2aid that he decided to switch parties because the Republican party swerved further to the right and he recognized he would not likely survive a primary challenge against a more conservative Republican in Pennsylvania.

He was greeted at the White House on Wednesday with open arms by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — which will likely spark more cash appeals from Republicans.

Specter and Obama acknowledged that the two would likely differ in the future. To that end, a key test vote will come later on Wednesday when the Senate votes on the Democratic-authored fiscal 2010 budget blueprint. Specter opposed the Senate version earlier this month.

“I know the decision Senator Specter made yesterday wasn’t easy.  It required long and careful consideration, and it required courage,” Obama said. “But I know that it also reflects an independence that has been the hallmark of Arlen Specter’s career since the days he arrived in Washington.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Specter speaks to reporters at the White House with Obama and Biden looking on); Illustration of Specter courtesy of Paul Szep


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If Specter was elected by the people aas a Republican, then he should not be allowed to misrepresent those voters as a democrat.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Please Lord let the traitor be defeated in his
democratic election bid

Posted by Carole | Report as abusive

I doubt that it was a courageous and long hard decision for him. He wants re-elected and he knows that he has a much better chance as a Dem. I don’t think it’ll make a darned bit of difference anyways. How and why you vote makes the difference. I don’t believe Republicans find much support from him. So it doesn’t make a bit of difference to this Republican and until the party starts living up to their name they need not look to me for financial support or votes. I do not vote the party ticket and find it harder to vote candidates all the time.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

Listen to the language of those now opposed to Specter. “Traitor”. “he should not be allowed to misrepresent”. Who cares if we have any influence as long as we have ideological purity. Sounds rather Maoist actually. How quaint.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

God does not intervene in the affairs of men. If god did then the senseless slaughter of war in the 20th century ( man’s bloodiest) would have been averted.

The Republican Party is descending into the abyss. They are moving way past the far right into extreme splintered enclaves.

Democrats beware, ultimate power corrupts ultimately. When the Republicans were in control during the Bush years they sowed a crop we are just now beginning to reap. The democrats are now poised to be in an equally as strong a position. Neither party is immune to the excess’ of arrogance.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Democrat or Republican- our money is being destroyed, both parties are transferring wealth to the rich (and powerful) Who Cares? Dem or Rep, its just two heads of a single monster. What Specter should have done is research what a republican IS, and followed those principles. Ron Paul is the only real Republican. Has everyone forgotten our history?

Posted by dan | Report as abusive

The article reverses the actual cause-and-effect relationships in the politics of the district. The big bucks were going to right-wing opponents of Specter’s moderate politics before he switched. One of the reasons he jumped ship.

It is a chuckle to see nutballs still lining up on single issues and lockstep party loyalties to voice their opposition to Specter’s switch. They are part of the reason that he left, of course. The Republican Party continues to narrow its base and turn away from the majority of the electorate.

Keep it up, folks. May your bodily fluids remain pure to the end.

Posted by Eideard | Report as abusive

I had gotten the impression that a lot of Republican voters in PA had registered as Democratic so that they could try to swing the Democratic primaries in Clinton’s favor. Basically, it was an anti-Obama tactic.

So now Spector is faced with the fallout of that party switch; all the moderate Republicans have switched parties. If his constituents switch parties, why shouldn’t Spector?

Posted by Paul in Boise | Report as abusive

Obama claimed that arly spector acted “courageously” by changing to the other side of the isle. Absolute bull! His loyalty is to Arly Spector first, second and last. Dinosaurs like him need put out to pasture. We need to vote un-patriots like Frank, Pelosi and Reed out along with Spector. Dynasties such as Kennedy and Byrd should never happen. We need to vote them out ladies and gentlemen! Vote them out of there. Clean up the House and the Senate.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive