Pat Toomey’s Senate campaign has been sending around this doozy from Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.): On health care, today’s Washington Post quotes Specter as saying to Senate Democrats, “Don’t let the obstructionists win… I came to this caucus to be your 60th vote.” As the Toomey campaign rightly points out, this was exactly the opposite of what Specter said not so long ago when he was still running as a Republican.
Here is Specter in March, as quoted by the Hill: “I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role-a more important role to play there. I think the United States very desperately needs a two party system-that’s the basis of politics in America. I think each of the 41 senators-each of the 41 Republican senators-in a sense, I don’t want to overstate this, is a national asset, because if one was gone, you’d only have 40. The Democrats would have 60 and they would control all of the mechanisms of government. They’re trying very hard for the 60th vote. You got to give them credit for trying, but the answer is no.”
Specter was more honest when he first (re)joined the Democratic Party: “In the course of the last several months since the stimulus vote, I have traveled the state, surveyed the sentiments of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, done public opinion polls, observed other public opinion poll, and have found that the prospects for winning a Republican primary are bleak.” Yet even then, Specter promised to be independent, saying, “I will not be an automatic 60th vote.”
Now Specter says he came into the Democratic caucus precisely to be that automatic 60th vote. The man has truly come full circle.