First of all, it will be VERY easy for Republicans to run for office in 2010. All they have to do in each individual race is discuss the evils of single party rule in America. It will be easy for the GOP to raise money, and it will be easier for them to win toss-up races. So Democrats should expect to lose some seats in the next election, which will undoubtedly be portrayed by the mass-media as a referendum on President Obama's first two years in office, even though the election will have nothing to do with that (they like to write the easy stories).
Second of all, sometimes I think I am the last liberal out there who thinks that two-party rule is actually a good thing for America. I don't want either party to have complete control of the government, and with 60 votes in the Senate, that's what we would have. The primary reason for this is that I don't trust Democrats in Congress anymore than I trust Republicans. Us regular folks like to think that our Congressional leaders are doing what they think is best for the country, but in reality, they are doing whatever is best for them personally, financially, professionally. There is no better example of this than Sen. Specter.
Why did Sen. Specter switch parties? Because he realized over the years that his views were more in line with the Democrats than the Republicans? This man was elected as part of the Reagan Revolution. In order for us to believe that Specter's philosophy is now more closely aligned with Democratic philosophy than it is with Republican philosophy, you would also have to believe that if Reagan were alive today, that he too would be considering a change in party. If you want to know how crazy THAT is, ask your Republican friends if they think Reagan would be a Democrat today. I recommend doing this over the phone, or in a room without sharp objects.
You could argue that the Republican Party of today has moved to the Right, and that there are several litmus tests that they put candidates through, and if candidates don't pass those tests, well, tough luck. But be careful - I don't hear about a lot of Pro-Life Democrats out there, and Sen. Nelson (D - Nebraska) is already getting called out by Democrats for not towing the party line and worshipping Obama and everything his administration does. Democrats are just as guilty as Republicans of playing that game.
The ONLY reason that Sen. Specter is becoming a Democrat is because if he didn't, he would lose his seat in the next election. There's no way he wins a Republican primary in PA. Apparently, Specter believes that he is entitled to his seat, and be damned anyone who wants VOTE him out of office. He's been serving in the Senate so long, that even if the people who helped elect him in the past don't want him to serve anymore, in Specter's world, it's not up to them anymore. Think about how truly anti-democratic that really is.
If you want further evidence of Specter's cynical view of our political system, look no further than his recent comments regarding the Senate race in Minnesota between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. Sen. Specter said he wants Coleman to win. Why would he want that? Because Specter's philosophy and Coleman's are closely aligned? Then why did Specter switch parties? Because Coleman is Jewish? Nope, Franken is too. It turns out that Specter doesn't want Coleman to win, he wants Franken to win. Here's the link: http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2009/05/06/specter/index.html?source=refresh
And the quote:
"In the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates. I'm ordinarily pretty correct in what I say. I've made a career of being precise. I conclusively misspoke."
I have to get used to my new teammates. In other words, I support Franken, not because I think he own fairly, or because his philosophy is in line with mine. I support Franken because I am now on his team. That's all it is to these leaders - especially the ones who have made it their job in life to be Senator, or Congressman. It's just a game, with teams, and scoreboards - winners and losers. What matters most is winning, and whatever you can do to make sure that you are on the winning side is the right thing to do, even if it means switching teams in the middle of the game.
It's sad really. I am sure that Specter has no idea what he believes anymore. His sole focus at this point is retaining his Senate seat, a seat given to him by God, no matter what the voters in the state of Pennsylvania have to say about it.