Today Senator Arlen Specter, realizing that he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning his primary, switched parties so that he could run as a Democrat. This is reprehensible. Not because he changed sides, but because he did it not for matters of principle, but in order to keep his seat. He accuses the right wing of the Republican party of hijacking it so that moderates such as himself could not be re-elected. But how did they hijack the voters. The problem is not where the Republicans in Congress stand, but where the Republicans in his district stand. And they were not happy about where he stood on the stimulus package.
What I find the most disturbing about this switch is that Sen Specter has been in office for nearly 30 years. He's also over 70 years old. Why then, when faced with the loss of his primary, does he not bow to the voice of the people and retire? Why fight to hold on to his seat and his power with such a death grip that he switches allegiances? If he decided to run as an Independent that would be one thing, but running as a Dem (so he could get their help in fund raising) is reprehensible.
With his behavior Sen Specter has illustrated exactly why term limits are an absolute necessity. It's bad enough when we have Congressmen so ill that the can't fulfill their duties still running for re-election or still holding on to their seats. But now, knowing you'll lose the election appears to not be a valid reason to give up your seat either. After all, what does the will or the voice of the people have to do with anything. Just because the people don't want him in office doesn't mean he should leave.
The tenacity with which Congressmen cling to their power is a sad commentary on our government. It's no longer about serving the people but about serving their own self-interest. And nothing illustrates this more clearly than Senator Specter's party hop.
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