Republican National Committee
310 First St, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Dear Mr. Steele,
Thank you for your email concerning Arlen Specter joining the Democratic Party. I would like to respond and let you know that I am not outraged by Senator Specter's decision or surprised by it. In fact, I am quite comfortable with his decision and ready to respectfully part ways with him.
In your email you stated "I hope that Arlen Specter's party change outrages you." Well it does not. The two reasons that you gave were: you did not believe Senator Specter's claim was based on philosophical grounds, and that he gave the Democrats a filibuster proof Senate. I have two problems with your rationale. First, Republicans no longer have to wrestle with Senator Specter's motivations and integrity issues - this is a relief not a problem. Second, his voting record, including his vote on the stimulus, is proof that the Senate was not filibuster proof anyway. I think we should look on this as an opportunity to move on and grow.
I agree with you that Senator Specter's motives were not philosophical, they were for survival. Senator Specter openly admitted in his press conference that he was joining the Democratic party out of self interest. "I am not prepared to have my 29-year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate, to have that record decided by that jury," (Specter quits GOP, will run as Democrat). There is a great deal of contempt in that statement for Republicans, especially Republicans in Pennsylvania. The same people that John Murtha described as rednecks. Perhaps Specter's action will move the people of Pennsylvania to review who they send to Washington and why. They may also consider if it is time for new blood in one of their two Senate seats.
After years of watching Senator Specter, it is my personal opinion that Senator Specter is a self promoter who votes to keep his job and his main motivation is the preservation of his reputation and record. Having said that, I would then agree with senior Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy who opined that Specter would be happier in the Democratic party (TimesArgus.com). Frankly, Specter is their problem now and they will have to deal with his selfish motives and prideful decisions. As a party, we are rid of an acerbic troublemaker and can now focus more clearly on why our ideas are better for America.
As for a filibuster proof Senate, well that argument simply does not hold water. The Republican party is home to some Senators who generally vote with Democrats on social and domestic issues. This proves two things: first, that the Senate is more than a numbers game and two, that our tent is not as small as Democrats and other would like to claim. It's ok to disagree publicly in our party. It might not be pretty but it is ok. Your recent struggles with concerns about some of your policy positions is a testimony to that. Yet here you are leading the party with a small tent? Sorry, but that argument does not pass the laugh test. While Specter said that he was not an automatic 60th vote, his words and his voting record cannot be reconciled on this issue.
As a political party the Republicans need to learn to speak with one voice again, like we had during "the spirit of '94." It is time to stop worrying about the Reids, Pelosis, Obamas, teleprompters (I admit that is funny, TOTUS!), and figure out why those people are in power. The reason is fairly simple, as Republicans we didn't leave the American people with much of a choice. I personally disagree with the proposition that Americans want a humanistic Obama government that looks more like the failed or failing socialist systems in Europe. Even now the much touted Scandinavian socialist governments are getting that scared look in their face because the cost running everything as a state program is exceeding revenue from taxes and that means that taxes must again go up in those countries. (Good article from 2004 predicting this) and (Current article on the matter)
We have serious problems to tackle so I say, Sir, "Let's Roll!" and let's focus on 2010 and mid-term elections. Let's show the American people that Democrats have tired economic ideas that are failing in Europe and will fail here. Let's show the people that when you say you are an American, it does not have to be immediately followed with "sorry." We need to show America that we are dealing with a very dangerous world and our enemies are not impressed by rock star style gimmics or empty rhetoric. I'm ready to move on and I hope our party is too. I think that task will be easier without Arlen Specter.