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All About Arlen

A compendium of responses to Sen. Arlen Specter switching parties…

THAT WAS THEN….

“To eliminate any doubt, I am a Republican, and I am running for reelection in 2010 as a Republican on the Republican ticket.”

– Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), 3/19/09

….THIS IS NOW

“The prospects for winning a Republican primary are bleak. I am not prepared to have my 29-year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate – not prepared to have that record decided by that jury.”

– Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), 4/28/09

RANK OPPORTUNIST

“To his critics, Mr. Specter is a rank opportunist. His party switch yesterday was a shock to few. After all, he was a Democrat until age 35. He only became a Republican in 1965 when the Democratic machine in Philadelphia turned down his request that he be nominated for district attorney. The GOP nomination was his for the asking, but he also covered his bases: He changed his party registration only after he had won.”

– John Fund of Political Diary

ADIOS, SNARLIN’ ARLEN

“After years of voting Democrat, and facing certain defeat in his bid to retain his Republican Senate seat in 2010, Arlen Specter…has finally decided to run for a sixth term under the party banner which he has consistently voted with.”

Blogger J.B. Williams of Right Side News

“It would be more newsworthy if Specter finally became a Republican.”

– Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.)

“If I had a bottle of aspirin handy I would send it to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, ‘cause Specter is his headache now.”

– Fox News blogger Peter Roff

“Republicans have cause to consider this a betrayal, especially after President Bush helped him win a GOP primary against Mr. Toomey with a final-days endorsement in 2004. Rick Santorum, the state’s other GOP Senator at the time, also endorsed Mr. Specter over Mr. Toomey, a move that harmed Mr. Santorum’s own re-election chances in 2006. So much for loyalty in politics.”

– Wall Street Journal editorial

“There is almost nothing to like about Arlen Specter. Even when he was a Republican he had the reputation of being ill-tempered, difficult to get along with, and hard on his staff. None of that makes him stand out in the U.S. Senate, but he seemed to take those traits to levels that others avoided.”

– Rich Galen of Mullings.com

“I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.”

– Sen. Jim DeMint

“Well, it appears that the head of the Turncoat Caucus is finally making it official. Arlen Specter, we have just 10 words for you: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

– Blogger Michelle Malkin

“The fact remains that as leader of the ‘moderate’ caucus of the Senate Republican Conference (Arlen Specter) has done the Party a disservice and is a detriment to the Conservative cause.  We only hope that he will have a similar effect on liberals.”

– Manny Miranda of the Third Branch Conference

“If anything, Arlen Specter is the epitome of everything voters have come to hate about the Republican Party – the desperate grasping for power and the complete rejection of the principles the Party claims to stand for.”

– Andy Roth of the Club for Growth

“The Democrats have gained another seat in the U.S. Senate. Make no mistake… Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter was already with them in spirit. Now, he is with them in party label too.”

– Bobby Eberle of GOPUSA.com

“By cravenly choosing political survival over political backbone, Specter has given radical leftists their greatest opportunity in a generation to destroy every principle America has historically embraced.”

– Columnist Ben Shapiro

COUNTING HIS CHICKENS

“We are confident Arlen Specter is going to get a sixth term in the Senate.”

– President Barack Obama

MODERATES TELL GOP TO MODERATE MORE

“I do think our party needs to make clear that centrists are welcome. Sometimes that message is not sent as clearly as it should be.”

– Moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R– Maine)

“If the Republican Party fully intends to become a majority party in the future, they will clearly have to move from the right toward the middle.”

– Moderate GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

TRUE TORTURE

“A report yesterday held that Vice President Joe Biden has been lobbying Specter for six years trying to get him to switch parties. If that’s not torture, I don’t know what is: Six years of having to listen to Biden? Talk about political waterboarding.”

– Rich Galen of Mullings.com

D’S GRUMBLE OVER SPECTER DEAL WITH REID

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) deal to allow Sen. Arlen Specter to retain his seniority after he switches to the Democratic Conference has not been received well by senior senators in the party. Several Democrats are furious with Reid for agreeing to let Specter (Pa.) keep the seniority accrued over more than 28 years as a Republican senator. That could allow him to leap past senior Democrats on powerful panels – including the Appropriations and Judiciary committees.

“‘I won’t be happy if I don’t get to chair something because of Arlen Specter,’ said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee with Specter….. Less than 24 hours after Specter announced his party switch, Democrats have already begun to grumble loudly, exchanging phone calls to complain about Reid’s gambit, said one participant.”

– The Hill, 4/29/09

THE SILVER LINING

“The last time Republicans had as few as 40 senators was following the 1976 election. Two years later, they won five seats. And in the 1980 election, with Ronald Reagan leading the ticket, they captured 12 seats and won a Senate majority. The Republican dream scenario is a repeat of 1980 in 2010.”

– Columnist Fred Barnes