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Senator Specter Switches Parties in Desperate Attempt at Reelection

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: About 20 minutes ago my e-mail started going nuts with e-mails from members of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, Republican side, that Arlen Specter was going to switch parties, become a Democrat, leaving the Republican Party. If he does that, then that gives the Democrats their 60 votes, it gives them a filibuster-proof Senate. So it makes the Senate essentially as big a slam dunk for Obama and the Democrats as the House of Representatives is already. A lot of people say, "Specter, take McCain with you, and his daughter, take McCain and his daughter with you, if you're going to --" (laughing) So we'll have to wait and see. It's out there, Human Events has it; the Washington Post is reporting it. Apparently Senator Specter was unhappy when he met with potential Republican donors. Pat Toomey is going to oppose him for the Republican nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania. Apparently Senator Specter met with some Republicans, he was not happy with the lukewarm response he got. He thought he would really be received as a hero because he came out against card check, the sign 'em up union bill. And of course the answer to that, my good friend Andy McCarthy, "You don't get brownie points for doing the right thing." That's where we are in America. When you do the right thing, wow, you want accolades, you want a medal and you want a band to play in your name.

Who else could go over there? Brownback, Sam Brownback. Now he's going to run for governor in Kansas. Now, Kathleen Sebelius' confirmation hearings are today. Of course with the swine flu out there, they're doing a Geithner. She's the only one. She's the only one that can head up Health and Human Services. Doesn't matter, doesn't matter that she hasn't paid her taxes, it doesn't matter, she's the only one that can do it. We need somebody in there. It doesn't matter that she's for every abortion that ever happened, it doesn't matter, we've got to have her in there. Now, this vote on Sebelius is a defining moment for Republicans on the committee hearing her confirmation. They can do one of three things: they can vote for her, to show bipartisanship; they can not vote, showing cowardice; or they can vote against her, standing up for principle. Brownback, I think first said he was going to vote for her, now he says he may not vote, but he wants to be governor Kansas. And, of course, any Republican seeking office somehow has been made to believe that the only way to win is to run out there and become a Democrat or moderate.

It's interesting, we have a story from the estimable Charles Babington of the AP: "The economy will determine whether Barack Obama achieves what few presidents have: a far-reaching change in American politics that might even earn its own title and legacy. Will there be an Obama version of the New Deal, the Great Society or the Reagan Revolution? ... Of course 100 days is just the start, too little time to determine the results (let alone the wisdom) of his decisions. But it's enough time to discern the path Obama has chosen, the overarching philosophy that will shape his administration and history's eventual judgment of it. In a way --" this is the key paragraph; it's just one little sentence. "In a way, Obama is reversing the famous dictum of President Ronald Reagan, who said government is the problem, not the solution."

So here it is. It's on the table. Finally somebody has come out and said in the Drive-By Media that Obama believes government is the solution, not the problem. A total reversal of Reaganism. And yet, we have many conservatives and Republicans who want to throw Reagan overboard as well. I guess now that means that those people on our side who believe Obama -- and I frankly think, and I got a very frustrated e-mail from a friend of mine today wanting to know, "Rush, could you explain to me why it is that all of these 'learned' intellectual conservatives seem so hell-bent on praising Obama as something unique and we've never seen it before and how what a great manager he is." It's very simple. There is a term, I cannot use the real term because it requires the use of the F-word. And of course we don't do that on this program. But basically let's take a look at a lot of these people who loved Reagan at the time. They were out there and they were claiming to be within the Reagan administration, and they were in the loop, the policy advisor loop, and they were with Reagan at the Justice department, they were with Reagan wherever. And all it was -- 'cause now a lot of these people are full-fledged with Obama -- what they are, folks, is stargazers.

They just love stars, celebrities. That's all that matters. They want to bask in the glow of the moment. They are followers, they are not leaders, and wherever the leader is that has the brightest light that's where they're going to go. It's simple human nature. It has nothing to do with the intellect. It has nothing to do with how bright Obama is or how great a manager Obama is, 'cause none of that we really know for sure. We know he's a bad manager.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I have the template, folks, the Drive-By Media is using here to report on the Arlen Specter change of parties. The Drive-By Media template is this: "How can the Republican Party be a national party? How can it claim to be a national party if it cannot keep a moderate Republican like Arlen Specter in the party?" What's wrong with that question, Mr. Snerdley? Do you have an idea what's wrong...? (interruption) Exactly right. What's wrong with the question is that Arlen Specter's not a "moderate" Republican. Arlen Specter is a liberal Republican, and he has been ideologically closer tied to the Democrat Party for years. I have his whole statement here announcing his switch: "I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view.

"While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation. Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats." Senator Specter, that was Operation Chaos! A large part of that was just a game. A large part of that was a trick. It was Operation Chaos. "I now find my political philosophy," he says, "more in line with Democrats than Republicans. When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

"Since then, I have traveled the state, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania. I have decided to run for reelection in 2010 in the Democratic primary. I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for reelection determined in a general election. I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, biddy, biddy, biddy. It's a stimulus, part of it.

Really. It really is about card check. I really do believe that he expected accolades and huge support for voting against card check, and it didn't happen to the degree that he wanted it. So the stimulus is now a way to back out. But here, again, the Drive-By Media template is: "How can the GOP claim to be a national party if it cannot keep a moderate Senator like Senator Specter in the party?" He's not a moderate. He is a liberal Republican, and this is a natural winnowing process that is taking place out of necessity. Defeats have a tendency to do this. Within the Republican Party, people who are not really Republicans are now leaving. People who are not really conservatives are now really leaving. So it's going to be not much smaller, but it's going to be a little bit more focused a party and a base, and this may cause some ripples elsewhere with others making similar moves.

But, as I say: If this is to be the order of the day, next to go could be Senator McCain and his daughter, Meghan. Get them officially moved over and it just facilitates reality.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Folks, come on. I'm reading this e-mail here. Okay, I have to explain everything, and I will explain it. Arlen Specter, it's not a big loss. Come on, folks. It's not a loss. The only reason Specter is doing this... Well, I can't say "the only." What is a politician's first job? A politician's first job is to get reelected. Specter knows he's going to have trouble even winning a primary. He's going to be running against Pat Toomey again. This is about Specter's political survival. He knows that he's more at home in the Democrat Party with the way he's been voting in recent years and the things that he's been saying. This is all about the fact that he faces a strong primary challenge. He wouldn't be changing parties if there were no Pat Toomey out there, if there weren't anybody challenging him on the Republican side. He doesn't want to lose his upcoming election.

This does not say anything bad about the Republican Party. That's why I tell you the media template is going to be and is, "Well, this just shows the Republican Party's no longer a national party. They can't have big-tent guy like Specter in there." Notice we never, ever hear about the giant, big tent that is the Democrat Party? Nooooo, we never hear about all the diversity of views that you can find in the Democrat Party. There are a bunch of pro-lifers in there, aren't there? Bunch of pro-life Democrats, a bunch of them, right? And they have a voice at the Democrat convention. It's a giant, giant myth. The effort here by the Drive-Bys is going to be to paint the Republican Party as finished. All right. It'll be interesting to watch Specter on card check, because he was the deciding vote. He was the guy who was going to vote against it.

I guarantee you, folks, I know this without knowing it. I don't know it specifically, but I know that one of the things, in addition to facing a tough primary fight with Toomey, is he really thought he was going to get back in everybody's good graces by opposing card check, and he didn't get the big band. He didn't get the big fanfare. He didn't get the bow-downs. "Oh, thank you, Senator Specter! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" So he's saying, "Oh, the stimulus bill made everybody mad at me. I can't go on in this party." We'll see if he changes his tune on card check now since he's gonna become a Democrat. It will be interesting to see. But regardless, this is good. This is good. Toomey doesn't have to spend a lot of money now on a primary, a bruising primary. Specter, I mean, there's no guarantee Specter is going to get the Democrat nomination in the primary. He's gotta secure that.

So any time you have liberals leaving the Republican Party rather than trying to change the party to become liberal, it's a good thing. I wish more people who are not really Republicans who claim to be liberal Republicans, would do the same thing. Yeah. Here's another thing. This is another way to look at this. If you listen to people like David Brooks and the other conservative intelligentsia out there, you'll be reading, "Moderates and independents are on the march. Moderates are now taking over, because the country hates partisans. The country hates partisanship. They just want everybody to get along. Moderates are in the ascendancy." Moderates are in the ascendancy? Moderates have to become Democrats. Moderates, if they're fleeing anywhere, it is to the Democrat Party.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: It was just last March 17th in an interview with The Hill newspaper on Capitol Hill, that Arlen Specter said he absolutely would not switch parties. He said, "[Democrats] are trying very hard for the 60th vote. Got to give them credit for trying. But the answer is no. I'm not going to discuss private talks I had with other people who may or may not be considered influential. But since those three people are in the public domain, I think it is appropriative to respond to those questions. I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role, a more important role, to play there. The United States very desperately needs a two-party system. That's the basis of politics in America. I'm afraid we are becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party with so little representation of the Northeast or in the middle Atlantic. I think as a governmental matter, it is very important to have a check and balance. That's a very important principle in the operation of our government. In the constitution on Separation of powers."

This is March 17th at The Hill, Specter flatly denying he's going to change parties. Now, something's happened, it's called polling data. It's got to be really dramatic, it's got to be something untenable for Senator Specter to switch parties here after just over a month ago, six weeks ago, saying, "Ain't no way. We need a two-party system. We need Republicans in the Northeast. I'm going nowhere, no way Jose." Six weeks later, sayonara. Something happened. Trust me on this, folks, do not discount the notion. People are people, human beings are human beings, he wanted accolades for hanging tough on card check, and the polling data demonstrates it didn't help him much. I haven't seen any polling data, but the only reason you'd do a six-week change of heart 180 like this is if your fortunes look hopeless where you at present are, which was as a Republican.

All right, let me grab a phone call or two here before we have to wrap up the hour. Montclair, Virginia, Mary, nice to have you. Thanks for calling.

CALLER: Thanks, Rush. It's good to talk to you.

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: It's a great day in America and there's a party at the big house tonight. I've got six bottles of old port downstairs and one of those cocks -- whoops, sorry -- corks is going to be popping tonight. We have been waiting for Arlen Specter --

RUSH: Did she say she's going to pop some cocks?

CALLER: No, I didn't say -- (laughing)

RUSH: You going to pop some cocks of port?

CALLER: You're a very bad guy. No, I did not say that. We're popping the cork on that bottle, and we are absolutely thrilled. I've been waiting for him to either succumb to his Alzheimer's or just plain get defeated in the polls, or switch parties and join the party he really belongs to.

RUSH: What kind of port? I'm curious. You've got six bottles of old vintage port. Tell me which one you're going to open, if you can, off the top of your head.

CALLER: Okay, well, you know what, it's probably not going to be as impressive to you, because I'm sure you have a great and fantastic wine cellar, which we don't, but I think Graham is the name of it.

RUSH: That's excellent, excellent.

CALLER: Is it?

RUSH: What's the year?

CALLER: Oh, it's just 1998, but, you know what? We've been waiting a long time --

RUSH: That's fine and dandy.

CALLER: Is it good?

RUSH: That's fine and dandy. Graham's '98 is fine. You'll love it.

CALLER: I've got five more bottles --

RUSH: Perfect --

CALLER: I've got five more bottles and I'll let you just kind of give some thought as to when we're going to be popping the corks on those babies.

RUSH: If it were me I would of course light a fine cigar.

CALLER: Would you? Well, I might try that. I'm pretty old; I think a cigar would kill me. (laughing)

RUSH: Are you going to be doing this alone? You said we are going to pop the cocks on the --

CALLER: I did not say that. (laughing)

RUSH: Pop the corks, I'm sorry.

CALLER: Thank you.

RUSH: You said we're going to pop the corks on the port.

CALLER: Well, unfortunately my husband's on travel out in the West Coast, but I'll be doing it, we'll be talking on the phone, we'll be having a big party. Whoo-hoo, it's a good day in America!

RUSH: This is I think going to be a common reaction, many Republicans. This is why I say it's ultimately good. We're weaning out, I won't say deadwood, but weaning out people that are not really Republicans here and haven't been for a long time. Let's see. Not enough time to be fair with another caller. Yes, a lot of popping cocks -- corks, all over Republicanville tonight. Remember, now, the Drive-Bys, folks, are going to tell you, this is the end of the Republican Party. If you can't keep a moderate in the big tent, why, how can you claim to be a national party? Don't buy it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Arlen Specter six weeks ago said he was not going to leave the Republican Party, we need a Republican Party because there's a one-party rule in Washington; we need northeastern Republicans. Today he walked out of his office in the Senate building and said he's announced that he's changing to the Democrat Party, and the assembled Drive-By reporters cheered. The Drive-By reporters cheered and applauded. President Obama has called Senator Specter, said we're thrilled to have you, and Specter said I'm thrilled to be here. The truth of this is in Senator Specter's statement, he became a Republican during the big tent era of Reagan and then the party has moved just too far to the right, become dominated by the right wing. It's just the exact opposite. The right wing has gone away. The conservative movement is being shut out of the Republican Party. The Republican Party is more like Arlen Specter than it has ever been if you want to know the truth about it. The truth is polls show he's getting skunked in the Republican primary by his opponent there, his challenger, Pat Toomey. And the first obligation of every politician is to get reelected, and he's not going to get reelected.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here is John in Marshalltown, Iowa, nice to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush. What a thrill to talk to you. Thanks for taking my call.

RUSH: You bet, sir. Any time.

CALLER: Snerdley tells me that I missed your thoughts about Arlen Specter in the first hour, and I beg your forgiveness for that, but that's what I was calling about, to find out what you thought about that.

RUSH: Very briefly, I'll go through the reasons for the switch. Number one, polling data shows him losing to his primary challenger Pat Toomey. Number one job of a politician is to get reelected. He doesn't think he can get reelected. He's not going to say that. What he's saying is the Republican Party's gone too far right, since the Reagan big tent eighties, it's not true. The party has veered away from the right. Just six weeks ago, Arlen Specter said to The Hill newspaper in Washington that he would never leave the Republican Party, that we need two-party system, need checks in balances, we're too close to a one-party system, and we need Republicans in the Northeast. Six weeks later, he leaves the party. This is all about the fact he's not going to have an easy time winning reelection or even the primary in 2010, and he wants to win reelection.

It's no great loss for the conservative movement and really not for the Republican Party. He was pretty much liberal. He wasn't a moderate Republican. He was a liberal Republican most of the time and I think probably the last straw with him is something that he was really hoping for that didn't happen. He was the senator that killed card check in the Senate, 'cause he came out against it, this ability to be able to organize union shops with open ballots anywhere the union wants to try it. And I thought he really wanted accolades for that and big cheers and celebrations. He didn't get that because you don't get a medal for doing the right thing. So he put it all together and he figured out he wasn't going to win, or going to have a tough time winning the Republican primary. His speech today, he's making his comments right now, but his statement laid it all out. The Republicans are just too freaky right-wingish, he hasn't been on the same page as them in a long, long time, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

CALLER: Very good. Don't you think that it would be good if he'd just take the rest of the RINOs with him as well?

RUSH: Well, take McCain with him, take McCain's daughter with him, Meghan and some others. This is ultimately good. I mean this is winnowing out the people that end up misdefining or preventing the party from having a singular identity. I never hear about the Democrat Party big tent. It's only the Republicans that need to welcome people in who are not Republicans. It's only the Republicans who have to go out and win elections by being moderate or attracting Democrat voters by offering Democrat philosophy, it's only the Republicans have to do that. We never hear about the Democrat Party and its need to be a big tent. You know, let some religious people in there and let some pro-life people in there, never hear about that. This is a smoke screen. Also you need to know as you watch the media today, John, that the media template is, how can the Republican Party claim it's a national party? If they can't even have a moderate Republican like Arlen Specter want to stay in the party, how can the party be a national party? But he's not a moderate Republican. He's a liberal, period. Republican sometimes, but he was a liberal. Bruce in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You're next on the EIB Network Sir. Hello.

CALLER: A pleasure. What is Specter's legacy? What is the postmortem of Specter as a Republican?

RUSH: Who cares? Why do we need a legacy for a senator? Okay, what's Ted Kennedy's legacy?

CALLER: Exactly. Bigger government, boozing over a bridge, being an incompetent and all the fat and pork that went with it.

RUSH: Well, that's your legacy, but it's like these first hundred days. Depending on who you ask, best president ever, or an utter disaster. All depends on your perspective. I don't want to get caught up with Specter's legacy as a Republican. I mean, the things I remember good about Specter, he really, really tore into the people who were trying to destroy Clarence Thomas. He really tore into the Anita Hill crowd. He was made to feel uncomfortable about it after it happened, but he was huge helping get Clarence Thomas voted on to the US Supreme Court, getting the approval out of the Senate, and some other things like that. The whole legacy business is something I don't think about, because I always look forward, not back.

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