politics, history and the war on terror
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Specter Defeats Toomey 

Senator Arlen Specter has defeated conservative challenger Rep. Patrick Toomey in Pennsylvania's Republican primary, by a narrow margin of victory. Conservatives will view this as a defeat for their movement, as Senator Specter frequently sides with Democrats in the Senate, and is in line to chair the Senate Judicial Committee, the body that decides if presidential judicial appointments will be considered for a vote.

Lost in the conservative's disappoint over Mr. Toomey's defeat is the price Senator Specter had to pay in order to receive support from the Republican party. While it is customary for incumbents to receive the support of their party in a primary election, the support Senator Specter received from Republicans was extraordinary, considering how far he strayed from party votes in the past (the Clinton impeachment, tax cuts, and the Bork confirmation, among many). As anyone who lives in the Philadelphia area can attest, Senator Specter bombarded the airwaves with commercials, including endorsements from President Bush and Pennsylvania's conservative junior Senator Rick Santorum.

This is politics to the core: pragmatic, scheming, and calculating. The GOP and President Bush can expect vigorous support from Senator Specter during November's election. Pennsylvania is a battleground state in the presidential election, and as Senator Specter appeals to moderate and liberal Republicans and Democrats, the GOP is hoping to pick up a segment of this vote. There was also concern that Mr. Toomey would not fair well in the general election versus Democrat challenger Rep. Joe Hoeffel, so the party backed Mr. Specter in order to retain the Republican Senate seat. President Bush should expect some measure of support from him in the Senate Judicial Committee. And finally, the Republican Party gets to demonstrate that its tent is large enough to accommodate a member with liberal views.

Update:

Timothy Carney of The National Review is livid about Republican Party backing of Senator Spector.
Posted by bill roggio @ 7:26 AM

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