“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.”
–Arlen Specter, US Senator from Pennsylvania
“Mr. Specter said he would not be an automatic Democratic vote, though he will be pulled in that direction since he now faces the prospect of running in a Democratic primary.”
—New York Times, “Specter Switches Parties,” 4/28/09
Uh, senator? Your job is to represent Pennsylvania, not to preserve your career at any cost.
Changing party affiliation is perfectly reasonable, if one no longer agrees with the tenets of one’s current party and sees a viable alternative in another. Changing party affiliation just to preserve one’s job smacks of crass self-preservation. It makes you sound like you care more for your title than for the people you represent.
Call me naive, but I like to think that politicians at least consider voting their consciences over political concerns. Senator Specter seems to be baldly admitting that his affiliation and indeed his voting record will depend more on pandering to future election wins.
Now, I understand that there is a relation between representing the majority opinions of the local electorate and winning their votes. But to put it so bluntly, instead of expressing one’s hopes that one’s legislative decisions will represent one’s constituency, is unseemly in my opinion.