Lots of differing opinions on this board. What do you all think about Specter? Who is to "blame"?
Republicans feud over Specter
By JONATHAN MARTIN & MANU RAJU & JOHN BRESNAHAN | 4/30/09 4:04 AM EDT
Faced with a high-profile defection and the prospect of political irrelevance in the Senate, Republicans took off the gloves Wednesday for a ferocious game of finger-pointing.
Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and George Voinovich blamed the Club for Growth for imposing a right-wing litmus test that chased Arlen Specter out of the Republican Party. The Club for Growth blamed Specter ? first for helping to ruin the GOP and then for leaving it. A leading Republican strategist blamed the party for turning its back on moderates. Sen. Lindsey Graham sniped at Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. Specter?s pollster blamed the stimulus bill. Karl Rove blamed Specter himself.
And the National Republican Senatorial Committee set about trying to taint Specter among Pennsylvania Democrats by reminding them that he was once aligned with Republican President George W. Bush.
In the nasty game of Who Lost Specter, only Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed to go unscathed ? although his pain will come as he tries to lead a caucus that is likely to be too small to stand in the way of anything the Democrats want to do.
Specter decided to switch parties after concluding that there was no way he could beat former Rep. Pat Toomey in next year?s Republican primary. That made the Club for Growth ? the free-market group Toomey once led ? a fat target for Republican ire Wednesday, and both Hatch and Voinovich took aim.
Voinovich, a moderate Republican from Ohio who is retiring, said the Republican Party needs to step in more forcefully when the Club for Growth or other organizations try to vilify moderate incumbents in blue states.
?They?re really not interested in Republicans, even ones that are relatively conservative ? ?If you don?t pass my litmus test, then you don?t qualify,?? Voinovich said of groups like the Club.
Asked if the Club for Growth was a problem, Voinovich said, ?I think it is. I think it?s a big problem.?
Hatch, the No. 2 man at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Toomey can?t win in a general election in Pennsylvania ? and that by chasing out Specter, the Club for Growth and its backers may have cost the GOP another seat in the Senate.
?I don?t think it had anything to do with leadership; it had to do with Club for Growth,? the Utah Republican said of Specter?s switch. ?I wish they?d spend their money going after Democrats, rather than Republicans. ... Let?s just be honest about it: In blue states, we?re not going to get conservative Republicans. It?s just that simple.?
(lots more but I cut at the end of the first page).