Arlen Spector's decision to leave the Republican party and join the Democrats means most, I think, in the context of US voting trends overall.
When he noted that he couldn't hope to win in a PA Republican primary, Spector merely confirmed what we all know. The Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the far Far Right. In PA as in all other states except TX, UT and a handful of Dixieloons, the GOP has now completely alienated its moderates.
However, in so doing, it has also completely alienated the American voting majority.
Another way to look at it is that Specter (who, if moderate is emphatically a mercurial, not to say loose-cannon moderate -- I'm not over his role in the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas matter, thankyouverymuch) cannot win either
withinthe Republican Party or, if he runs as a Republican, a popular election, either.
Yes, it's important how Democratic Senator Arlen Specter voters on big issues yet to be decided, such as health care and the right to organize. But in two years, this is not going to be such a big deal.
Eighteen Republicans are up for re-election in 2010. And I'm thinking that, barring a catastrophe at home or a disastrous economy error by the Obama administration, the country is of a strong mind to keep Democrats in power for the foreseeable. As more and more youth come of age, and as more and more of us age and notice our dependence on a national healthcare program, and as more and more minority voters enter the picture, the country in fact is likely to increase the Democrats' majority in both houses if the GOP keeps on keeping on the way it has been keeping on.
Let's hope it does. Ladies and gem'men, encourage Governor Good Hair (Perry of TX) and the idiots at Fox News. We've got 'em by the short and curlies.