Arlen Specter Dies at 82

Monday, October 15, 2012

Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich questions Arlen Specter on the day Specter switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer. He had lost his senate seat in 2010 and for years bemoaned the shift in the Republican Party that made it difficult for moderates like himself. He switched parties in 2010 but it couldn't keep him in Washington.

Todd Zwillich is The Takeaway's Washington correspondent.

Comments [1]


No serious observer of politics in Washington D.C. and in Pennsylvania would ever think that Arlen Specter's career was marked by "moderation." If Specter's re-election every six years (and defeating any primary challenger in the process) would have been served by being a Democrat, he'd have switched parties long before. And if Specter had needed to move farther to the right as a Republican in order to get re-elected, he'd have done that, too.

There is moderation, then there is opportunism. The career of Arlen Specter, as successful as it was (judging by length and the number of influential votes on contested issues) was never marked by any personal conviction, but rather by political calculation as to how any given vote would play to primary and general electorates in Pennsylvania.

Oct. 15 2012 10:16 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.