In Michael’s article [ed: removed dead link] on the Specter cross-over, regular reader c3 asks:

Just for the sake of discussion.  How is this different than what Joe Leiberman did?

I think what’s different between Specter and Lieberman is that, as far as I know, Lieberman hasn’t flipped-flopped between saying one thing and then doing another, while Specter has.  Yes, Lieberman himself flirted with the idea of becoming a Republican once upon a time, and was John McCain’s first pick for running mate last year, but he hadn’t spent months telling us that it would never happen and then suddenly did it.  I actually found Lieberman to be quite transparent with his thought process.  He went public with the fact he was considering it.

Specter is a different animal altogether.

There may have been signs, I don’t know.  I didn’t have the behind the scenes knowledge so many people apparently had.  I guess the “writing was on the wall,” even though bad poll numbers are no sure indication you’ll cross over.  But according to Interested in the other article, once, “In 2001 When the Vermont Republican Jim Jeffords became an independent, Specter lost a committee chairmanship in the Senate’s resulting power shift. An angry Specter proposed a ban on such party switches.”

And then there’s this from last month:

I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role, a more important role, to play there. The United States very desperately needs a two-party system. That’s the basis of politics in America. I’m afraid we are becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party with so little representation of the northeast or in the middle atlantic. I think as a governmental matter, it is very important to have a check and balance. That’s a very important principle in the operation of our government. In the constitution on Separation of powers.

Meanwhile, Specter has apparently been in talks with Biden for several years about doing this, and particularly in the last few months.  Neither are bad at face value – as I said, Lieberman was wooed by the Republicans running up to the election, and after – but Specter acted as if everything was peachy.  Then this pops up.  That’s not very honest.

So did both men leave their party for to try and survive politically?  Yes.  Was one of them more transparant in their inentions.  You bet.*

On a side note, I can’t take seriously any argument that Arlen Specter “betrayed the Republican Party” when many were more than willing to welcome Lieberman into the fold (as a Senator).  However, if any also opposed Lieberman’s admission, very well.  Good for you.  That’s called consistency.  But if you’re angry about Specter after supporting the wooing of Lieberman, I call that hypocrisy.

I think in the coming months we’ll see how Specter is welcomed among the Democrats.  Probably about as well as Lieberman would have been among the Republicans.  Which means not too well.

*Disclosure: Lieberman is one of my Senators, so if there’s any bias, it’s not intentional.

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