This is Political Wire's quote of the day taken from a lengthy article on the aftermath of Specter's party switch in the Allentown Morning Call:
”Well, I probably shouldn’t say this,” he said over lunch last month. ”But I have thought from time to time that I might have helped the country more if I’d stayed a Republican.”
Specter mused that perhaps if he’d remained in the caucus he could have persuaded one or two of his GOP colleagues to support health care reform. Not one Senate Republican voted in favor of it, but he swears he would have regardless of party affiliation.
”Coalition building has gone out of style in this wing of the building,” he said. Breaking from party ranks to vote with the other side is a ”very unpleasant experience.”
If breaking with party ranks to vote with the opposition is an unpleasant experience, Specter must have been a glutton for punishment as a Republican. That gluttony garnered him a good deal of attention and it is the attention Specter seems to miss:
Specter began showing his intense dissatisfaction with his place in the Republican Party long before leaving. At the 2008 national convention in Minnesota, he scolded a roomful of moderate Republicans for allowing the right wing of the party to take control. He said the number of remaining moderates left could fit together in a phone booth -- ''And we're pretty lonely.''Aww, poor Senator Specter, he isn't getting enough attention from voting with his party all the time. Not to worry, we're paying close attention Arlen. Some of us are even rooting for you in the Democratic primary. We need you to win so we can beat you in November. Those who voted for you in 2004 were taught a valuable lesson. Senator Specter isn't the only one with regrets.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, thinks Specter made a hasty decision.
''I think we're seeing a real resurgence of moderates,'' she said. ''I think it was an unfortunate move and I miss him and I wish he hadn't left.''
It seems difficult for Specter to accept that he's not standing alone in that phone booth any longer. When he was a Republican, his votes used to ''stick out like a sore thumb,'' he said. ''Now nobody pays any attention to me.''