But this is not the first time he as pulled a stunt like this. In 1965 Arlen Specter switched from being a lifelong Democrat to being a Republican. What could cause a man to switch party affiliations two times in his political life?
In both of Arlen Specter's switches the answer was clear. Remaining with his party spelled immanent political doom the likes of which forces a politician to go get a real job.
Let's compare the 1965 and 2009 timelines shall we?
In 1965 Specter had expressed desire to run for District Attorney in Philadelphia, but the Democratic power structure refused to afford him the opportunity. Sensing weakness among the Democratic establishment, the Republican Party approached Specter and convinced him to run on the Republican ticket.
If you'll recall, many people believe 1964-1965 marks the beginning of the Republican Revolution with the delivery of Ronald Reagan's pivotal speech, "A Time for Choosing."
(A must-watch for anyone calling himself/herself a conservative. )
In 1967 Specter lost a bid for mayor and lost. He won a City Controller position in 1969 as a Republican. Then ran a Senate bid in 1976 and lost. Then a Gubernatorial bid in 1978 and lost.
In 1976, Reagan lost in the primaries to Gerald Ford, but Reagan gave this impromptu speech at the '76 Republican Convention.
"The power of that speech was extraordinary. You could just feel throughout the auditorium the palpable sense among the delegates that 'We've nominated the wrong guy.'"
After the Reagan speech in 1976 coupled with the national disaster that was Jimmy Carter, I believe Specter saw the tidal wave of conservatism that was forming and chose to ride it rather than be crushed.
In 1980 Specter won his first national political position by riding the Reagan landslide to victory. The point being that Specter has never been very good at winning elections as a Republican on his own.
Arlen Specter should get down on his elderly knees and thank God for the Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party he so quickly cast aside this week. For 29 years Specter siphoned funds and votes off of the Republican party for in order to keep his job as a congressman.
But within the last few months the tidal wave of the cult of Obama has become a means to achieve political power, and with the icy breath of losing the Republican primaries by a staggering 20% to a one Pat Toomey, Specter decided it was time to use the strategy that served him so well 45 years ago.
In light of his vote for the Obama stimulus package in February it is clear, this week Sen. Specter did not defect from his home party; he defected to it.