DIAGNOSIS

Specter Defection Puts GOP on Ropes

A damning assessment from Politico’s John Harris and Jim VandeHei: Sen. Arlen Specter’s decision to join the Democratic Party—putting them one step closer to 60 Senate seats—has dealt a major blow to the GOP, both in terms of “public perceptions and legislative arithmetic.” Specter’s departure only solidifies the perception of the Republican Party as ideologically bankrupt, and it also places his former party at a disadvantage in the Senate not seen since 1977. Republicans are already very unpopular, and many are quick to point out that Specter’s decision was more of an effort at political survival than a philosophical epiphany. Republicans bemoaning their struggling party should take heart, though: Just five years ago, after Bush was reelected, experts were wondering whether the Democrats would ever be able to recover, too.