When Arlen Specter switched parties in April 2009 in order to avoid a near certain loss in the Republican primary, it was not hard to guess the outcome, as I did:
Specter has become a caricature of the self-interested politician who hides his need for fame behind lofty talk of principles. More than anything, I feel sorry for Specter at a personal level, because we are watching someone going through his last hurrah. And the fact that he sold out the principles he spoke about just weeks ago regarding preserving the two-party system, demonstrates how pathetic Specter has become in his quest for a legacy. Unfortunately for Specter, his legacy will not be what he thinks it will be.
Now, having lost the Democratic primary, Specter’s legacy is written in stone, and it is not good. From The NY Times:
But after the long campaign that ended his career on Tuesday, Mr. Specter, 80, may be remembered more for switching to the Democratic Party after 44 years as a Republican, a brazen act of political jujitsu that rarely ends well. For the moment, his legacy has been boiled down to a teachable moment on the perils of such maneuvers, especially so late in life….
“He has been a serious and consequential senator for three decades,” said Thomas Mann, a longtime Congress watcher at the Brookings Institution, “yet mostly ungenerous words come to mind: driven, tenacious, arrogant, self-righteous, opportunistic.”
And now, Mr. Mann said, Mr. Specter’s legacy is “his insistence at 80 years of age to do everything possible to try to stay in office.”
Nice job, Arlen.