Newt Gingrich’s take on Arlen Specter’s defection? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, senator. Specter left the party “in spirit” when he cast his vote for “a $787 billion big-spending bill no elected official had even read,” the former speaker tells the Washington Post. His official defection “is a function of personal survival,” and will ultimately make the party look better.
But Specter’s friend Olympia Snowe, who also crossed the aisle on the stimulus vote, isn’t as glib. “Yesterday’s announcement must compel serious soul-searching within the GOP,” she writes. “We are headed toward having one of the smallest political tents in generations.” There should be room for moderates like Specter. “We simply cannot expand a majority by shrinking the ideological confines of our party.”