The Sun Journal editorial, April 20, regarding Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic party was off the mark. The editorial writer blamed him, suggesting that “as the party drifted to the right [he] realized his election chances were slipping away.” But that is not so. Specter, a five-term senator with strong bipartisan support, is a virtual shoo-in for the general election.
What the editorial missed is that the Republicans, to purge the ideologically impure senator, were going to support a challenger to him in the primary. The national and state party chairs both support Pat Toomey — a right-wing candidate financed by the ultra-conservative, anti-tax Club for Growth.
It was a battle Specter couldn’t win, since approximately 200,000 moderate Republicans in Pennsylvania switched parties to vote for candidate Obama in the presidential primary, leaving the Republican party there captive to its most right-wing segment. Persisting would simply lead to the silencing of yet another bipartisan voice in the Senate.
People are fortunate in Maine. To date, our moderate senators enjoy strong bipartisan support, largely because they act and vote accordingly. Will the Maine Republican party continue to be a tent big enough to attract Independents and Democrats? It makes for more responsible government.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Club for Growth, The Heritage Foundation, or some other well-funded conservative organization comes gunning for the two senators the next time around.
It’s open season on Republican moderates.
Stephen C. Lunt, Auburn

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