If Bob Dole was still in office and pulled a stunt like Arlen Specter, well, he’d have deserved the same scorn. And subsequent loss of office. I suspect Specter’s imagination is just running wild here in a pathetic attempt to sell books.
Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole told his ex-colleague Arlen Specter that switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party was not only the right move for Specter, but that Dole likely would have done the same thing, according to an account in Specter’s forthcoming book.
The ex-U.S. senator from Pennsylvania’s anecdote, which draws on a late 2010 conversation between the two men, is potentially explosive for Dole, a longtime centrist from Kansas who won the GOP’s presidential nomination in 1996. But it also could be harmful for the presidential candidate he endorsed in 2012, Mitt Romney, who has been hindered by a perception he’s too liberal for conservative voters.
Let’s see: In 2010 the Democrats were facing ruin at the polls while the GOP was surging. Sure, a seasoned old pro like Dole would read those tea leaves and decide to jump ship?
Let’s get real.
In his book, Specter writes that initially Dole chastized him for leaving the party, joking that he would “move to Pennsylvania and run for Senate as a Republican.”
But Dole’s tone changed markedly 18 months later, in October 2010, when Specter said the two men talked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Then, months after Specter had already lost his reelection bid, Dole told Specter he had done a terrific job as a senator.
“He said I faced a dead end with what was happening in the Republican Party,” Specter wrote.
According to Specter, he thanked Dole for thinking the party switch was the right decision. According to Specter, Dole added, “I probably would have done the same thing.”