With the possible exception of Arlen Specter's defense of Clarence Thomas in the Supreme Court justice's nomination process, he never was much of a Republican. Or a Democrat. Instead, Specter was the epitome of what ails Washington, DC, our state capitals, and even local politics. A professional politician with the audacity to claim he switched parties so "he could continue to do good for the people of Pennsylvania", Specter appeared far more interested in holding on to his power base in the nation's capital.
His primary loss to Rep. Joe Sestack came in spite of a rousing endorsement from President Barak Obama coupled with a campaign rally appearance from the president. It appears members of both parties are finally in a mood to dump incumbents, especially those who have clung to power for decades.
Personally, I'd be happy to witness a new cadre of Republicans and Democrats, be they liberal, moderate, or conservative ride a wave into Washington this year. It would mark a sea change in American politics. In the past, voters tended to rebel against the party occupying the White House when things got tough. Now, they appear to have finally focused on where our problems actually lie--the members of both parties who occupy Congressional seats and tend to their own interests and those of special interests while disregarding the people's business.
Congratulations to Pennsylvania Democrats for choosing ideals over the status quo and rejecting the overblown rhetoric of their president.
Over in Kentucky, GOP primary voters performed the same dance. In this case, it wasn't an incumbent who lost, but the hand-picked successor of retiring Senator Jim Bunning, a former major league baseball player--the establishment GOP candidate.
Paul, a physician and the son of Texas GOP Rep. Ron Paul (a Republican congressman who once ran on the Libertarian ticket for President and has mounted two primary campaigns for the GOP presidential nod) ran with the open endorsement of the "Tea Party" movement in Kentucky--an association he embraced.
Whether or not Paul, who follows his father's libertarian instincts, can win a general election while maintaining ties to the Tea Party, is an open question. It is also an important issue for both Paul and the Tea Party groups, as the voting power of the new anti-tax movement will be put to the test in a relatively conservative state that is considered on the fringes of "southern" politics.
Either way, the establishment was dealt blows on both sides of the aisle. And that's important for the continued health of democracy in America.