Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), a friend, ally, and fellow moderate of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), says the GOP didn't have to lose him. While some conservatives express outrage at Specter for leaving, and while Republican figureheads accuse him of doing it because of polling (which did indicate that he didn't have much hope for winning re-election as a Republican), Snowe blamed the GOP for losing him.
"There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party," Snowe wrote, asserting that the GOP misinterpreted the 2004 election as a mandate, causing its 2006 and 2008 woes.
Snowe makes a good point, but the ideological diversity of Pennsylvania, in this case, is just as significant as at the national level: if Pennsylvania Republicans still welcomed Specter's moderacy, former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) wouldn't have been wiping the floor with him in GOP primary polls. In Specter's statement yesterday, he cited the thousands of Pennsylvania Republicans that had recently become Democrats; perhaps the craziness of the 2008 campaign in PA, complete with cries of Obama-is-a Muslim, had as much to do with turning off those voters to the GOP as the governing ideologies of current GOP leaders in DC; likewise, perhaps Obama's purposeful effort to broaden the Democratic tent shares some of the credit/blame.