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Roger Stone: Specter Defection Sad Day for GOP

Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 04:03 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Veteran political strategist Roger Stone tells Newsmax that Sen. Arlen Specter, who is leaving the Republican Party to become a Democrat, will probably win re-election in 2010 — but can’t be counted on as a solid vote with the Democrats.

The Pennsylvania legislator’s decision shows more about the GOP than it does about the five-term Senator, according to Stone, who worked for Richard Nixon's campaign and later as a political strategist for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984. [Editor's Note: See the full interview - Go Here Now]

Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella asked Stone for his take on the surprising move by Specter.

“First of all I think Arlen Specter is truly a moderate,” Stone said.

“He’s not a liberal. He’s not a conservative. He’s truly down the center, and sadly there’s really no more room for that kind of Republican in the Republican Party of Pennsylvania today.

“Specter was our best chance as a Republican to win that seat. Now you have a situation in which he was staring at political reality. He most likely would have lost the Republican primary and it would have been the end of his long congressional career. His chances now of being the Democratic nominee are quite strong, and my guess is that he will prevail in the general election yet again.

“This is more a commentary about the Republican Party than it is about Arlen Specter. The party is becoming more narrow and less diverse. It is no longer the open tent party of Ronald Reagan.

“Remember that Arlen Specter first got elected to the U.S. Senate on Ronald Reagan’s coattails, and the party was more tolerant and a broader party then. Today our party has become more ideological, more narrow, and therefore we’re more likely to nominate candidates who can’t win.

“I would remind you that Rick Santorum, as an incumbent conservative U.S. senator, lost Pennsylvania in his bid for re-election, and it wasn’t even close.”

Specter, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “will continue to vote right on some issues and wrong on others,” Stone told Newsmax.

“Without Arlen Specter, we would not have Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. We would not have John Roberts. We would not have Sam Alito. He’s done many good things.

“On the other hand I disagree with his [pro-]stimulus vote. I agree with his vote against union dues check-off just a few weeks ago.

“Specter is going to continue to confound. He’s going to continue to be unpredictable. But I would predict that he does get re-elected as a Democrat.”

Martella asked if Stone agrees with political analyst James Carville’s prediction that Democrats will stay in control for the next 40 years.

“Anybody who tries to predict what politics will be about a year from now, never mind 40 years, must be a political amateur,” Stone responded.

“It’s impossible to say. I think the bloom will come off the Obama rose. I think more people will see him for what he is — not a moderate. But I think that will take some time.”

Martella asked if Arlen’s party switch, which gives Democrats and their allies 60 votes in the Senate, will facilitate passage of the cap and trade plan to curb carbon emissions.

“The point is that just as the Republicans couldn’t count on him 100 percent of the time, the Democrats are going to learn that they can’t count on him to be a lock-step party vote 100 percent of the time,” Stone said.

“My guess is that Specter will continue to hew to an independent course. He will continue to vote conservative on some issues, moderate on others, liberal on others.

“But for anyone to assume that he is going to stick with the Democratic caucus 100 percent of the time would be inaccurate.

“There are also a number of Southern Democrats that cannot be counted on. So [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid may now have the 60 votes, but they’re not 60 hard votes.”

Editor's Note: See the full interview - Go Here Now

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