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MEMBER DIARY

Arlen’s Easy Way Out

I have known and been friends with Arlen over 36 years and have always supported his important role as a moderate in our party.

He will continue to be a friend.

But leaving the party because you’re facing a tough electoral challenge doesn’t seem consistent with his record of courage and principle.

I have given to every one of Arlen’s statewide campaigns. While the passion with which I supported him may have been magnified by our friendship, the fact of my support was a consequence of our shared political values of limited government and strong national defense. In our country, parties are necessarily big, to accommodate a range of views and geographies. I have always viewed the GOP as a Big Tent Party, and appreciate the inclusion of moderates like Arlen.

However, in leaving the Republican Party, Arlen has abandoned people who have been his allies for another team. He has thrown in with people who have a fundamentally different vision for America, and one that I profoundly disagree with.

Why did he do this? It seems as if Arlen took the path of least resistance. He knew that his primary fight would be difficult. Arlen has never stepped down from a fight, but he did this time. Undoubtedly his Democratic primary campaign will be safe. Ed Rendell, Arlen’s former boss at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, will get his former Deputy Mayor out of the race now. So after a career of fighting for what he believed in, Arlen took the easy way out to keep his job.

So that’s why I will be supporting Pat Toomey for US Senate against my friend Arlen Specter. Right now, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are taking America in the wrong direction. And we need a strong voice in the Senate fighting for our party’s perspective against them.

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