Quote of the day

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to switch parties is evidence that Americans are "rebelling against the far-left agenda."

By Alex Koppelman
Published May 4, 2009 6:13PM (EDT)

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., certainly knows how to put the happiest face on things. In a piece he contributed to a New York Times roundtable on the possible repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Inhofe went off-topic a little bit to discuss Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to bolt the Republican Party, and offered this take:

This week we marked the first 100 days of the Obama administration. In a YouTube statement, I warned Democrats that, in addition to their unprecedented spending spree, pushing for liberal causes like abortion rights, gun control, gutting the defense budget and universal health care, will put the president on track for a repeat performance of 1993 -- when a young Bill Clinton entered the Oval Office under the banner of “change.” He had everything. He had the House and the Senate, and the far-left had their hooks in him.

There is no evidence more visible that the American people are already rebelling against the far-left agenda than Senator Arlen Specter switching parties to become a Democrat. He did this for one reason, and that is his advisers told him he couldn’t retain his Senate seat as a Republican. In other words, the same people who supported Senator Specter six years ago have soundly rejected him today.

That, my friends, sounds like 1994. The extreme liberal agenda is not sellable to the American people. Just wait and see.

There is, to put it mildly, some faulty logic here. Specter couldn't win in a Republican primary -- that's not the same thing as a general election. And it's no surprise to see that Republicans don't like what President Obama has done so far. Moreover, the fact that Specter would have lost the primary is in some ways actually a reflection of voters moving away from the GOP. The moderates who supported Specter have switched their party registration, leaving behind a state party that's more conservative than ever and hence more inclined to vote against Specter in a primary.

Besides, Specter is poised to win reelection as a Democrat. Inhofe wrote what he did before the release of a new Quinnipiac University poll showing the senator with a 20-point lead over former Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., a conservative favorite, but the result of that survey wasn't all that shocking.

(Hat-tip to Steve Benen.)

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Arlen Specter D-pa.