Specter of a supermajority

It’s no great surprise that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter decided he has more in common with Democrats than his own party. He has frequently been at odds with GOP leadership.

However, Specter’s decision to switch parties appeared to have more to do with his poor prospect of winning a Republican primary next year than with any deep-seated philosophical issues.

So be it. Specter is hardly the first politician to place re-election prospects over principles.

What troubles us about his party switch is the possibility that his decision — combined with Al Franken’s apparent victory in the Minnesota Senate race — will give Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. As we have argued many times, when either party has that much control of the nation’s political system, it spells trouble. A few political brakes are a good thing, especially when trillions of dollars of new spending are contemplated.


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