The Specter defection also reinforces the image of the GOP as a regional party reluctant to embrace anyone except conservative Christians in the American south. Senator Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine said today, "For me personally and then for the party, it's devastating... I've always been concerned about the Republican party nationally, about their exclusionary policies towards moderate Republicans."
Finally, the Washington Monthly has a good summary on how Specter's defection demonstrates that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is not getting any traction in his attempt to rebuild a party that has been devastated in the last two national elections: "Over the last month, the Republican Party has humiliated itself with a ridiculous alternative budget. Multiple polls show the GOP shrinking into a tiny national minority. The party lost a special election in New York where Republicans enjoy a significant advantage, and where Steele said the results would "send a powerful signal to the rest of the country." And today, the party lost one of its few remaining moderates, who noted upon his departure, "[T]he Republican Party has moved far to the right.""
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was in full damage-control mode today when he told reporters that Specter's move, "is not a national story. It is a Pennsylvania story." Mitch, I'm afraid that it's the Republican Party that's "no longer a national story."