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Arlen Specter Is Old but Not Dumb

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Arlen Specter has defected from the Republican Party not because it's too conservative, but because he is too old. When you're 79 and running for another six-year term, the big issue isn't politics, it's age. Specter's Republican primary opponent, former Rep. Patrick J. Toomey, may be a lot more conservative than Specter, but, as attractively, he's a lot younger, too.

Nobody's going to cast an uncritical vote for a 79-year-old if there's a sentient alternative.

Except, of course, the Democratic president of the United States, who will get a filibuster-proof majority if he does. The president has promised to hand the doddering Specter the Democratic Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, guaranteeing him victory in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, in return for the old coot standing with the Democrats.

You don't get more nakedly opportunistic than this.

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