Independence Trumps Party Loyalty (5/14/09)
In announcing his recent decision to switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter said:
"(This) does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats than I have been for the Republicans...Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America."
Now, many skeptics claim Specter's move was primarily motivated by politics and self-preservation. And that's probably true.
But that still doesn't change the good sense of his statement.
Here in Kentucky, how much more could we accomplish if our elected representatives didn't automatically block every idea introduced by the opposing party regardless of its merit? And at the local level, what might we achieve if votes by our Metro Council didn't almost always automatically follow strict party lines?
As one blogger has said, "The problem isn't that Mr. Specter breaks party ranks. It's that almost no one else ever does."
I only hope he follows through on his promise of "people first, party second," and that more of his colleagues finally wise up and get aboard the same train.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.