Three things of import here.
First, the Republican Party purges itself of another RINO. This is good. Sure, it’s one less “R” in the Senate, but Republicans simply cannot progress as a party with RINOs like Specter weighing them down. Ultimately, Specter’s move will do a great deal more good than bad for Republicans.
Second, Democrats now possess a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. This means they are limited only by public opinion. Essentially, there is no longer a balance of power between the parties. Look for card check, the FOCA, tax hikes, and other liberal fantasies to pass through Congress unscathed. Yikes.
Third, attention turns to Minnesota. You thought Franken was safe in the Senate? Not quite yet. The controversy that was the MN Senate election is still alive and well in the MN courts. Just as in Bush v. Gore, the fundamental issue in Coleman v. Franken (or whatever you want to call it) is whether all the votes received equal weight. The truth is they didn’t. The MN election commission made the critical error of (1) creating new standards for counting ballots in the midst of the recount and (2) failing to apply those new standards to ballots already recounted.
I think the Republicans were willing to sacrifice MN to the Democrats so long as the Democrats were unable to attain a filibuster-proof majority. Granted, that strategy was purely defensive, but it bought Republicans time until the 2010 Senate elections.
Now that Specter has jumped shipped and empowered the Democrats, the Republicans might just want to start rethinking that strategy.