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What Specter's defection means

Justin Webb | 20:19 UK time, Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The really interesting story with Arlen Specter is not so much the parliamentary stuff that has caught so much attention today, but the deeper issue of what it says about change in America. Or change in Pennsylvania to be precise.

If Arlen Specter could have won as a Republican he would have stayed a Republican - but Pennsylvania voters have been on a trajectory that takes them further and further away from the causes and concerns of the Bush-era Republican party, in particular on issues of religious social conservatism (whose strange death I chronicled in my book).

Remember Rick Santorum? Who could forget. But where is he now? Sarah Palin? Ditto.

This is where I take issue with the thesis of my friend Adrian Wooldridge of the Economist, who writes that God is Back.

If God were back, Mr Specter would still be a Republican...

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