I am a devout Independent and Republican from Pennsylvania. Although I am extremely disappointed in Senator Specter for becoming a Democrat I completely understand his actions and will still be voting for his reelection next year. The Conservative Right Wing has taken over the Republican Party and they make it such that elected Republicans that dont tow their line are considered traitors. This Right Wing is greatly responsible for thinning the ranks of the Republican Party and it is completely understandable that Arlen Specter would not want to subject himself to a vetting in a primary election by a right wing electorate that doesnt represent mainstream America and doesnt offer a good future for all America. However, the Senator failed to fully consider that the American electorate frequently trashes their elected officials in polls long before an election, but as the election day nears the electorate gets practical and chooses the better candidate and Specter is clearly the better candidate over Toomey, Toomey is out of his league in comparison to Arlen. Further, the Senator did not fully consider that a true abundance of people across Pennsylvania know and would not forget the great work that he has done for Pennsylvania and the nation during his long career, and he would have, if he made it a priority, been able to call on a large number of Pennsylvanians to register as Republicans and carry him to the nomination. As for his stimulus legislation vote that wasnt and isnt a liability rather it is a feather in his cap (and this comes from a citizen that thinks this legislation was a disgrace for all its social spending) because the Republican Partys alternative was stupid beyond belief, tax cuts are a weak means of generating quick stimulus and job creation, its Economics 101. The other item that none of the political analysts have really focused on but would have significantly helped Arlen in the 2010 Republican senate primary is that years Republican governors primary. That race will mirror what would have been Arlens race with Toomey. Because in that race you have Tom Corbett a loyal foot soldier of the Republican establishment, like Toomey, against Pat Meehan, who is his own person and a strong leader who is essentially an independent and moderate. The prevailing political wisdom is that Corbetts going to sail to the nomination but that wisdom would be wrong if Meehan runs well. Pat Meehan is the better candidate; he is better in the areas of character, values and image and ordinary Pennsylvanians can readily see this. Moreover, Meehan is well-known and well-liked in southeastern PA for his work as U.S. attorney where he was responsible for driving a spear into the pay-to-play political culture beast in the Philadelphia region. Meehan could readily tap into that grass roots support and produce an enormous increase in Republican registration for the 2010 primary, and these Meehan voters in dramatic percentages would have also been Arlen voters over Toomey voters because these are independent and moderate voters. The lesson from the Arlen Specter story is that Republicans have to make a good home for moderates and independents in the Republican Party. The crux of the solution to this problem is to provide a guaranteed strong campaign funding means for these types of candidates and elected officials, freeing them from having to rely on the Republican Party bosses and the Republican Party apparatus which are and is squarely in the Right Wing camp. Such a solution addresses the harsh reality in American politics today which is that candidates need money to get into office and stay in office, political campaigns today are largely contests in advertising and campaign staff efforts and these elements of a campaign take lots of money. Moderate Republicans have to galvanize and make it clear to the right wing and any other wing in the Republican Party that we are going to have a safe and supportive home in the Republican Party and that it will be obtained peacefully or it will be obtained through fighting but it will definitely be obtained. To completely fill in the picture here moderate Republicans position should be you Republican right wingers go off and be as nutty, tunnel visioned, class divisive as you want to be just dont threaten our existence in politics and in the Republican Party. Back to the money answer for solving this suppression and purging problem of moderates in the Republican Party. Moderates need to set up a national organization within the Republican Party, call it the Moderate Republican Club have it have a board of directors of high profile Republican moderates like Tom Ridge, Colin Powell, Olympia Snowe, etc. This board will elect a Director whose primary task will be twofold. First, the Directors task will be to raise money for moderate Republican candidates for elected office and distribute the raised monies to these candidates and secondly, the Directors task will be to certify one organization in each state to be a state level Moderate Republican Club to do the same work as the national club which is to raise money for statewide moderate Republican candidates and distribute the raised monies to them. It is important to have a state level certification process because otherwise America will see unscrupulous Republican leaders who dont care about moderate Republican values and seeing the implementation of those values in America utilizing the appeal of the moderate movement to raise money from moderate Republican supporters and funnel this money to right wing candidates. Moderates need to turn this Moderate Republican Club movement into a movement like the Blue Dog movement in the Democrat Party, it is a movement that is a potent force in American politics, it is a movement members are proud to be part of and wear their affiliation with the movement as a badge of honor. The natural and critically important question which this initiative raises is what is Moderate Republicanism. First off Moderate Republicanism is a broad category. The clearest picture of what this category includes is by focusing on the Right Wing Movement of the Republican Party. The Right Wing Republican Party movement are zealous opponents to raising taxes and that means any kind of taxes and they are absolutest that is they are vehemently opposed to even minor tax increases. The tax issue is one of the major defining areas of the moderate Republican Movement. Moderate Republicans recognize the need for some increases in government spending like for the Food and Drug Administration, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, etc. and believe that even cutting unnecessary spending the Federal Government is facing significant and unsustainable budget deficits and considering that America is currently in two wars which are extremely expensive some tax increases are in order and the repeal of the Bush tax cut on wealthiest Americans qualify as in order. Right Wingers are opposed to the polluting emissions cap and trade legislation because it is practically a tax on ordinary Americans, moderate Republicans recognize that government has to take action to bring about the nation taking meaningful progress in cutting CO2 emmissions at least from the power generating industry and this needs to be done through what is practically a tax. Moderate Republicans, unlike Democrats that want to tax an activity just because it pollutes, want to tax polluting activities that will bring about meaningful reductions in pollution and in an economically sensitive manner, that believe scientist and economists should be directing a slow phase in this cap and trade initiative where science and responsible economics are guiding the action not politics. The spending issue is another of the major defining areas of the moderate Republican movement. As stated Moderate Republicans believe that some increase in government spending is in order and not at the expense of warranted social spending, right wingers recognize the need for increased government spending in certain areas but want to do it at the expense of warranted social spending, right wingers dont really care about government social spending they would cut whatever they could practically get away with in this area. For the moderate Republican movement, the above mentioned financial issues are the top priority in defining what is a moderate compared to what is a right winger or today an ordinary Republican. In implementing any initiate to provide financial support for moderate candidates these financial concerns should be given top priority all other concerns fall into levels far below this financial issue level and after a Moderate Republican Club has done right by moderate Republican candidates that are moderates on economic matters like described above than providing support to other moderates can be pursued. Again looking at Right wingers is the best way to define a moderate. A moderate believes in comprehensive immigration reform as opposed to a right winger, in part, because America has twelve plus million illegals in America and America has used many of these individuals labor for many years giving a wink and a nod to enforcing immigration laws, America is morally obligated to find a path to legalization for these individuals. A moderate believes in stem cell research and kicking the abortion issue to the states a moderate view believes a human being comes into existence and the corresponding human right to life at least sometime after the early part of the beginning of the first trimester of a womens pregnancy when a human brain has developed in the fetus. A moderate believes that solving the nations crime problem doesnt include longer and longer prison sentences but rather separating the bad law breakers from the savable law breakers that can be put on a path where they will be good citizens and believes in creating a criminal justice system that does just that. A moderate believes that the government essentially has to regulate the financial industry to shut down or restrict a lot of avenues of investing because there is no good public policy basis for such investing it doesnt aid a business doesnt create jobs, etc. because a lot of it is investment to create profit for big financial industry firms where non-big financial industry firms and individual investors get hurt from the activity and because a lot of it is essentially casino capitalism. What moderate Republicanism entails is extensive and is ever growing with the issues that arise up in the nation and in a general sense it is often simply that which is not Right Wing Republican positions on issues. It is not necessary to define entirely what it means to be a moderate Republican, it is clear to America in a general sense what is a moderate Republican and Americans who consider themselves moderate Republicans or good Americans at-large need organizations of people to protect and support moderate Republican candidates for office and elected officials so they can bring their values and their outlook to the American political process and move America forward.