Call Specter a Traitor, But Don’t Call Him Unprincipled

It’s easy to brand Arlen Specter’s decision to leave the Republican Party-a move directly precipitated by his realization that his career would end with next year’s Pennsylvania Senate primary unless he left the G.O.P.-a nakedly unprincipled act of political survival.
And that’s just what Specter’s critics, on the right, on the left, and in the middle, have been doing this week.
“Self-preservation in the first order” and “a cold, crass political calculation” is how G.O.P. chairman Michael Steele described Specter’s switch, while Joe Sestak, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is threatening to challenge Specter in next year’s primary, pointedly asked, “Is that the type of individual we want?”
On the “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart rolled tape of Specter’s press conference earlier that day, at which the senator bluntly stated: “The prospects for winning the Republican primary are bleak.