As many of you have heard, Arlen Specter has left the Republican Party to join the Democrats.
There is a danger here that our party can misdiagnose the problem. The problem is not that moderates are leaving the party, the problem is that the Republican Party fails to appeal to the majority of independents. They are increasingly seen as a Beltway party and not as a grassroots organization. Arlen Specter was a part of that problem. Most Independent voters are socially and fiscally conservative, of which Arlen Specter was neither. Pennsylvania may be a pickup opportunity for the GOP if they rally behind a candidate sooner rather than later.
As for the claim by Arlen Specter that the GOP has moved to the right over the past few years; it is enough to make someone fall out of their chair in laughter. The GOP actually took Specter's advise in 2008, and nominated a moderate candidate--and last time that I checked, we now have a liberal Democratic President, whom Specter has now joined. Even President Bush, who was more conservative than McCain, surrounded himself with moderate advisors who caused his support to plummet in his second term. Conservative Republicans have not held significant power since the 90's when Newt Gingrich was the Speaker. I'm not saying that President Bush did not do some conservative things, however, his advisors hampered him, especially in his second term.
The American people are looking for leadership, and Arlen Specter represented a beltway brand of Republicanism that our party can do without.