Pat Toomey, the wingnut congressman who challenged Arlen Specter in a 2004 primary before becoming the head of the super-insane Club for Growth, is officially throwing his hat in the ring for a second challenge. This is very bad news for anyone hoping to see the Employee Free Choice Act passed in this congress. Specter voted for cloture on EFCA in the previous congress, which should be understood in part as payback for receiving labor support in his 2004 general election. But a vote for EFCA could be an enormous liability in a GOP primary race. Ordinarily, most establishment types in the GOP/business nexus would back an incumbent against a challenger, but your typical executive would sooner strangle his children with his bare hands than sign a collective bargaining agreement.
As I’ve said before, one possible answer would be for Specter to back Obama’s budget and EFCA and switch parties. To be a happy Democrat he would need to reposition himself ideologically somewhat, but he’s meandered quite a bit ideologically over the years. This, however, is what tends to happen with party switchers. Jim Jefford went from a voting record that would have been extremely conservative for a Democrat to being a standard-issue Vermont liberal after he switched parties. And you saw something similar with some Clinton-era D-to-R party switchers.