When you think for yourself, you risk coming to the conclusion that friends and allies are wrong. It is a politically dangerous trait that might be best described as courage.
We don't see it often enough in elected officials.
Specter was ushered into retirement by a change in tone in Washington that made it difficult to survive while trying to foster bipartisanship.
A new generation of politicians who lead, as Specter did, by thinking for themselves, rather than marching in lock-step to well-established partisan talking points, may be just what this nation needs.