Happy anniversary, Senator Specter! 

Just for fun, here's Chris Matthews one year ago, on the defection of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter from the GOP to the Democrats.

Matthews all but pronounced the death of the GOP, comparing its situation to that of "the pre-Civil War Whig Party" and asserting that it has become a regional party.

After a brief interview with Michael Smerconish, who invokes the Dougherty Doctrine ("the GOP is losing because Republicans aren't enough like me"), Chuck Todd asks whether Republicans can ever return to the majority without people who can win Senate seats in the Northeast.

Specter left the GOP because the polls convinced him he would lose the Republican primary. A year later, a lot has changed. Specter might still lose his party primary, and polls suggest he is even more likely to lose his general election.

Moreover, an answer to Todd's question has materialized: As long as there are candidates like Pat Toomey, who can win in states like Pennsylvania, the GOP still has a few gasps left.

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