Tuesday, April 28, 2009
From the WaPo:
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.On the cynical side, this move was done purely to save his own skin. Republicans would otherwise try to unseat him (many are supporting his rival in 2010, a former Republican Congressman Pat Toomey) as not being pure enough of a conservative despite a fairly conservative 3-decades in Congress. His only chance of survival in an increasingly Democratic state is to switch parties now well ahead of the 2010 election, stave-off serious Democratic opposition, and sail back into the Senate. The WaPo agrees. It's definitely a self-serving, self-preservative move.
Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next senator from Minnesota. (Former senator Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)
"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."
He added: "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."
The other problem for Democrats with this move is that Dems in the Senate get another Liebercrat. That usually serves to dilute their own messages.
The mantra coming from the Right comes from none other than leading neocon wingnut Bill Kristol:
I wonder if today’s Arlen Specter party switch, this time to the president’s party, won’t end up being bad for President Obama and the Democrats. With the likely seating of Al Franken from Minnesota, Democrats will have 60 seats in the Senate, giving Obama unambiguous governing majorities in both bodies. He’ll be responsible for everything. GOP obstructionism will go away as an issue, and Democratic defections will become the constant worry and story line. This will make it easier for GOP candidates in 2010 to ask to be elected to help restore some checks and balance in Washington -- and, meanwhile, Specter’s party change won’t likely have made much difference in getting key legislation passed or not. So, losing Specter may help produce greater GOP gains in November 2010, and a brighter Republican future.So see? Losing Specter is a good thing because certainly, the majority party...the party in majority...must certainly be so wrong about governance that the True Believers will soon be back in power. So they can keep Specter because without him, they can all clap louder. Remember how many Democratic "gaffes" were "good for republicans" during the election? Face it, Kristol. Spray painting gold over shit doesnt make it gold. Specter, a 30-year republican veteran, left because of self-preservation and a larger national movement away from hard-Right Wingnuts. This is bad for Republicans.
Plus, now the Democrats have to put up with him.