Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Chris Cillizza has the huge scoop:

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, according to sources informed on the decision.

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 Sen. Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)

Specter as a Democrat would also fundamentally alter the 2010 calculus in Pennsylvania as he was expected to face a difficult primary challenge next year from former Rep. Pat Toomey. The only announced Democrat in the race is former National Constitution Center head Joe Torsella although several other candidates are looking at the race.

More as we have it...

Update [2009-4-28 12:14:53 by Jonathan Singer]: I've said before that Arlen Specter does not win reelection as a Republican, and that his only path to a sixth term would be to switch his affiliation in the Senate from the Republican caucus to the Democratic caucus. It remains to be seen exactly how this plays out -- if the state Democratic Party coalesces around his nomination (and you would think it would given the close relationship Specter has with Democratic Governor Ed Rendell), and what, if any, seniority Specter is given by Senate Democrats (will he get a chairmanship of a full committee, a subcommittee, ...?). What is clear from Specter's statement, reprinted in full below the fold, is that this move won't change his position on all issues, including (and particularly) card check. But still more as we hear it

Update [2009-4-28 12:16:59 by Todd Beeton]:Per CNN, President Obama just heard about this switch this morning and called Specter and told him: "You have my full support and we're thrilled to have you."

Update [2009-4-28 12:27:36 by Todd Beeton]:Bill Schneider on CNN: "This is a sign that the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that it is making itself uncompetitive in significant parts of the country like the Northeast."

CNN just showed footage of Sen. Specter being applauded by constituents outside his office. When asked "what do you have to say to your constituents?" he replied "I don't have to say anything to them, they've just said it to me." Specter will be holding a press conference shortly.

Update [2009-4-28 12:39:29 by Jonathan Singer]: Watching the dourness on Fox News right now is great, the extent to which they are trying to downplay this news. To take one example, Brett Baier just said "Republicans never really felt Specter was on their side." Fine. But he was. He was a Republican who was elected on Ronald Reagan's wings in 1980 and has been a member of the GOP in good standing ever since. Republicans, and their allies in the conservative media, may want us to think this isn't a big deal, but it is.

Update [2009-4-28 12:43:8 by Todd Beeton]:I'm curious when Specter intends to make this switch official. Apparently MSNBC is reporting that Specter will now caucus with the Dems. For me, I greet this news with mixed emotions. From a strict numbers perspective, more Ds is a good thing. But let's face reality: Specter has a lot to prove and a lot to repent for and he'd be the worst of the Democrats on that primary ballot.

My concern now is that Democrats will be reluctant to challenge him in the Democratic primary or will be pushed out. That is the worst thing that can happen. We need a strong Pennsylvania Democrat to challenge Specter in the primary so he is motivated to be halfway decent as a sitting Senator in the meantime. And I need someone to give my money to because Specter won't be getting any.

Update [2009-4-28 12:49:41 by Josh Orton]: MSNBC is reporting that the Senate Dem caucus will back Specter in the primary. Between their support and Rendell's, I don't see a competitive primary happening.

Update [2009-4-28 13:0:45 by Todd Beeton]:Andrea Mitchell: "Arlen Specter is now officially a Democrat."

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

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.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Tags: PA-Sen, Pennsylvania, Senate 2010 (all tags)

Comments

62 Comments

Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Is there something about the rules that requires him not to fillabuster even as a Democrat?

by bruh3 2009-04-28 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Not sure if you're using shorthand, but that's not how it works.  It only takes a single person to filibuster, not 41.  It takes 60 to vote for cloture, not 1.  The question isn't whether he's going to filibuster it's whether he'll vote for cloture or not.

And no, his being a Democrat does not require him to vote for cloture.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

it was shorthand- thanks. this is what I thought. it would be better to have a real democrat in the role rather than this parlor trick to get a republican re-elected.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

They may do it along caucus lines though - just as there's no actual filibuster going on when a bill is filibustered, I don't know if there are actual cloture votes or if the caucuses just vote as blocs.

In other words, I'm wondering if it works like the way the majoriteeship works, that is, if there are 51 Senate democrats then they control the committeeships, no matter how conservative any individual Democrat is.  Or is it more of an up or down vote sort of thing.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Cloture is up and down, and is certainly not voted by caucus.

by bannana873 2009-04-28 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Thanks.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

I agree with you to some extent. If we could get Joe Sestak in there I would be thrilled. However, there are a lot of Democrats in PA who want the job but couldn't live up to it and Arlen Specter can. He is clearly too far right for our tastes on most issues but he is the kind of guy who thinks for himself. I am excited that he will close out his career, either now or in seven years, working with the Democratic majority to solve the problems we are facing.

by JDF 2009-04-28 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

And now that I think about it, that's an extremely good question because...

he's senior as fuck - in order to lure him away the Democrats would have to have promised him a ton, because his seniority gives him basically his pick of chairmanships.

It's only worth it if he regularly votes for cloture.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

They shouldn't have promised him anything!

He was thirty points down in Republican primary polls.

This is disgusting.

by Zeitgeist9000 2009-04-28 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Then maybe they didn't.  I'm just thinking outloud.

This is a good thing, not a bad thing.  It just may not be a great thing.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

It's only a good thing if we gave him nothing, and he's going to give us what we need to pass legislation.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

There is no such thing as "giving him nothing" he has been a Senator for almost thirty years. Arlent Specter has never been a quiet man, a humble man, or a man who was overly loyal to his party. Thats not going to change now, but that is not a bad thing either. He will take this is as an opportunity to challenge ideas and be a part of an honest debate without having the anchor that is the Republican party around his neck. He is not going to be a backbencher who votes along party lines but having him with us, for however long it is, won't hurt any.

by JDF 2009-04-28 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

He was on the verge of losing the primary in his own party. I do not care about his 30 years of service. I care about electing someone who will achieve the legislative end for the American people as informed by a progressive agenda, not the save Arlen Specter agenda. Ia m not saying this is not a potentially good thing. I am agreeing with Openleft he needs to still be primaried on the Democratic side, and pressured to vote Democratic.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 08:35AM | 0 recs
Well sure

He did say that he "welcomes all challengers" in a Democratic primary.

It's pretty clear to everyone that he is only doing this to save his own hide... but some enlightened self-interest isn't necessarally a bad thing.

If Specter can win the Democratic primary and the general election, he'll still caucus with the Democrats.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Well sure

You really should not believe what they say in public. the question is whats happening behind the scenes to clear the field for him by the democrats. That's a question i can not and you can not answer. We will know as the primary season builds what they offered him.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 08:55AM | 0 recs
I have a pretty good BS detector

This whole event smacks of Specter realizing that he's screwed if he remains a Republican.  They don't handle "traitors" well.

I doubt we're really giving him anything he's not already due from nearly 30 years of service in the Senate.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 09:14AM | 0 recs
Disgusting?

The chance for Health Care Reform just went from possible to probable.

Stop and think for second. To get re-elected, Specter will need to get the vote in Philly out.

Who do you think is best able to help him there?

Barack Obama.  

Specter now needs Obama in a big way - and Specter will need to play nice.  

by fladem 2009-04-28 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Specter certainly won't be required to vote for cloture, but now his entire hope for re-election will be on the Democratic party, the DSCC, etc.  If we learned anything from Jeffords, it's that while a party switch will lead to voting the same way as before frequently, some votes will definitely change in recognition of the duties owed to the party that will be fighting for you.  So, while Specter isn't required to vote for cloture, I can't see him being the only Democrat to vote against cloture on anything.  He might vote against cloture when other Democrats are doing so as well, but that'll probably be it.

by bannana873 2009-04-28 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Jeffords didn't switch parties - he left the Republicans.

It's more than an academic difference - if he's not comfortable as a Republican then he could just leave the party.  I think he's more afraid of being primaried than he is deeply concerned about the direction of blah blah blah.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

This is going to sound rude, but I am not interested in conjecture. This comes across as weakness on the Democrats part and them supporting the full employment of their buddies "Act". Rather than taking a chance at someone who will both vote with them and not have the threat of a fillabuster lurking, if they choose to accept this, they are essentially weakened legislatively. For me personally, it's too big a risk. This is not Jeffords when we absolutely needed the vote. Here, I would rather wait a year to get a real Democrat than prop up a Republican. If we do this, we look weak. Like we will accept anyone- even with nearly 59 votes. That's fucked up.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 08:19AM | 0 recs
Wait

Another nail in the coffin of the Republican party, and you're playing a dirge for the Democrats?

Seriously, this isn't the magic bullet that will solve all of our problems, but it's better than a kick in the shins.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Wait

No- I am saying that a) yes its great theatre and optics for us to say we moved a republican moderate to our side but b) substantively its not clear its going to matter on you know- the thing called policy and laws that congress actually passes.  Since my focus is always on th elater rather than the former, thats how I am considering the issue. You are playing the my team versus theirs. I am playing the idealogical spectrum does this move us to the progressive end or not. Could we do better with moving toward a progressive vote here? I am asking and considering questions rather than going oh yes, my team won. My team is the policies that come out of this. What's yours?

by bruh3 2009-04-28 08:58AM | 0 recs
Easy

I'm not playing teams either, actually.  I'm looking at this from a broader perspective than you give me credit for.  

The problem we have right now is the Republican party and their desperation to cling to relevance... well, that and Harry Reid's insistance on giving them an undue cloture advantage.

Yes, we need progressive votes; we're not going to get many at all from Republicans who ascribe to the old Permanent Republican Majority way of thinking.  We might get some from former Republicans interested in getting re-elected in their blue states, however.  Baby steps.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Easy

the point is that, if msnbc is correct, we got specter to switch by clearing the field in the democratic primary. In effect, if this is true, what we did was to switch a sure more moderate vote in PA for a vote that would mostly be anti progressive. So what have we gained substantively? We did not need baby steps here. We had a very clear and strong chance of wining and our trade off is very little in term of substance. This was almost certainly if I am reading the substance of this a goal of keeping the senate center right. If i am not mistaken, isn't Specter one of the former gang of 14? this was also i believe an incumbency protection program. I hope I am wrong. we shall see. but my suspicion rises when one brings a surely dead candidate back to life without major concessions on his part. Again, I am willing to wait and see, but many of you are too quick to accept that this is a good thing without any proof outside of his gaining a chance of electoral victory next year.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Easy

follow up for clarity: everything I say is predicated on specter not becoming a reliable democrat. if he does become a reliable enough democrat in actual policy and legislation whether through the cloture process or actual votes like on workers right, then I am willing to say it was a good idea. My point is that we do not and will not know this simply by this action. So, let's be willing to wait and see, and to also wrong a strong primary that will require him, if he is going to be elected again, move to left.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 11:14AM | 0 recs
Fair enough

I have to re-iterate, though.  I'd be fine no matter what Specter did after leaving the Republicans.  Their caucus has become so poisonous that my first priority is to try to make them realize how pathetic they are and at least try to become an actual loyal opposition.

Frankly, my current concerns for the progressive movement are largely minor: Obama, while not 100% progressive, is, in fact, many thousand percent more progressive than the previous occupant of the White House, and we've already seen signs of the gains we'll see that will allow more progressivism to build off of.

In the words of a famous internet meme, "Chill the fuck out, I got this."

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 12:15PM | 0 recs
As someone on Swing State pointed out

Senators who switch parties tend to vote party line;

Take Ben Campbell of Colorado;

American Conservative Union ratings:
As Democrat
1993 - 12%
1994 - 25%

As Republican
1995 - 59%
1996 - 78%
1997 - 72%

Richard Shelby of Alabama is similar, although he was already quite conservative when he flipped.

by DTOzone 2009-04-28 03:51PM | 0 recs
God forbid

We should be seen as the party that accepts anyone.

by DTOzone 2009-04-28 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: God forbid

A silly response. I don't care about accepting anyone when we are trying to figure out how to advance bills that help the American people. They are the ones I am trying to help. Not a narrow band of conservatives trying to save their ass now that the country is moving beyond them. The key question remains as I have framed it despite the attempts to deflect from it. Ironically, Daily Kos is actually on point for once by discussing this. We get great optics here,but substantively do we gain anything? That's the only thing I am asking here. Many of you are so used to getting nothing that you will be happy even with a guy who was virtually guaranteed to lose switching parties to say you have done something. I am not a happy with less kind of guy. I am thinking of how can they pass the bill for workers rights, how can they make sure they have enough votes for the public option on healthcare, how can they make sure that we have en ough funding for clean technology innovation, how can we have enough vote for public health and other issues. I am not interested in anything other than actual policy and substantive action so yes I will always focus on that rather than the optics.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 09:09AM | 0 recs
You should stay away from optics

anyone who thinks this makes the Democratic Party look WEAK is obviously clueless when it comes to optics.

by DTOzone 2009-04-28 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: You should stay away from optics

It will make them look weak in terms of whether no we pass policies or not. You get a few days worth of good coverage, and years worth of bills that could have passed if whad elected a Democrat through the actually democratic processes. YOu claim heaven forbid we remain open. this is not an open process. They are reporting according one person Who mentioned it to me that they are clearing the field for specter so there is no competition as to message or whether not we could have gotten a better democrat. it says we needed specter. You can say that means short term that's advantage, but in the long. it is not because of how they got the vote.

by bruh3 2009-04-28 11:04AM | 0 recs
what?

by DTOzone 2009-04-28 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Also, Jeffords didn't stand for re-election.

This is just icky, icky, icky with stains of political opportunism all over it.

by Zeitgeist9000 2009-04-28 08:20AM | 0 recs
Oh, go tell it to Norm Coleman

You know, the guy that used to be a Democrat but became a Republican when it was poltically expedient.

These are politicians.  Of course they're going to be self-serving; it's practically in the job description.

We will have a chance to primary him out; in the meantime, we should welcome him with open arms into the "Caucus of Not-No" so we can get things done.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 08:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

CNN is reporting it now too.  Maybe we can get him to pull a Zell in 2012.

And by "pull a Zell", I mean threaten to beat up Chris Matthews, of course.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Didn't he offer a pistol duel?

by kasjogren 2009-04-28 08:48AM | 0 recs
He actually did?

I thought that was a joke...

by Jess81 2009-04-28 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha.
Ha
Heh.
Ahem.

by the mollusk 2009-04-28 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

That remains to be seen, my friend.

Universal Healthcare may no longer need a "reconciliation" budgetary end run anymore....

by Zeitgeist9000 2009-04-28 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

If he, and Nelson, and Bayh, and others can be counted on to vote with the party 100% of the time....which I doubt.

Still, if Specter proves reliable, it will be a good thing. Of course, also not 60 until Franken actually gets seated.

by fsm 2009-04-28 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

He can vote however he wants on bills, but if he won't vote with the caucus on cloture, I don't want him.

by antiHyde 2009-04-28 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Republican Party == Epoch Fail!

We got a little while before a third party emerges to replace them.  Let's use the time wisely.

by granty43 2009-04-28 08:25AM | 0 recs
Specter gets tons, but we get sh*t?

He should still be challenged in the PA primary, by a REAL DEMOCRAT who promises a solid Democratic CLOTURE vote.

We need real Democrats, not fake Democrats, not Blue Dog Democrats, not "moderate" Republicans.

by Sieglinde 2009-04-28 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Specter gets tons, but we get sh*t?

Damn straight!  I don't want him!!!  Especially not if he's going to betray us on labor issues...

Labor should mount a primary challenge in PA... I think enough democrats are sick of his antics that we could prevail...  It's worth it, even if only to force Specter to move left...

by LordMike 2009-04-28 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Specter gets tons, but we get sh*t?

Let us not fall into the trap our republican friends have of an ideological purge

by kasjogren 2009-04-28 08:49AM | 0 recs
Normally I agree

but this isn't Arkansas...an anti-labor Democrat would not be representing the constituents of Pennsylvania effectively.

I expect that Specter will be more reliable as a Democrat concerning healthcare and foreign policy than he was or would've been as a Republican, but Pennsylvania Democrats can't let someone who votes no on EFCA, at least votes no on cloture, without a primary challenge.

by DTOzone 2009-04-28 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Specter gets tons, but we get sh*t?

It's not ideological purge ... far from it.  He just needs to prove himself in a primary election against real Democratic candidates, in an increasingly Democractic state.

by Sieglinde 2009-04-28 08:55AM | 0 recs
'Betray?'

It's not "betrayal" if he says he's going to do it from the start, and we accept him anyway.

I'm not sure I like the sound of talk about "betrayal."  I've heard that from other parties, and it doesn't end well.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 09:00AM | 0 recs
EFCA

Interesting that he didn't become an independent.

One biq question--how will he vote on EFCA now that he's a "Democrat?"

by esconded 2009-04-28 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: EFCA

Based on his statements today and in the past I would say that he will vote against it as it is currently written.

by JDF 2009-04-28 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: EFCA

But he may now be willing to vote for cloture, which is an important point.

by bottl4 2009-04-28 10:46AM | 0 recs
I fail to see

how he wins a Democratic Primary being anti-EFCA.

Maybe in another state he can, maybe even in New York or New Jersey

but not Pennsylvania.

I thin we may see a flip on EFCA down the line...although, truth to be told, I expect Democrats to clear the primary field for him.

by DTOzone 2009-04-28 08:34AM | 0 recs
Maybe that is a deal they can make?

In that state, if He is a democrat, no way he is true to his constituants and votes no on EFCA.

by WashStateBlue 2009-04-28 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

I am still unsure what the Democrats get out out of this. Specter would have lost to Toomey, and Toomey would have lost the general, and the Dems would have picked up another solid vote in the Senate. If Specter moves left, then it was a great pick-up, but already he is saying he will not support the EFCA. Will he vote for cloture on cap and trade and health care reform that includes a government run plan? If he won't, the Democrats picked up nothing and the liberal agenda is pushed back a notch in the long term, while the moderate wing, the ones who cut stimulus spending, are empowered. We might still need to pass health care legislation through the budget reconciliation process. The unions need to threaten to put up a primary candidate to force Specter to at least pay attention to his new Democratic constituents.

by pdxlawyer 2009-04-28 09:02AM | 0 recs
Oh I don't know

It's worth it just to see the chest-clutching that the Republicans are doing.

The more defections, the more the Republican party gets exposed for being the uncompromising loonballs that they are.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

A great environment then, in the Democratic primary, to both run against the establishment and the Republican/Democratic "nominee".  We'll get a good pro-union candidate that defeats both Spector and Toomey.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-04-28 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

I still think it's not great news, but it's good news.  Consider the historical precedents:  Bill Clinton wins the presidency, loses seats, has Democrats becoming Republicans.

George Bush "wins" the presidency, loses seats, has Republicas becoming Democrats.

This augurs well overall for 2010.  And it doesn't hurt at all in the short run.  I understand and agree with everything people are saying about Arlen Specter and how this changes very little legislatively, but this morning we also had Arlen Specter in the Senate, AND he was a Republican.

by Jess81 2009-04-28 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Hey!  I forgot about that!

We have our first switcharoo!!! :-)

I was mad that we didn't get any switchers after 2006 and 2008 like the republicans did en masse after 1994...

At least we've got that going for us... otherwise, it sucks, 'cos Arlen's still a weasel...

by LordMike 2009-04-28 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Cillizza: Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

Maybe he should've joined the venerable "Connecticut for Lieberman" Party.

by the mollusk 2009-04-28 09:22AM | 0 recs
Joe Sestak on MSNBC

To paraphrase;

"If he decides to vote like a Democrat, great! If he doesn't, I reserve the right the run against him"

by DTOzone 2009-04-28 10:04AM | 0 recs
I would have prefered Oly Snowe as the switcheroo

But, she is not facing oblivion from a rightwing primary....

Kind of a mixed bag, this is Arlen's last dance, so does that free him up to vote more left or does he not care and turn into a wild card?

I do suspect Rahm or someone from the WH must have had some questions on cloture vote, EFCA, Health Care, etc...He had to be talking to Reid for a while about this move, and what he would get for it. But, not sure any committee chairperson steps down just to pay off Arlen?

As most say, not great news, but not bad news either.

The proof is in the eating of this dish.

by WashStateBlue 2009-04-28 10:10AM | 0 recs
True enough

Snowe seems like she might domino off of Spector if the RNC gets even more freakishly insular and pogromatic in response.

Anyway, I'm glad Arlen's going for it.  As much as my parents bitched about him (and Reagan) back in the day, the brand of Republicanism that Spector represents is not what the Republican party is today.  Kudos for the enlightened self-interest to realize that history will look upon him fondly if the policies enacted by a 60-vote Democratic majority are successful; he'll have written himself into the history books.

by Dracomicron 2009-04-28 12:21PM | 0 recs

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