Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter: Democrat?

So, he went and did it

Facing what appeared to be defeat in the polls from his new Democratic Challenger, Arlen Specter has decided to run in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary. 

It's still plenty of time off, and Specter's ictory is by no means guaranteed, but at the same time this is going to shift the politics. What I liked the most about Specter is that while I didn't always agree with him, I could usually count on him to make a decision he believed in. I have no reason to think that would change now, but what I do fear is that his sear will open up to someone much further on the right to slide in there. This is Pennsylvania, after all. So while it's unlikely, we could have a Santorum II issue bubbling here. Of course I'd rather have Specter as a Senator than not have him, but if it means opening up that seat in the slightest so someone of that caliber, I'm going to get anxious. 
Most of the press right now is being made about the fact that this, along with a Franken confirmation, will make a filibuster-proof majority, and how the GOP are scrambling to hold up the Franken issue at all costs, or how Kay Bailey Hutchison would be freed up to run for Governor (King? Emperor?) of Texas now since her vote wouldn't be as crucial to the GOP. 
These are all good points and worth considering, but to assume that all of the Democratic senators will toe the party line is just foolish. One of the biggest problems with the Democratic Party is that the beliefs are scattered across such a wide area that it's much harder to get everyone to vote the same. Whether that indicates a narrower mindset on the GOP side of the aisle or just greater discipline in the party leadership I'm not qualified to say, but it's definitely a factor, and to think that Specter (along with Evan Bayh, Mark Begich, Bill Nelson, and the rest of the Bue Dog senate) will just dive headfirst into all of Obama's agendas is lunacy, just as it's lunacy to expect any more of the wandering GOP members to occasionally buck their party. This is going to shore up both sides and make things uglier for the time being. Especially between now and November, when Specter is going to have to consider his votes carefully and Al Franken is going to go through the Salem witch trials for his confirmation. 

So as a whole, this makes m happy. Knowing that Specter has a much better chance of keeping his seat is good news, though I still think I'd rather have him moderating the right than the left. My home state will probably have two very moderate Democratic Senators. There are worse things, to be sure, but I wouldn't complain to see Bob Casey, Jr. replaced with someone just a tad more progressive. 

Joe Sestak, your destiny is calling....

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