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A POLITICICAL WEREWEASEL - ARLEN SPECTER

 
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 02:55 pm
As the only Pennsylvanian in this discussion, I shall vote for Him in the general election. He's done good things in and for for PA and thats all that counts. Besides being one of only 3 GOPs with cojones to vote for unpopular legislation.

"Moderate" is good

roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 03:11 pm
@edgarblythe,
I didn't think you would remember.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 03:40 pm
An interesting, politically practical take on the matter from James Taranto.
I'm not so sure though that, notwithstanding farmerman's pledge, Specter will be rewarded with Democratic support for his re-election bid. While I'm sure that Pa Democrats are capable of quashing the plans of actual party members to seek the Senate nomination, I don't think they will unless they believe no one but Specter can beat Toomey, and I don't think that's the case.



The 30% Solution
Arlen Specter makes a great philosophical decision, and Senate Republicans embrace irrelevance.
By JAMES TARANTO

Arlen Specter has represented Pennsylvania in the Senate since 1981, but he was born in Wichita, Kan., and grew up in Russell, a town that, despite its puny population--less than 5,000 in the last census--has produced two major American politicians. Bob Dole, like Specter a graduate of Russell High School, represented Kansas in the upper chamber from 1969 through 1996 after four terms in the House. He was also the Republican nominee for vice president in 1976 and president in 1996.
In 1988, when Dole was making his second unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination, the New York Times recounted this famous anecdote about how Dole, a disabled World War II veteran, was persuaded to seek a career in politics:
Mr. Dole drew laughs the next night when he recalled that the Democratic leader in his hometown, Russell, Kan., had once urged him to run for county attorney. "He said to me, 'You got shot, and I think we can get you elected,' " Mr. Dole recalled. The local Republican leader also made a pitch for the young war veteran, saying Republicans outnumbered Democrats 2 to 1 in Russell.
"So I made a great philosophical decision," said Mr. Dole. "I became a Republican."
We were reminded of this by a statement Specter issued today:
I have been a Republican since 1966. . . . 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. . . .
I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.
Although Specter's description of his party switch as a high-minded matter of "political philosophy" is laughable, he can reasonably claim that the Republican Party left him first. Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner reports:
Last Thursday night on the Senate floor, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, then still a Republican, that DeMint would be supporting Specter's rival, former Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in next year's Senate Republican primary. DeMint says Specter "pretty much cut me off and said, 'I've heard enough.' "
DeMint wouldn't speculate whether this conversation spurred Specter to switch parties, but the conversation came within hours of the release of a poll showing Toomey leading Specter among primary voters 51 percent to 30 percent. "We knew Pat was going to win the primary," DeMint said in a Capitol Hill interview Tuesday, minutes after Specter announced his move. "This [party switch] shouldn't surprise anyone. It was a clever political move."
And indeed it is a smart bit of strategy--unlike Sen. Jim Jeffords's switch eight years ago, which we presciently criticized on strategic grounds at the time. Specter is now part of a 59-member majority (60-member if, as expected, Al Franken eventually becomes the junior senator from Minnesota) rather than a 41-member minority. Assuming he is re-elected, he is almost certain to remain part of the majority in 2011. Democrats will be defending only 17 seats (not counting Specter's), and at least half a dozen Republican seats seem likely to be vulnerable. Even if 2010 turns out to be a big year for the GOP, the likelihood of an 11-seat net gain is vanishingly small.
Specter's switch also greatly enhances his own re-election changes. Whereas he seemed certain to lose to Toomey in the Republican primary, he must be reckoned the strong favorite if the two are matched up in the general election. Party-switchers have occasionally been done in by their new party's primary (cf ex-Reps. Michael Forbes of New York and Greg Laughlin of Texas). In this case, however, one expects the Democratic establishment will step in to crush any challenge.
Just 12 days ago, in an interview with Josh Drobnyk of Allentown's Morning Call, Specter was denying any intention of making the jump:
Some Democrats have approached you to switch, why not take them up on it?
How do you know that as a fact just because Rendell and Biden said that publicly?
Sure, why not take the path of the least resistance.
Because I am a Republican.
Whether Specter's party loyalty was honest or a pretense, it was not reciprocated, as Carney's report makes clear:
DeMint said Specter's switch "shows that there were not principles attaching Arlen to the Republican Party, but the Republican Party was the means to get elected."
DeMint continued: "I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don't have a set of beliefs."
Such an attitude is justifiable only if you think of the Senate as a mere debating society. In the real world of politics, a small but principled minority can get things done only by forming coalitions with other factions on the basis of common interests or partial agreements of principle. In a two-party system, the most expedient way of accomplishing this is within a party. If America were a multiparty parliamentary system, a party with a 30% minority could be hugely influential. In a two-party system, it is sure to be marginal.
The political logic of Specter's party switch is so compelling that his move might have been inevitable. But the GOP would have been far better off had it persuaded him to remain in the fold. Even Toomey would have a better chance of beating an unknown Democrat than Specter next November. Republicans can boast that they have kept their principles. That and 41 votes will buy them a filibuster.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 03:57 pm
Quote:
Centrist GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) said the news should serve as a “wake-up call” to the party and added she has no intention of leaving the party herself.

Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Specter this winter in crossing the aisle to support the economic stimulus bill.

“The blunt reality is that we're losing another key moderate who has played a key role in the Republican Party ... If the Republican Party fully intends to become a majority party in the future, they will clearly have to move from the right toward the middle,” Snowe said. “That was certainly indicative in the last election, and it's certainly indicative in the polls that are being released. The leadership here understands that.

“I haven't abandoned those principles that have been the essence of the Republican Party. I think the Republican Party has abandoned those principles,” Snowe added.


http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/dems-gleeful-gop-stunned-over-specter-2009-04-28.html
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 04:12 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
These same people loved it when Lieberman left the Democratic party for the same reason.


And the same people who think this is no big deal, wanted to tar and feather Lieberman. So what?

In any case, Lieberman didn't switch parties and he still caucuses with the Democrats. He also didn't lie about why he ran as an Independent. Lieberman and Specter are not in the same category.

Richard Shelby is the better analogy. Although he was always more of a conservative than Specter has been a liberal, voted more with Republicans than even Specter has voted with Democrats, and didn't need to switch parties to be re-elected, the move clearly was opportunistic and enhanced his personal poltical power.

If the Republican Party won't support Specter, he owes it no loyalty.

I don't think he's a traitor, I just think he's a pompous, lying weasel.

He's always fancied himself a "Lion of The Senate," and he truly is one of it's most bombastic beasts; he's just had the species wrong.




0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 04:14 pm
@joefromchicago,
I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later, but I thought it wouldn't be until you had a few more years in which to mature. Smile
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 04:15 pm
You say chuckle; I say chortle. In the end, all the indignation is politically motivated.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 04:55 pm
@edgarblythe,
If you say so ed
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 05:09 pm
@ebrown p,
I don't want Snow or Collins to leave the GOP unless they can be replaced.

Conservative Democrats or Moderate Republicans, they're both preferable to Liberals.

But I doubt the GOP is going to follow the advice of the two ladies from Maine and it damned sure couldn't care less about the political warnings of ebrown or BBB.

The pendulum swings back and forth. Unless some extreme ideologue in the White House scuttles our democratic system, it will eventually swing back to the right.

My bet is that like all of our other dependable cycles, the cycle time will shorten.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 05:34 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
You might want to check out various polling on issues with the under-30 crowd before predicting a swing to the right anytime soon; on many issues, Dem positions enjoy 20- and 30- point majorities, especially social issues.

If the Republican party can throw away all the useless Social conservatism and focus on their Fiscal aspects, then maybe they can claw back soon. If they focus on the social aspects, they are doomed in the short term.

Cycloptichorn
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 05:35 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:
"Moderate" is good


I agree if the "moderate" is a Democrat. Well, maybe not "good," but certainly "better" than a liberal Democrat who adheres to his or her world view and heartfelt beliefs.

When there is a Democratic congress, I totally agree that "moderate" is good. Of course there are no more "moderate" Democrats (proportionally) than there are "moderate" Republicans.

Political moderation is a good thing in the same sense that political gridlock is: it keep politicians under restraint.

It is quite ironic though to hear people who, politically, veer dramatically from a center point of equilibrium tell us moderation is good.

What they really mean is that moderation in the opposition is good.

Hey, I agree because moderates have no firm principles that can't be compromised. I always want to negotiate with someone who considers compromise more important than winning.

If you like the policies of the current administration then please don't try to tell us you favor moderation.

Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 05:53 pm
The only reason Specter switched to the Democratic party rather than become an Independent is for the campaign financial support he's probably been promised by the Democratic party to fill the void vacated by right-wing Republican support. He truly is more of an Independent than a follower of the party line of either party, but that isn't where the money is.

There is just as much for the Democrats to read in the tea leaves resulting from this move as for the Republicans. If Specter thinks he has a better chance of winning re-election as a Democrat than as a Republican, it signals to me that, at least in the state of Pennsylvania (and probably the rest of the country), the political winds aren't ready to swing any deeper toward the left wing of the spectrum. Democrats need to not get carried away with the perceived freedom the 60th vote gives them; or they'll risk a repeated mid-term loss of power as voters re-establish the checks and balances in the legislature.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 06:45 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:

The pendulum swings back and forth. Unless some extreme ideologue in the White House scuttles our democratic system, it will eventually swing back to the right.

My bet is that like all of our other dependable cycles, the cycle time will shorten.


The pendulum thing is a myth.

One hundred and fifty years ago, conservatives were fighting to keep the institution of slavery. One hundred years ago conservatives were trying to keep women and blacks from voting. Fifty years ago conservatives were fighting to keep segregation. Now there are permanent social and legal changes on abortion rights, rights for homosexuals (i.e. abolishing antisodomy laws), and science education.

History doesn't cycle... it marches on. The pendulum doesn't swing backwards very often.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 07:21 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
If you like the policies of the current administration then please don't try to tell us you favor moderation.


It seems to me that the term "moderate" depends on the society. If we get more liberal as a society, then the definition of "moderate" will also get more liberal.

If more than 60% of Americans approve of Obama's policies-- doesn't that, by definition, make them moderate (it used to be that moderates wouldn't think of letting women vote).

((I wish Obama would be more liberal on several issues.... but I am far less moderate than he))
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 09:43 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner reports:
Last Thursday night on the Senate floor, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, then still a Republican, that DeMint would be supporting Specter's rival, former Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in next year's Senate Republican primary. DeMint says Specter "pretty much cut me off and said, 'I've heard enough.' " DeMint wouldn't speculate whether this conversation spurred Specter to switch parties, but the conversation came within hours of the release of a poll showing Toomey leading Specter among primary voters 51 percent to 30 percent. "We knew Pat was going to win the primary," DeMint said in a Capitol Hill interview Tuesday, minutes after Specter announced his move. "This [party switch] shouldn't surprise anyone. It was a clever political move."

That says all anyone needs to know about Mr. Specter. If the poor kid can't bat with the team he is on, so he will go to the other team just so he can bat.

Specter, go home, you've had your turn and you struck out. Get over it.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 09:50 pm
If Al Franken prevails in his ongoing court case in Minnesota and Mr. Specter begins caucusing with Democrats, Democrats would have 60 votes and the ability to deny Republicans the chance to stall legislation. Mr. Specter was one of only three Republicans to support President Obama’s economic recovery legislation.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 10:12 pm
@okie,
Quote:
That says all anyone needs to know about Mr. Specter. If the poor kid can't bat with the team he is on, so he will go to the other team just so he can bat.

Specter, go home, you've had your turn and you struck out. Get over it.


Left unexplained is why the other team took him. One can only hope that the plan is to get a few votes out of him in the next year that they otherwise would not have gotten, and then replace him next election.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 10:24 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
If Al Franken prevails in his ongoing court case in Minnesota and Mr. Specter begins caucusing with Democrats, Democrats would have 60 votes and the ability to deny Republicans the chance to stall legislation. Mr. Specter was one of only three Republicans to support President Obama’s economic recovery legislation.


if that should come to pass Specter will hold the DEM's up for each of his votes, he has already indicated that he intends to play hardball. He will want bacon for his state, and he will demand that he not be seriously challanged for the DEM nomination. That is a lot to pay when the dems could have replaced him with a real democrat in 2010. The GOP is a basket case, there was no need to do this deal, to act like they are in a jam thus need the help of a turncoat. After 2010 the DEM's will have a free hand till at least 2012. ALSO, letting the GOP be a roadblock to reform now helps the DEM's in 2010.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 10:27 pm
@hawkeye10,
I think the answer is pretty simple as to why they take him. It improves their numbers in the Senate, to make their legislative push almost unopposed, and if he now calls himself a Democrat, if he thinks his arm has been twisted before, just wait until his new party twists his arm on every bill to toe the line. Time is of the essence to the Obama administration, so they intend to try to push through alot before the honeymoon period is over, and Specter could help them immensely if he cooperates. And if he wants their support in the next election, he will probably cooperate big time. It is readily apparent he values being in office far more than any principle he holds dear, at least that seems apparent to me, and so he should be easily controlled by Harry and Company.
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 10:34 pm
@edgarblythe,



That's some scary **** right there...
0 Replies
 
 

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