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A POLITICICAL WEREWEASEL - ARLEN SPECTER

 
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 08:48 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:
But even if he did "switch teams"... that would not be an excuse to violate the Constitution


No evidence has been presented that such a program would violate the Constitution.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 09:19 pm
@hawkeye10,
Have you read the consitution Hawkeye? They are clearly given a 6 year term-- and there is no requirements of party affilation.

Article 1Section 3 wrote:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any state, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.


This was changed by the 17th Amendment which called for a direct election by the people. Still a 6 year term. Still no mention of any requirement regarding party affiliation.

Quote:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 09:37 pm
@ebrown p,
Hawkeye has a point. While the 17th amendment was ratified in 1913, the US Constitution preceded political parties, and Senators were not expected to be elected for any trait but his personal appeal to the pool of voters.

Now, I would think it is self-evident that today, most Senators are elected for representing a political party, and not personal qualities. So, if a Senator switches parties, I too think he should resign and stand for election within 60 days.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 10:10 pm
@mysteryman,
He was a Dem in his youth. When he first came on the stage as DA of Philly, he was already a GOP.
The conservative GOPers have inherited all the spirit of the historical Conservatives when they used to reside in the Democratic party primarily. SO things have gone half circle and Im happy that the GOP party "moved away" from SPecter. To deny that is mere revisionism. The GOP is fast becoming marginalized by their chosen definition.


AM I the only one on this thread who can vote for Arlen? I feel all the love and I want to show him how we agree that hes doing a good job for PA.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 04:18 am
@kuvasz,
First of all, the Constitution is still the law of the land. If you want to add political parties into the Constitution, you would need a constitutional amendment-- unless you think you can get two thirds of the Senate to vote Specter out (the only Constitutional way to kick out a Senator). Somehow I don't think this is going to happen.

Second... I strongly disagree that political parties should be written into the Constitution (and I am as partisan as anyone). Parties are part of the way we elect our representatives... but a Senator still represents all of their constituents, not just those of one party. Quite often, especially outside of the Southeast (for example PA or Maine) the winning candidates get votes across party lines.

As Farmerman keeps patiently pointing out, as Specters constituent, he is the only one here with any right to complain. But, he is not complaining.

I was very upset by Lieberman's trickery. Yet I never suggested that the Constitution should be adulterated because of it.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 08:45 am
I'm not sure why Democrats think this is such a great thing. Adding Specter is like adding another Ben Nelson -- why would anyone want that? There's no guarantee that Specter will provide the 60th vote to break a Republican fillibuster, and on EFCA he has pretty much promised that he won't.

The best result for the Democrats would have been for Specter to lose in the GOP primary and then a true progressive Democratic nominee to win in the general election. Now the Democrats will have a thoroughly unreliable and, at times, unhinged octogenarian crypto-Republican occupying a seat that could have easily been won by a reliable voice for liberal positions. Far better for the Democrats to watch the Keystone State's GOP engage in deadly fratricidal warfare and then pick up the pieces afterward. Frankly, if I were Harry Reid, I wouldn't have taken Specter's calls.
H2O MAN
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 08:53 am

2001 Rule to Prevent Party Switching


PrezBO was elected a Democrat and has decided he can better serve his personal goals by switching to the Socialist party.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 09:11 am
@H2O MAN,
LOL... it appears that Specter is a hypocrite. He was wrong back then, and he has still done nothing legally wrong.

Hypocrisy is not grounds for dismissal (or who would still be in congress?)

H2O MAN
 
  0  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 09:16 am
@ebrown p,


Nothing illegal yet, but Specter is defiantly the poster boy for hypocrisy.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 09:17 am
@joefromchicago,
Specter's defection is a big deal in the next year-- mainly because his concern is no longer trying to prove he is a Republican. His main challenge now will be winning the Democratic primary (which may even now be difficult) meaning that he is going to have to win the votes of moderate Democrats.

The best political move for him would have been for him to back EFCA meaning he would have sewn up support from labor. It is too late now for him to go back on this.

But think of the bills that will come down the pike where Specters vote will be key in breaking filibusters... health care, immigration, stimulus, judges. In a 60-40 senate (and yes, Franken will be seated in May) it is very cool that this key vote is no longer trying to prove how Republican he is, and is instead trying to reach out to his new party.

As far as the ability to break filibusters and pass legislation in the coming year... this is quite a big deal.

H2O MAN
 
  0  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 09:40 am
@ebrown p,


I don't believe for a second that Specter is reaching out to his new party, I think he is doing whatever
it takes to keep his government job because he knows he would not do well in the private sector.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 10:30 am
@ebrown p,
brownie said...
Quote:
I strongly disagree that political parties should be written into the Constitution


what in the world are you talking about? neither hawkeye nor i mentioned political parties being introduced to the constitution, in fact the founding fathers warned against political parties and the intrigues inherent in them.

what remains is that we no longer look at the candidate as the founders expected, i.e., for personal qualities, and have moved to looking at candidates in "loco parentis" of their political parties. once it is understood that is the reality, logic would assume that switching parties would demand a new election.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 11:45 am
@kuvasz,
Quote:

Now, I would think it is self-evident that today, most Senators are elected for representing a political party, and not personal qualities. So, if a Senator switches parties, I too think he should resign and stand for election within 60 days.


K. The Constitution gives Senators a 6 year term (unless they are kicked out by a 2/3s vote in congress).

How would you get Senators to resign and stand for election within 60 days without changing the Constitution? How would you make a party switch grounds for resignation without inserting parties into the law?

I don't get what you are proposing (if it isn't a Constitutional change).
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 01:29 pm
@ebrown p,
Brownie, mentioning an issue of fairness and allegience to intent is not the same as insisting on it and passing laws to support it.

Even in answering Hawkeye's remarks, you insisted upon moving the discussion to process instead of where Hawkeye placed it, intent. While I applaud your attempt to fight on a battlefield more sympathetic to your own philosophical chosing, you ignored the reason for Hawkeye's complaint.

I simply agree with his complaint.

If a Senator who would change parties would resign to stand for re-election he would likely win, if one believe's that the electorate voted for the candidate and not the party, and if he did not, that would show to me what I stated earlier, the candidate was really elected in loco parenti of a political party.

btw: You don't have to pass a law for candidates to sign a pledge to resign and run for re-election if the candidate changed parties. It might not have the force of law but popular opinion has power in a representative democracy.
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 01:35 pm
@joefromchicago,
It's difficult to ferret out the range of motives and rationales here re the open arms, roses and chocolate boxes for Arlen. And it does seem that in the short term, a 'solid' Dem might have been preferable. Either Rendell, Reid and others saw benefits we can't see or buddyhood won out.

But in either case, I'm pleased with this event. The main point of discussion which has fallen out from Specter's move has been as regards the "too far right" position of the modern party. That seems to me not merely historically correct but politically advantageous at this point in time. For the same reasons that Carville and Begala set to the task of painting Limbaugh as the heart or directorial head of the party, this move and discussion puts attention on the extremity of the present party. And that's a very good thing.

As you likely know, Joe, three polls have just come out which put Republican self-identification at 20 % or a point or two higher. Given the hold on primary nominations by the more extreme components of the party (not to mention the hold on media operations by the usual customers) it looks certain to me that the party isn't going to change markedly until another electoral debacle or perhaps two.

Between now and then, barring the weird and unforeseen, what we have seen now in terms of infighting will likely be seriously trumped. What is it going to take to oust Norquist from his levers of power? He ain't going to go easily.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 01:41 pm
@kuvasz,
Fine... If you are not suggesting we "enforce" this rule, then I guess I have no problem with your argument.

As far as the partisan purity pledge you propose, I would be less likely to vote for a candidate who signed it. The whole appeal of Senators like Specter, Collins or Snowe is that they are moderates. They get a fair amount of their votes from moderate Democrats anyway. This pledge would only hurt moderates.

Lots of successful candidates draw votes across partisan lines. I might vote for a Republican Senator (I might vote for Snowe, for example, if I lived in Maine), but I would absolutely not vote for a partisan Republican Senator.

My Senators are Kerry and Kennedy. Making them sign a partisan purity pledge would be meaningless.



H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 02:15 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:


My Senators are Kerry and Kennedy.




I'm sorry for you, I truly am.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 02:33 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
Specter's defection is a big deal in the next year-- mainly because his concern is no longer trying to prove he is a Republican. His main challenge now will be winning the Democratic primary (which may even now be difficult) meaning that he is going to have to win the votes of moderate Democrats.

No doubt. I'm sure the change in party identification is a big deal for Specter. I just wonder why it should be a big deal for Democrats.

ebrown p wrote:
The best political move for him would have been for him to back EFCA meaning he would have sewn up support from labor. It is too late now for him to go back on this.

I agree that it will cost him. I'm not sure, however, that it is too late for him to go back on his pledge to block EFCA. After all, it was only a month ago that he was saying he was not going to leave the Republican Party.

ebrown p wrote:
But think of the bills that will come down the pike where Specters vote will be key in breaking filibusters... health care, immigration, stimulus, judges. In a 60-40 senate (and yes, Franken will be seated in May) it is very cool that this key vote is no longer trying to prove how Republican he is, and is instead trying to reach out to his new party.

As far as the ability to break filibusters and pass legislation in the coming year... this is quite a big deal.

I have seen very little evidence that the Democratic senate caucus under Reid enforces party discipline to any marked degree. Unlike, say, the GOP house caucus under Tom "the Exterminator" DeLay, there are very few penalties for voting contrary to the party line. Exhibit A for that is, of course, Joe Lieberman. Consequently, I foresee Specter voting in the same idiosyncratic way that he did as a Republican, which means sometimes he'll vote with the party, sometimes he won't. I don't know why anyone thinks that just because he's eating lunch on the left side of the cafeteria instead of the right side that he will be a dependable vote for cloture.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 02:41 pm
@blatham,
blatham wrote:

It's difficult to ferret out the range of motives and rationales here re the open arms, roses and chocolate boxes for Arlen. And it does seem that in the short term, a 'solid' Dem might have been preferable. Either Rendell, Reid and others saw benefits we can't see or buddyhood won out.

Well, the one advantage is that there is no presumptive Democratic nominee for Specter's senate seat right now. Choosing Specter, then, avoids an intramural battle between some ambitious Pennsylvania congressmen who, at this point, don't have the background or statewide name recognition to win the general election easily (unlike, for instance, a Bob Casey). Specter, in other words, is the "we could do better, but why risk it?" choice for the PA Democratic Party. If there were someone out there, like Rendell, who could dominate the field of potential candidates and who actually wanted the job, I think the calculation on Specter might have been a lot different.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 02:56 pm
@okie,
okie wrote:
I hope I am not being too unfair to him, I am sure he thinks he holds certain principles dear, but the party switch seems all too transparently political to save his own chance of holding office.

Save his chances from what? Specter is popular in Pennsylvania. The only crowd he's unpopular with is the Republican party of Pennsylvania. Now that he's no longer with that crowd, that threat to his office is gone. What other threat is there that he would need protection against?
 

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