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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter to Switch Parties

This is being reported everywhere and Ben Smith has the full statement from Soecter's office. The important thing to run through now is the math. Currently, there are 56 Democrats in the Senate. Both Socialist Bernie Sanders and Independent Democrat Joe Liberman caucus with the Democrats. It appears that Stuart Smalley will win in Minnesota. That will bring the number of Senators caucusing with the Democrats to 59. Now, that's just under the magic number of 60. With Specter that number goes up to 60. Still, don't expect any resolution to the race in Minnesota for at least a month, and I suspect that Republican lawyers will now do everything they can to grind it to a halt. Soon enough though, the Democrats will have a filibuster proof majority.

As for Specter, this looks like pure political survival. All the polling put Specter in big trouble in the upcoming Republican primary in Pennsylvania in 2010 to Pat Toomey. Pennsylvania is no Connecticut and so an independent run would have been no easy task either. Specter's goose was likely cooked in the primary when he supported the stimulus. Running as a Democrat likely puts him in the lead. Pennsylvania is solid blue. Toomey's small government low taxes message works in the primary. So, too, does his anti Obama message. It won't work nearly as well in a general election.


Anonymous said...

If Specter thinks he can use the Democratic Party to resurrect his career without giving the Democrats any more votes, than he's as dumb as he is arrogant.

With Toomey now the uncontested leader for the Republican nomination, the Democrats are going to feel like they can win with any candidate they run. And considering how hard they've been campaigning for EFCA in Pennsylvania in the past few months they're not going to choose someone who opposes it. Especially not someone as unlikeable as Specter.

Anonymous said...

This is bad news for te Republicans because if he is re-elected the Democrats will have a filibuster proof 60 members. Clearly he believes he will be re-elected.

A Post-ABC News poll points to the progress Republicans have not made since Obama was sworn in last January.

The approval rating for congressional Republicans has slipped from 38 percent in February to 30 percent today.

Congressional Democrats have seen their support drop too, but still remain 15 points higher than the Republicans.

Bit I think more discouraging for a party trying to pick itself up after two bad elections is the wide gulf in public trust between the president and congressional Republicans.

Sixty percent of the country trusts Obama to make the right decisions for the country's future -- but just 21 percent trust Republicans in Congress.