Senator Specter's career as a Democratic Senator got off to a rocky start. First, he voted against the first two Democratic initiatives that were put in front of him. Then, he pronounced he was rooting for Norm Coleman to win in Minnesota though later he backtracked, likely when he realized what party he is a part of now. Then, Democrats began to announce that they weren't necessarily going to get out of the Pennsylvania primary just because Specter switched. The most recent hit is the announcement that he will not get committee seniority but rather he will be treated as a rookie.
All of this rings of poetic justice as well as irony. It appears that at least Joe Sestak will challenge Specter in the primaries. Already the netroots are against Specter. The unions are lukewarm at best. This has all happened in less than a week of him being a Democrat. So, what does it all mean? It means that the best case scenario is the Specter will win a brusing primary. At worst, he will lose in the primaries. As such, he is essentially facing the exact same options as he did as a Republican, only then he had seniority.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are in at least as good a position to win in Pennsylvania as they were with Specter. Tom Ridge is ready to put his hat in the ring. He of course would have never run if Specter was still a Republican. In effect, after all the wheeling and dealing, the Republicans are in roughly just as good a position to keep the Senate in Pennsylvania as they were when Specter was a Republican.
Meanwhile, the Democrats still don't have a filibuster proof majority. That won't happen until Minnesota is resolved. The time frame on that is still up in the air. Even assuming they do, it's unclear just how solid that majority will be. Specter is proving to be nearly as unreliable as a Democrat as he was a Republican. Meanwhile, the Republicans have just become that much more cohesive. Most votes still come down to Bayh, Nelson, Specter, Collins, Snowe, and Landrieu, only now there is one more Democrat in that field. The unions appear to be demanding a vote on card check for their support of Specter, but even that still remains unclear.
So, it is all rather ironic and full of poetic justice. Arlen Specter switched parties. Yet, everything continues to be just as muddled. Furthermore, given that his switch was entirely opportunistic, it is nothing short of poetic justice that ultimately the only thing we know for sure is that the switch cost him seniority.
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