Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So Arlen Specter Still Wants to be a Senator...

Senator Specter's(PA-Whichever way the wind is blowing) statement from earlier today:
I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

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.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary
My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.
Just like his flip flop on Employee Free Choice a few weeks back, this is about as naked a political calculation as you see. Michael Steele actually had an incredibly awesome statement in response to the switch: (pigs flying, hell freezes over)
"Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not. Let's be honest-Senator Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don't do it first."
Nothing like a Republican pissing match. Steele is dead on about this being solely to further his political interests and to the batshit insane Republican party of Pennsylvania, I bet they actually believe Specter has a left wing voting record. But that's besides the point, because Pat Toomey will prove just how popular a nutjob ideology is come November 2010. Our friends over at Resistnet will be breathlessly awaiting the results!

But other than the joy of watching Republicans shitting on their now former college, (more of that here), I'm not really convinced that this is a great thing. For starters, the whole "if we just get 60 votes" thing is largely a myth, especially when you have some massive douchebags in your caucus, and they've already decided to form their own caucus (Something tells me they just found a new member!!!).

Second, he sucks. He didn't support Obama's budget, he maintains he won't vote cloture on Employee Free Choice, he's currently blocking Dawn Johnsen, a key Justice department nominee, and those are just things that have happened in the past couple weeks. I realize the idea is that he'd have to change some things to win the primary, but if attempting to force an uncontested primary was part of the deal, he has zero motivation to stop sucking.

We need a committed primary challenger to his nomination as quickly as humanly possible. Someone who will not bow to Rendell (and everyone else's) pressure to drop out, and hopefully someone strong enough to possibly earn labor's support. If Specter won't commit to cloture, labor's support would be there for the taking, and you've got to believe they'd be willing to throw the kitchen sink at Specter after his douchery on EFCA. Whether they can beat him or not, we need a credible challenger that at least makes this self righteous asshole nervous about losing. If today's move showed us anything, it's that he's willing to put keeping his job above whatever semblance of principles the David Broaders of the world keep telling me he has.

This situation has the potential to be a positive one for progressives, but only if he's forced to stay in line with his new party on some key votes, and then has to battle for his life in the 2010 primary. If we act giddy that there's a D next to his name and let Arlen be Arlen, we will have enabled a douche bigger and douchier than King Douche himself, and that is a fucking scary thought.

I want to believe we'll do what's right for the party, but looking at the recent douche enabling actions of both the Senate Majority Leader and the President, I'm less than convinced they'll take advantage. Only time will tell where this soap opera goes, but the opportunity for serious progress is there, and it's up to us to make it count.

1 comment:

  1. best line;
    "Second, he sucks"

    Sums it all up