Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sestak In, Specter to Feel the Heat

News broke yesterday afternoon that Joe Sestak would challenge Arlen Specter for the Pennsylvania Democratic primary in 2010. This is interesting for several reasons:
  • I still don't know that much about Sestak, but this move shows that he has serious balls, a trait severely lacking among Senate Democrats. He's essentially running as one term Congressman Joe Sestak vs. 20 Year Senator Arlen Specter, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Ed Rendell and Senator Bob Casey. Aside from anything else, having the guts to get into this race is a pretty amazing achievement.
  • What does this mean for Labor? A pretty interesting rock-paper-scissors dynamic is developing between, Labor, Spector and Sestak. Specter would need labor to win the Democratic primary and the election. Labor won't support Specter unless he votes for something very close to the Employee Free Choice Act. Still stupidly thinking it would win him the Republican primary, Arlen Specter went to the floor of the senate and came out strongly against the Employee Free Choice Act. Two weeks ago, SEIU President Andy Stern met with Joe Sestak. Labor can either pressure Specter to change positions again, or they can risk pissing off Obama by backing Sestak and taking down Specter. It's really anyone's guess how this one sorts itself out.
  • The circus aspects of this race are completely absurd. There is a very real potential that we will see the Democratic President and Vice President of the United States campaigning on behalf of a career Republican against an up and coming Democratic congressman. That sound you just heard is Chris Matthews peeing himself with excitement.
Regardless of how this turns out, Sestak entering the race is a good thing. Specter is an unprincipled hack, and having a credible primary challenger will force him to be a more of a Democrat than he would have been otherwise. It's not an ideal situation, but it's a far better one than if Rendell, Obama and Biden had been successfull at clearing the field. You never want to let a jackass like Arlen Specter off his leash.

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