* Insert lame "Specter" pun here *

So, I see that there are lots of people questioning the Democratic bona fides of Sen. Arlen Specter (O* - PA).

From Talking Points Memo:
...Specter does seem to have been going out of his way, not just on the optics, which I can sort of understand (since he doesn't want to appear utterly craven), but also to oppose the consensus Democratic position on almost every issue. And in any case, Specter isn't just a Democrat in 2009 and 2010. He's running in the Democratic primary as a first time nominee for senate. And there's a decent argument to be made that the state could elect a substantially more progressive Democrat this year, though Pennsylvania Democrats, even ones that are pretty progressive on some issues, tend to be fairly conservative on others.
From The New Republic:
When Arlen Specter went to the White House the day after he announced he was leaving the Republican Party, the occasion had the feel of a wedding ceremony. President Obama pledged Specter his "full commitment," and Vice President Biden, who rhapsodized about the many hours he'd spent riding Amtrak with the Pennsylvania senator, went even further. "Arlen Specter has been my friend and my confidant and my partner," Biden said. "It's just a delight to have no separation." In a way, the matrimonial overtones were understandable. Specter's joining the Democratic Party is a political marriage. But it is a marriage of convenience--and the Obama administration must be eternally mindful of that fact if it wants its union with Specter to be a happy one.
From Washington Monthly:
Last week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, among others, reported on a Tuesday-morning conversation between Arlen Specter and President Obama. The Pennsylvania senator reportedly told Obama, "I'm a loyal Democrat. I support your agenda." The Wall Street Journal had a report with the identical quote.

Yesterday, however, Specter insisted on "Meet the Press" that he'd never made these comments. "I did not say I would be a loyal Democrat. I did not say that," Specter said, adding, "I did not say I am a loyal Democrat."


[I]t's not at all clear why Specter is denying having said this to the president. He joined the Democratic Party and wants the Democratic Senate nomination in Pennsylvania next year. For Specter to go out of his way to let the public know he doesn't plan to be a "loyal" member of the party seems like a strange strategy.
As I have said before, I don't really believe that Specter's switch has anything to do with any consideration beyond saving his own political hide. While his switch has a whiff of the blatant about it, this hardly makes him unique among politicians. His failure to toe the line with the Employee Free Choice Act doesn't particularly bother me, either, since I'm not 100% sure that what is good for unions is always good for workers. And, regarding his opposition to Dawn Johnsen to head the OLC, I am more confused than upset, since most Republicans are opposed to her because of her work for NARAL and Specter is ostensibly pro-choice. (I'm sure that commenter John will promptly apprise me of the numerous other reasons she should be opposed.) So, in a nutshell, I'm not all that bothered by Specter's votes... yet.

That being said, I am not particularly keen to see the PA Democratic party clear the field for him during next year's primary season. He may not want to be a "loyal" Democrat, but the other members of his new party may want one to represent them. If Specter expects the national and state parties to make way for his nomination, then I suggest he start keeping the interests of the voters who will be deciding on it in mind. A primary fight may be exactly the right reminder of which side his bread is now buttered on.

* Opportunist

1 comment:

  1. Dawn who?

    Regarding Specter, his outrageous comments about Jack Kemp should make Ds blush with shame to have him as a party member. I thought he was pretty much an arrogant pol, but he's determined to prove himself a slimeball as well.

    Please, please, pretty please with turbinado on top, run a decent human being in the Dem primary and send this scum off to pasture.