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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Specter: man or mouse? The blogosphere moots...

Alex says: It seems that few people, even those who are celebrating the extra step towards the magic 60 Senate seats, have much positive to say about the beloved aisle-hopper. From a quick review of some of my favourite blogs, I’ve assembled a kind of blogospheric conversation on the topic... and the old truism that nobody likes a traitor, not even those who stand to benefit, seems to hold out pretty well.

Certainly, any concerns about Specter himself to one side, no-one short of the true believer is posing this as a good day for the Republicans. ‘Good Riddance’, even in this RINO’s case, can't help but ring false when a party is about to lose its only significant weapon in the senatorial arsenal. As Connecting.the.Dots says, this “is the latest sign of an eight-year process--the shriveling of the Republican Party to a one-size-fits-all collection of conservatives that started in 2001 with Sen. Jim Jeffords leaving and even John McCain flirting with the idea after being splattered by the Rove smear machine in the primaries a year earlier... This politically suicidal process cries out for psychiatric intervention, shrinks to stop the GOP from shrinking itself down to Rush Limbaugh and a few office-holding lookalikes.”

But if this is a bad sign for a rumpish conservative movement – perhaps an inevitable part of the process of political defeat, which only in time will see moderates returning to the fold when the Dems inevitably overstretch themselves? – it’s not produced a wave of enthusiasm for Mr. Specter himself. Freedom Writing voices the widely-held concern of many moderates. He says, ‘I have to wonder if Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele wasn't on to something when he said, "Sen. 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."’

BuckNaked Politics shares similar feelings, noting the ‘muted cheers and tepid jeers’ accompanying the switch. “Obviously this is good news for the Democratic Party, though progressives like me aren't going to be dancing in the streets or anything over the party's acquisition of yet another conservative Democrat if not an actual DINO.” And, from the perspective of damage to divided government, Bipartisan Rules goes even further, firmly concluding that “While Specter will undoubtedly be venerated by the likes of Paul Krugman and Rachel Maddow, this move is clearly nothing more than a last-ditch attempt to save his political career ... At this site, of course, we think that an entirely Republican - or Democratic-controlled government is a recipe for disaster (see: 1992 to 1994 and 2004 to 2006), so we are disappointed by Specter's move.”

Bark Bark Woof Woof valiantly answers for the defence, here. “Mr. Specter's decision is based not only on the fact that Pennsylvania is trending to the Democrats and that he faced a daunting challenger in the Republican primary from former Rep. Pat Toomey who is a hard-right-winger, but that the Republican Party, both in Pennsylvania and nationally, is pushing the moderates out.”

My question is this: does this actually change the way votes will turn out in the Senate? Will the switch actually put a notoriously free-wheeling senator under Democratic party discipline? Would the stimulus package, where Specter helped remove hundreds of millions from the original proposal, have gone through differently if this switch had already happened? And what measures in the future will Specter vote for that, as a Republican, he’d have opposed? As Undiplomatic points out, “Predicting how this guy will shift is about as reliable than predicting next week’s weather.”

Alex Goodall
Papamoka’s European Contributor
From A Swift Blow to the Head


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Blogger Papamoka said...

Switching parties by Specter is like a zebra saying he is now all white and ignoring the fact that he has black stripes. No matter how you look at it, he's still a zebra.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Aisle Hopping ... I call it being bipartisan... actually I am alot like him myself. The GOP didnt want him anywayz...then they whine when he goes.

Thank You

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Infidel753 said...

Specter switched because he couldn't win a primary with the much-shrunken Republican electorate unless he shifted so far to the right that he'd be toast in the general election. This was his only shot at keeping his seat. He moved to where his constituents are. That's democracy.

I don't agree with those Democrats who would denounce him as a DINO just as the Republicans denounced him as a RINO. You win by having the bigger tent; let's not follow the example of the Republicans who are shrinking theirs. In an electorate of 40% white horses, 40% black horses, and 20% zebras, the side that gets the zebras wins.

8:20 AM  
Blogger by Michael Boh said...

Interesting Alex! Still, as I mention in my own post, I think it's better than a kick in the crotch - okay, I didn't say that, but I should have. I will hold my judgement until after he votes for a few of Obama's initiatives. Until then, I'll try to see the glass as half-full. :) Michael

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Reaganite Republican Resistance said...

Everybody knows he did it because he was down 21% in the polls leading-up to the GOP primary for his seat- and Joey Pluggs made a deal with him- he already admitted as-such. The sad truth is that this hack has spent three decades in the Senate, while accomplishing little.

And Barack and him have a lot in common- as unprincipled political opportunists. I'm sure they'll get along just great.

Actually, I would vote for PHIL Spector over Arlen- seems like a more stable and trustworthy individual, lol.

Just a little over a month ago, the Senator said in an interview that he wouldn't switch parties due to the importance of checks and balances.

And back in 2001, Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican, proposed a rule forbidding party switches... her was upset when Vt Sen. Jim Jeffords’ left the GOP to become an independent.

Who knows what the truth is with this guy, you'll never get it from him.

With all due respect, Senator- don't let the door hit your butt on the way out. Nobody on our side's going to miss you.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

We need to face the facts that politicians will do anything to hold on to the comfy jobs they have. It doesn't matter what political party they belong to either, aka Joe Lieberman suddenly an Independent???

Politicians suck! They would sell out their own mother if it was good for them personally.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Infidel753 said...

Papamoka: We need to face the facts that politicians will do anything to hold on to the comfy jobs they have.

Yep. The good point about democracy isn't that it creates virtuous politicians. It's that it harnesses their desire for power to a need to be at least somewhat responsive to the public mood.

RRR: With all due respect, Senator- don't let the door hit your butt on the way out. Nobody on our side's going to miss you.

Quite a few Republicans are voicing this sentiment. I found an insightful translation of it:

"Yay! We’re rat free! We have no more rats! Not a single rat on board...glub! Glub! Glub! sputter! Glub! Glub! gasp! Not one single ra...glub! Glub! GLUB! Gurgle... gurgle.... glub..." [an eerie silence, as the waters close and become still]

Found here.

9:44 PM  

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