As everyone seems to understand, the fact that Specter now calls himself a Democrat will change the calculus in the Senatea, but only on the margin. People like Specter, Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins hold the balance of power in the Senate, when they choose to exercise it. The fact that Specter now has a (D) next to his name instead of an (R) won't really change that. While Specter has already announced he will not re-flip-flop on EFCA, his quasi-pro-choice votes will hopefully drift a bit to the left, since he will no longer have any pressure from a primary opponent.
Deep thought: does this mean John Cornyn will feel more pressure to light even more money on fire?
This is a pretty big deal. Specter couldn't vote for much of the Obama agenda while facing a Republican primary. Now he is not only free to go back to the center, he will be under some pressure to play ball with his new teamates. I'm sure that he'll still be a pain sometimes, but the incentives for him are quite different now. In particular, he is now free to vote of the health care bill and the global warming bill. Doesn't mean that he will, but now it seems fairly likely instead of fairly unlikely.
Specter is a sack of shit but at least he's Harry Reid's piece of shit now. Or maybe the cliche is that he's inside the tent pissing out ....I assume he got a chairmanship (or some plum) out of this. It is really a non factor for the dems (My Blue Dog count on money issues: Bayh, Lincoln, Pryor, 2 Nelsons, Landrieau, Hagan, Tester, Warner and maybe Baucus, Begich and Conrad (who I actually really like). It's a tough crowd. On foreign policy/civil rights you can substitute Feinstein and Schumer for the 3 maybes and drop Tester.) I think it puts tremendous pressure on the odious Collins and her less evil twin in speech therapy, Snowe. Where it leaves Franken is with an ability to shout "politics" at every opportunity but not much else and even that is gone if he wants to appear "Senatorial."
Here's the real question: can Specter take Pennsylvania? I guess so, but is there any data?
My biggest hope is it'll give him more leeway to vote for cloture on things he might ultimately vote against (afterall, we don't need him to get to 50).
Maybe Specter will become chair of the Homeland Security Committee. He is, after all, a real Democrat.
Post a Comment