Holy Filibuster, Batman! Sen. Specter Becomes A Democrat

( – promoted by ek hornbeck)

In a move the Dog thought would never happen, Sen. Arlen Specter announced today that he will join the Democratic Party!

There had been lots of talk about this as Sen. Specter faced a very tough Primary challenge from the Club for Growth member Pat Toomey. This combined with the fact the Republican Party is shrinking and getting more not less conservative (more on that shortly) made it a good bet the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania would switch.

His last ditch effort to woo Republicans to rally to him by opposing EFCA turned to dust because Sen. Specter was willing to vote for the stimulus bill, if we cut somethings we kind of needed (Swine Flu anyone?)

Today Chris Cilliza of Washington Post is confirming Specter will change sides. When, not if, we seat Senator Franken that is the ball game boys and girls, we will have 60 votes in the Senate!

Sen Specter said the following:

“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.”

That sound about right to the Dog. What do you think?  


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  1. is going to become one of us DFH’s but this is huge blow to the Republicans strategy on Federal Judges!  

  2. From the Wall Street Journal Blogs

    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.

    I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

    I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

    I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

    I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

    While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

    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.

    Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

    • Edger on April 28, 2009 at 18:47

    Are you sure this isn’t actually the Democratic Party all becoming republicans? 😉

  3. …but now he is Dem weasel, so kinda better I guess. Anyway, I was debating whether to go down to the bar for happy hour brew this evening and this is all the excuse I need. Cheers.

  4. Will this help or hinder progressive agendas. Then again we have the likes of Harry Reid or Even Bayh, who are often as much of a disappointment as Arlen Specter. Party is irrelevant when it comes down to Blue Dogs who seem to be ‘moderate’ Republicans. They just clog up any progress, and give the rest of the Democrats an excuse to weasel using political fictions.          

  5. When Franken is seated, they won’t be able to sit on their asses and blame a Republican filibuster or obstructionism for getting a Democratic agenda passed.

  6. I think someone really, REALLY didn’t like that pseudo Air Force 1 “photo op” flyover of NYC yesterday which supposedly took place without proper notification of Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama, and the general public.

    Really, REALLY didn’t like it.

    • robodd on April 28, 2009 at 21:06

    More like Lieberman Party of Two.

    • geomoo on April 28, 2009 at 21:21

    When Jeffords switched it was because of principle.  This switch is pure politics.  Leaving aside an analysis of what this means short-term for the Dems, especially our judge nominations as pointed out be the Dog, this actually is a thwarting of the Democratic process.  It is a blatant demonstration that the goal of most politicians is to keep powerful people in power.

    The Democratic process would be for Specter to pay the just price for supporting a party for whom he has cast many unconscionable votes.  The natural process would be for the will of the people to be expressed by voting in a real Democrat who ran a campaign reflective of the changed understanding and desires of the people.  Instead, they’ll be offered a warmed-over Arlen, who is saying he hasn’t changed his principles one iota but he suddenly feels he’s a Democrat.  Cynical.

  7. Remember that Specter is still an unapologetic right-winger who stands opposed to virtually everything the left stands for.  Joe LIEberman will not allow Democrats to break filibusters as he will undoubtedly continue threatening to caucus with the GOP, and Harry Reid will continue bending over backwards to accommodate the minority party.  Even though Al Franken is likely to be seated, it’ll be months before the Republicans give up their attempt to steal another election through the federal courts – which are now stacked to the gills with right-wing judges.

    Still, it is interesting to see the dynamic at play here.  Specter does recognize just how far to the political right Republicans have gone.  He also recognizes that the party’s rigid disciplinary tactics – running fierce primaries from the hard right against recalcitrant politicians if they fail to tow the line 110% of the time – mean he would’ve stood a great chance of losing his cushy job.  See, while the GOP doles out plenty of rewards for loyalty to party leaders in the form of sweet lobbying positions or corporate officer positions, those who displease end up with nothing.  That’s why Rick Santorum is running a profitable hard right think tank and Lincoln Chaffee was relegated to a temporary teaching job at some obscure university.

    Obviously, Specter calculated that by joining the Democrats (who’ve become so right-wing in recent years they’re all but indistinguishable from Republicans on matters of policy) he would be in a better position to hold onto the Senate seat he now occupies.  He’ll probably have full party backing unless the Dems think they can field someone stronger, whereas if he’d gone the independent route he’d have no backing from anyone with sufficient money.

    But look at the pattern here.  Run far to the political right, and you’re rewarded no matter what.  Dare run even one iota more to the left than is deemed acceptable, deviate even slightly from the right-wing’s dictates, and your career is forever relegated to non-entity status if not ended altogether.  Just look at the vicious primary runs Dennis Kucinich had to endure when he ran for president in 2004 and 2008.  The right-wingers didn’t like him bringing up the poor, and were outraged over his attempts to bring attention to issues such as impeachment and single-payer insurance.  So he had to go through tough primaries just to hold on to the 10th Congressional District seat in Ohio.  Cynthia McKinney saw her political career derailed when she dared to bring up impeachment.  And just this week, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were arrested for civil disobedience for protesting against the expulsion of humanitarian aid workers from Sudan (Open Left).

    The biggest weapon the far right has is its iron discipline, which ensures that members of both major political parties adopt hard right positions on the issues if they know what’s good for them.  Why we on the left aren’t using a similar strategy is beyond me.

  8. by any other name is still a headupisassian.

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