Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Ghost Of Republicans Past - Specter

A poor pun, but in my own defense I'm a bit flabbergasted, to have to write Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA). I did know that the Toomey challenge to Spector from the right would be a problem in the 2010 Republican Primary, since his victory over him last time was narrow. The swing right by Republicans nationally and particularly in PA in the face of increasing Democratic margins in registration and popularity meant that a Club for Growth winger like Toomey would be a real force to reckon with - in the Primary.

Off year, non-Presidential election, Primaries traditionally have low turn outs and the base becomes more powerful than otherwise. The problem with this is that it moves the candidates from either Party farther away from the ordinary middle, a Toomey could take out an pretty popular incumbent politician. If today's political climate holds in 2010 it is very doubtful a Toomey can win the General putting PA in Democratic hands anyhow.

Specter's Republican politics have become increasingly an uncomfortable fit, the criticism from the right pushed him right in defense of his seat. Pressure from REpublican leadership and legislators now becomes meaningless to him - he's a traitor. The Democrats have now gained a lever over Spector, he will have to stand in a Democratic Primary and without the support of the Party his previous history is not appealing to the Democratic base - in this election base counts heavily for either Party. Today Specter may present himself as opposing "Card Check" but I'm quite sure it will be pointed out to him that his base as a Democrat won't be pleased with that and that if he's not supportive of basic Democratic issues there's little reason for the Party to dissuade Primary challengers. The Democratic base of today is still left of Spector and the general electorate is somewhat left of his current record, that could be problematic for him if he does not show a reflection of that. His statement today on not voting for cloture on "Card Check" can pose real problems with Democrats in PA and in the Senate.

I don't care for Arlen Specter much, but I'm a left Democrat from Oregon and my opinion doesn't translate into a vote. I'm not an automatic supporter because he's now got a (D) after his name, I can easily find a lot of reasons to kick the snot out of him. There is a difference between keeping quiet about a candidate and actively supporting or opposing one, especially nationally. I am a delegate to DPO and Baker County Democratic Chair so within Oregon I have to be careful of not crossing the non-interference rule in OR Democratic Primaries in those capacities. This site is a private affair and you won't get a Party line unless I happen to be happy with it.

I can understand Specter's calculations to make this switch, I'm not sure it will work out for him. I don't think he has a lot of confidence it will work out, either.

No comments: