Franken and Specter
Arlen Specter switched loyalties today. A move that surprised me only in the fact it proves he’s not completely daft. Some people are reading a lot into this:
How much more can the Republicans take? Demoralized, shrinking and seemingly lacking an agenda beyond the word “no,” Republicans today saw their ranks further thinned with the stunning news that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter is switching parties and will run for reelection in 2010 as a Democrat.
Specter is worried about his own survival — and particularly a primary challenge from the right. Many in the GOP might say good riddance. After supporting President Obama’s stimulus package, Specter was persona non grata in his own party. So it may be easy for some Republicans to conclude that they are better off without people like Arlen Specter.
OK, I’ll say it, the Republican party is better off without Specter. My logic is a little pretzeled, but here goes. With the numbers what they were before his switch, the Republicans had no power, no authority, and realistically no real chance of a successful filibuster with the Republican in name only Specter. But, that option mathematically was there. So, a lot of people could easily argue things that the Republicans had absolutely no ability to control was their fault. Take for instance the swine flu situation. People are actually saying Karl Rove had the ability to kill something Nancy Pelosi and David Obey wanted. Not so now. This is 100% Obama, Pelosi, and Reid’s game. There can be no filibuster in the Senate and realistically little chance of one in the House. The only way it will happen is Democrats for some bizarre reason see fit to filibuster their own legislation. Won’t happen.
Now, the logic for Specter jumping sides is very obvious. During the 2008 election, a lot of Republicans switched parties to vote in the Democrat primary. Most I’m sure never switched back. So, I’m guessing Specter’s thinking is those people who voted for him five times in the past as a Republican in name only and then switched parties would only vote for him if he did likewise. If they switched registrations again in 2010, I’m sure Specter would too.
That filibuster-proof Senate of course is still contingent upon Al Franken getting more Republican votes thrown out of his election than the Republican can toss Democrats. And of course, the ability to maintain that filibuster-proof Senate is contingent upon Roland Burris fighting off his ethics charges and actually winning an election. We also can’t forget Jack Murtha dodging his own ethics issues.
With absolute power comes corruption. Maybe not as obvious as Murtha’s, but corruption nonetheless in that the ruling party feels no obligation to what it was that got them there. The Democrats had absolute power in the late 70′s, it crumbled immediately. The Republicans had absolute power at the onset of the 21st century. It crumbled just as quickly. So, whether it’s 58 or 60 votes, Democrats have absolute power now. Let’s see how long it takes to crumble as well. My guess, pretty dang quick.