What team is Specter on? ( And does it matter any more? )
A lot was made of Arlen Specter’s jumping ship and declaring he was a Democrat. His logic was the Republican Party left him. A lot of people, including myself, figured a deal had been struck between Specter and the Democrat leadership, which at this time would be Obama and Reid. Sure enough, both came out declaring their support for Specter:
“When I talked to Senator Reid he assured me that my seniority would be as if I came in (as a Democrat) in 1980, and I relied . . . on his representation, and that’s the long and short of it,” Specter said in an interview in his Capitol “hideaway” office.
Obama went even further:
President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. welcomed Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to the Democratic fold at the White House on Wednesday morning, praising Mr. Specter warmly and telling him he can count on their support for re-election in 2010.
Specter immediately returned the favor by voting against Obama’s budget, and more curiously, endorsed Norm Coleman over Al Franken. This led to a rather goofy explanation from Harry Reid:
Paybacks were immediate. The Democrats, over the promises of both Harry Reid and Obama to allow Specter to retain is seniority, stripped him of 29 years of seniority and ranking positions on several committees, particularly the Senate Judicial Committee, of which he’ll now be the least senior, and have the last questions for the new Supreme Court Justice nominee.
More importantly, in the long run, all this gave the original Democrat favored primary candidate reason to reconsider his position. He immediately became a lot more active, and enthusiastic, about being a candidate next year. If he’s reading the rather overt signs coming out of DC, he’d probably get the idea that Obama and Reid’s, ergo the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, would be lukewarm at best, if at all. Which is kinda fun since the DSCC still touts Specter on their front page:
According to Specter, the Republicans left him. Now, it seems, the Democrats have as well. I’ll be interested to see how much Obama stumps for the man he praised last week come primary time in Pennsylvania.