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60-seat majority for the Democrats?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Longtime GOP Sen. Arlen Specter becomes Democrat

Quote:
Veteran Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter told colleagues Tuesday that he switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party, Sen. Harry Reid says.

Sen. Arlen Specter was expected to face a tough primary challenge in 2010.



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\t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t \t \t The Specter party switch would give Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60 seats if Al Franken holds his current lead in the disputed Minnesota Senate race.
"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right," Specter said in a statement posted by his office on PoliticsPA.com.
As a long-time constituent who has also switched parties, the only thing I'm surprised about is that he waited so long.
post #2 of 9
A filibuster proof liberal Congress coupled with an Obama administration, holy cow. This scares me to death. I think this country is doomed. I pray I am wrong.
post #3 of 9
If I'm remembering correctly, the RNC has been threatening to put their support behind his primary challenger. Leaving the Republican party means that he'll be facing the same challenger, but in the general rather than the primaries. And he'll presumably do it with full party support, which he wouldn't have as an Independent.

Truthfully though, just because the letter beside his name has changed, I doubt he'll really change the way he votes very much. Unlike the House, where the Republican members vote 'NO' in lockstep regardless of the issue, there are several moderate members on both sides of the aisle in the Senate. There are several moderate Republicans who vote with the Dems more often than not (Collins/Snowe, for example) and several moderate Dems vote with the Republicans on fiscal issues. So, barring a very few cases when the Senate breaks cleanly along party lines (meaning it's fairly non-controversial, but partisan issue) having 60 Dems won't have a huge impact.
post #4 of 9
All that changed was the letter by his name. His votes won't change, and for the most part they were already in lock-step with the dems anyway. He was one of their ace-in-the-hole votes where they could say they were trying to be "bipartisan". That's going to be the biggest change.
post #5 of 9
His votes won't change? Does that mean he will continue to support a law forbidding such party changes between elections for members of the House or Senate? Or did you even know he proposed and supported such a law after Jeffords' switch?
post #6 of 9
Absolutely, bone-chillingly terrifying.
post #7 of 9
It really isn't going to change anything vote wise in the Senate. He never was really loyal to a party, way back when he became a Republican so he could get elected. He switched back to the Democrats so he could get re-elected this time. I'm hearing some rumors about the possibility of Tom Ridge running for the Republican nomination. If Tom Ridge is the Republican nominee he may be in for a tough re-election fight anyway.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
His votes won't change? Does that mean he will continue to support a law forbidding such party changes between elections for members of the House or Senate? Or did you even know he proposed and supported such a law after Jeffords' switch?
Of course he'll change his votes when they're 'inconvenient.' He's probably done similar things a hundred times while he was a Republican. But he's not going to all of the sudden start chanting "tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend!" just because the letter by his name has changed. When he was a Republican, Harry Reid would come to him and say, "I need your vote - you're number 60." We would then hold out his hand and say, "What's in it for me?" That's not going to change. This switch is all about Arlen Specter taking care of himself and having a better shot at re-election. It's a big PR disaster for the Republican party, but it's not really that big of a big win for the Dems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmeraldSongbird View Post
Absolutely, bone-chillingly terrifying.
I've heard it suggested that Harry Reid should be the one who should be terrified. If he can't get legislation passed with a 60-40 majority, he'll look even more incompetent than he already does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denice View Post
It really isn't going to change anything vote wise in the Senate. He never was really loyal to a party, way back when he became a Republican so he could get elected. He switched back to the Democrats so he could get re-elected this time. I'm hearing some rumors about the possibility of Tom Ridge running for the Republican nomination. If Tom Ridge is the Republican nominee he may be in for a tough re-election fight anyway.
He's going to have a tough fight in the election regardless. The difference is that, as a Republican, even if he won the primary and got re-nominated, he stood a good chance of being defeated by any decent democratic opponent in the general, and he would have depleted a good portion of his war chest, so his opponent would probably be able to outspend him. Part of the 30 pieces of silver he got for switching is a guarantee that the DNC won't finance a challenger against him in the primaries, so he'll be able to spend all of his money in the fight against the Republican challenger. It would actually tickle me if a Democrat challenged him in the primaries anyway and managed to defeat him, but that's probably unlikely unless it's someone with some serious state-wide name recognition.
post #9 of 9
Another good example of why there should be term limits for Congress. One term for the Senate, two for the House. This is nothing more than an attempt to pander more votes for himself. This has nothing to do with the wallowing Republican party, he's doing what every politician does best- looking out for number one.
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