Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter to switch parties

Everybody seems genuinely astounded by the news that Arlen Specter is going to run for re-election as a Democrat. I'm not sure why. Running as a Republican was not going to be an option for him. Just last Friday, a Rasmussen poll found he was headed for certain doom at the hands of his primary challenger, bona fide wingnut Pat Toomey. Twice in his statement today he acknowledged that this was a contributing factor to his decision:

I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. [Emphasis added. Not that you have to examine a 51%-30% poll too carefully.]

and later...

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. ["You didn't appreciate me anyway, you jackals."]

I thank especially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance. ["Sorry you backed the wrong horse, fellas."]

Being a professional politician who doesn't want to retire, Specter was presented a choice of I or D, and the D is very much in style these days. Joe Lieberman wishes he were still a D. And Obama carried Pennsylvania by 10 points.

Meanwhile, his statement makes perfectly clear that he hasn't had a change of heart about any actual issue. He specifies the Employee Free Choice Act as something he's still planning on opposing. This is purely a venue-shopping deal, to ensure that he's still a U.S. Senator, in a position to cast votes one way or the other. So he goes from being a great Republican to a horrendous Democrat... and that's about it.

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