Benedict Arlen Specter on the Rocks

by Sal on March 26, 2009

in Election 2010,Politics

Benedict Arlen Specter is on the rocks.  In a recent Quinnipiac poll (not the most reliable, mind you, but still).  Specter trails potential challenger Pat Toomey by 14 points, 41-27.  In an effort to save himself, Specter is currently trying to change the primary rules in Pennsylvania to allow Independents to vote for him.  I’ve argued previously that GOP primaries should be closed nation-wide, and this illustrates that point.

Specter has no one to blame for his troubles than himself.  He has no ideology and is basically an unprincipled opportunistic politician.  He has always been tolerated by the right, and barely survived a primary challenge from Toomey in 2004.  The argument at the time was that it was better to support a sometimes-reliable republican vote than an always unreliable Democrat vote, and that Specter was more likely to win a general election than Toomey.  Specter, however, may have overplayed his hand.  By supporting the most massive increase in government spending in a generation with the porkulus, he angered conservatives in a way that has not been seen in a long time.  Conservatives in Pennsylvania who previously held their noses and voted for Specter in ’04 are now far less likely to do so.  It will be very tough for Specter to prevail next year.

Even if we end up losing the seat, how much is Specter actually doing for our cause these days?  Pat Toomey may even prevail, given the likely mood of the country in two years and the tendency towards the party out of power in the off-years.  Either way, Arlen Specter no longer being a Senator will be a good thing.

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