For Arlen Specter, What Goes Around Comes Around

by Sal on May 7, 2009

in Election 2010,Politics

A week ago, Pennsylvania Senator Benedict Arlen Specter made a completely opportunistic party switch from the GOP to the Democrats.  He did so because his vote on the stimulus had put him behind in the polls against primary challenger Pat Toomey, and he felt that he could more easily win reelection as a Democrat.  So Benedict Arlen cut a deal with Harry Reid, who promised Specter that he would retain his seniority on all committees, and that he would not face a primary challenge in 2010.  As of today, both of those promises have gone up in smoke.

Yesterday, the Democrat caucus voted to strip Specter had of his seniority.  As of today, Specter now has the lowest-ranking seniority as if he had just been appointed to the Senate.  Only Al Franken, if seated, will have a lower seniority than Specter.  Seniority is a key component of the rational for electing an incumbent, and that argument just went out the window.  Sure, the Democrats promise to revisit the issue in 2011, after the mid-term elections, but one highly doubts that they will give Specter seniority over Sens. Feinstein, Leahey, and others.

On the primary side, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) has made it known that he is considering a run.  Sestak is a great fund raiser and has the backing of the nutroots, making Specter’s structural campaign in a Democrat primary more difficult, and .  There may be a lot of suspicion about Specter’s opportunistic move that Benedict Arlen didn’t consider and now that he no longer can use seniority as a campaign argument, all bets are off despite what any of the polls say.  There may be a real primary fight here, a fight in which Specter will likely not have the backing of the unions, a critical Democrat constituency in Pennsylvania.

Some are looking at the treachery of the Democrats in the deal struck between Benedict Arlen and Harry Reid and urging Sen. Specter to return to the GOP caucus.  I could not disagree more.  Specter is an opportunistic traitor who does not stand for Conservative principles.  What he is learning is that the Democrat party is less tolerant of so-called “Moderates” (I call “unprincipled politicians”).  What goes around, comes around, and Benedict Arlen is getting just what he deserves.

Update: It looks like Harry Reid is feeling a bit guilty and offered Specter a sub-committee chairmanship.  Unfortunately, he forgot to check with Pat Leahey, who may have a thing or two to say about that.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Russell May 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Did Specter really think he could trust the Demos–if so, he is a bigger fool that I thought. I hope he remains a junior senator and has an opponent in the democratic primary. His opponent will win and Specter will become a footnote, if even that, in history.

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Harrison May 8, 2009 at 3:13 am

I can think of no more deserrving person!

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