Insight. Antics.

Blue 60, Red 40?

In Politics on April 28, 2009 at 1:53 pm

specter-party-switch-ny-times

Happy 100 days to Obama: Arlen Specter is switching sides of the aisle, affiliating himself with the Democratic party.  “I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” he explained.  Note the reporter in the khaki suit above is beaming with partisan joy.

Now this looks like a bold move at first, but it’s very pragmatic.  What’s amazing about this is not simply that the Democrats may reach 60 votes in the Senate, in a way they did not anticipate.  It’s that Specter must have seen overwhelming polling data persuading him that he could not win re-election unless he changed parties.  The GOP brand is in such dire disarray that he had to do this to be viable.  If a 29-year Senate veteran of your party thinks you have moved to0 far to the right, you might just be a “Red”-neck…

Diehard filibuster fans are mourning even though Specter suggests he will not be a rubber stamp.  He is rather independent-minded, so we’ll see.

So, if The O’Franken Factor can get Norm Coleman to pipe down then maybe we can have 100 senators again.

How will this affect Coleman’s thinking?  Franken’s triumph is virtually inevitable at this point, but will this redouble Coleman’s efforts and resolve to fight on?  There may be political expediency for him in being the last bastion of Republican fire left in the party: even though he will lose, he has made a statement, can wear it as a badge of honor, and has gained national attention.  That kind of thing helps if you run again.  The problem is that most Minnesotans want him to throw in the towel.

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