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Arlen Specter and the Perils of Party Switching



Sen. Arlen Specter is learning that party-switching isn't all it's cracked up to be. (Bloomberg News Photo by Brendan Smialowski)

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's first week as a Democrat hasn't gone as he had planned it.

Not only was he unable to clear out the Democratic primary -- former National Constitution Center head Joe Torsella is staying in -- but the switch may have angered Rep. Joe Sestak (D) enough to convince him to take on Specter next year.

Specter's switch also emboldened former governor Tom Ridge to take a serious look at the race -- he will decide next week -- and several polls released in the last few days suggest Specter would be in for a tough race against Ridge in the fall.

Then last night came the final indignity as Senate Democrats failed to honor his seniority on committees, making him a junior (read: unimportant) member of committees he once ruled and saying that the seniority argument would be revisited after the midterm elections. (Specter had boasted that he would retain his seniority when he announced his switch.)

Specter's plight shows the many dangers of switching parties -- from turning yourself into a sworn enemy of the party you leave to losing almost all your leverage to negotiate with your new party -- and shines a bright light on the mixed electoral record of party switchers in recent memory.

Since 1990, there have been 17 members of the House (11) and Senate (6) who have switched sides. Nearly half of those switches came either during or in the immediate aftermath of the 1994 Republican revolution when seven total members switched from Democrat to GOP before 1995 ended. (Thanks to the crack Post research team for the data.)

While the majority of those switchers went on to win reelection, there were several notable losses mixed in that could serve as an omen for Specter.

Earlier this decade, New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith left the Republican party to run for president as an independent. Once that quixotic race fizzled and Rhode Island Sen. John Chafee (R) died, Smith returned to the GOP to claim the top spot on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The damage was done, however, as then Rep. John Sununu easily beat Smith in primary race in 2002.

Even more troubling for Specter is the case of New York Rep. Michael Forbes who switched from Republican to Democrat in July 1999. Republican campaign strategists, out for blood, ran a series of direct mail efforts to inform voters that Forbes was against abortion rights and had a pro-gun voting record in during his three terms in Congress. Forbes wound up losing the race to an unknown septuagenarian librarian named Regina Seltzer. Seltzer went on to lose the general election.

The problem for party-switching candidates is they run the risk of being a man (or woman) without a country. They are reviled by the party they left and distrusted by their new party. (Witness Sestak's comments on Tuesday questioning Specter's "reliability" and adding: "Will he be with us in 2016?")

And, as the Forbes situation shows, they are forced to answer for their past votes when they were a member of the other party that are -- typically -- badly out of step with the base of their new party.

Senate Republicans are already seeking to put that strategy in motion against Specter -- running automated phone calls to Democrats featuring President George W. Bush praising the former Republican. There's almost certainly more where that came from.

Specter is a savvy politician and still sits in a relatively strong position vis a vis the primary and general election. But, his path to reelection is decidedly more rocky than he could have expected (or certainly wanted) when he made his big splash last week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 6, 2009; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

UPDATE: Dick Durbin is giving one of his subcommittee chairs to Arlen Specter. Interesting ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 7, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Technically, Specter did not say his "hope" was for Coleman to win, and he has retracted what he did say nonetheless.

Posted by: JakeD | May 7, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Mark. Always enjoy your posts (and would love to visit Austin someday). I think the fact that Arlen's switch was pure political calculation endeared him not one speck to his new caucus.

The most interesting action would have been to declare independent and to not stand for re-election. It'd give him a couple of years to finish off in style. As it is, he's been left twisting in the wind.

Oh, and I know it's off topic, but ALLISON? Seriously, ALLISON? WTF????
At least it wasn't Adam.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 6, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Call me crazy, but it may not have helped Sen. Specter's standing in his new party to state his hope that Norm Coleman prevail over Al Franken a/k/a Mr. Sixty.

Posted by: jrosco3 | May 6, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I might feel empathy for Arlen if I knew what he stands for. Did he really believe in Clarence Thomas when he did his best to demolish Anita Hill? Did he really believe in abortion when he voted for it all those times? His record is confusing.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 6, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanx, ddawd.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 6, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

"ddawd - did you take that as tongue in cheek when you read it?"

Yeah, of course. I think anyone who read it in context would have gotten that it was a joke. Just that a lot of people picked it up from blogs.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 6, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

LMAO After all those years in the senate.. Specter should have known that the democrats never - ever keep their word about ..anything.. and will betray their own mothers at the drop of a hat,

Serves him right though

Posted by: Straightline | May 6, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Here's a photograph which shows the actual moment of possible transmission of hoof and mouth disease from Biden to Specter: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2982/355/1600/317-hearing01.jpg or http://tinyurl.com/cbueee .

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 6, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

bb - thanx for the seniority reply.

ddawd - did you take that as tongue in cheek when you read it?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 6, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Just a few days ago, it seemed as though Specter was the cleverest opportunist on earth. To hear him tell it, he was feted by the President, promised no Dem primary opposition by his state's governer, and promised retention of seniority by the senate majority leader - a pretty good deal when all he had done to earn these favors was duck out of a Repub primary battle he appeared destined to lose.

This is what they call a "rapidly developing situation". Clever though he no doubt is, I'll make a prediction: Specter will not be returned to the Senate in 2010.

Good riddance to him. He seems to me to combine the worst aspects of both parties.

And while I'm venting spleen, allow me to nominate PA governor Rendell and US Senate majority leader Reid as two of the most unappealing faces of the national Democratic party.

Oh, and Arlen - that comment in favor of Norm Coleman was not a savvy thing for a politician in your position to say. Perhaps you've caught some sort of virus from Joe Biden, it's probably been incubating since you two were verbose chummy honchos on the Judiciary committee.

I'll bet the Coleman comment ends up being the turning point at which your career began going up in flames.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 6, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Specter still hasn't figured out that in the Democratic party if you piss off the netroots (average voters) your career will be over in a heartbeat. In the Republican party Specter could get away with shooting off his mouth without any repercussions because the Repubs are a top-down organization. In the Republican party, the leadership (Rush etc) passes out the talking and thinking points and the wingnut minions run around with their hair on fire repeating them.

Posted by: DrainYou | May 6, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

sverigegrabb: Rendell looked beyond pleased about Specter's switching parties. I think he sees an encumbent who is very popular in the state, and unless Specter votes with the GOP too often, Rendell will back him over Sestak.

The Tom Ridge thing was brilliant, because he is also popular in the state. But his governorship and his heading DHS were not inspiring. He did a lot of heavy lifting in both jobs, but my impression was he did not like the Federal bureaucracy and he will definately not like the fund raising a Senator does about 300 days a year. -- very different from being governor. I think the two combined will keep him out of running.

Specter has to show that he can be a good Democrat. I know denying him his seniority looks like a slight, but shooting him past a lot of long-serving, hard-working Democrats was not the answer. To the voters, I don't think chairing committees is as important as his accrued knowledge and his ability to bring Federal dollars to PA (all while showing that he can function as a good Democrat -- which will take time).

Specter has to do just one thing wrong, but the GOP has to have several things go right or they will not get that seat back.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 6, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Nemo - I listen to Rush occasionally (he's a hoot) and he never, ever talks about sin.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 6, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse


drindl:
i agree.
rush seems to be wanting war of "the republican way of life is the only life you are going to live".
anything else you engage in is a SIN.

and repulsives want to shove it down our throats.

do you think Cantor and his repulsives will get a warm reception in Iowa and Vermont and now Maine?
what kind of reception are they going to get on the civil union issue,
on the roe vs wade issue,
because you know they are coming with their conservative master plan in tow.

do you think that Cantor and his buddies will ever make it to South Phoenix here (inherently the "bad" part of town)---
heck no.
they will go to the Biltmore and LISTEN to the botox trophy wives and the good ole' boy crooksthat want their Hummers and 87,000 area rugs
at all costs.

remember that....at all costs.
republicans are great at it.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 6, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Spector switched because he knew that he would lose the Republican Primary. Democrats are less than thrilled with him, not only for his long history as a Republican, but his tepid support for the President's agenda.

He is an old man who should have just retired at 80 rather than face re-election in an unfriendly climate. Now Democrats will probably oust him in the primaries, just as Republicans planned. His only hope is to become a fervent Democrat, make President Obama his new BFF, and hope that PA Democrats are convinced in 2010 that this was a political conversion and not an opportunistic switch to save his political hide.

Posted by: AxelDC | May 6, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"The Coleman comment was clearly an attempt at dry humor - go read it in context at the NYT, not at some blog site. It just was not very funny, but in context as an answer to a not very serious question, it was meant to amuse."

Basically, he was saying that Coleman was the Republicans' only chance at having a Jewish Senator (since he left) so the courts should do the right thing and keep the Jew in.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 6, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

waterboy or barrel boy for the dems.

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 6, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Mark - From what I've read, seniority is granted within the party. He gave up his seniority within the Republican caucus when he switched. He'll be the second most junior Democratic senator, assuming Franken is eventually seated.

My take is that the Democrats are playing hardball. Specter's welcome in the caucus--as the water boy.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 6, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"...somebody must pick up homeless lunatics roaming the streets of DC and pay them to post crap this dumb."

Mr. Drindl, as one of the dwindling number of public sector psychiatrists, I have worked with the homeless mentally ill for almost 20 years and your remark is an insult to their intellect and their moral fiber. There is just no way right wing internet trolls are erstwhile roaming lunatics who sold their souls to Republican pimps.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 6, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The Coleman comment was clearly an attempt at dry humor - go read it in context at the NYT, not at some blog site. It just was not very funny, but in context as an answer to a not very serious question, it was meant to amuse.

The news item here is the stripping of seniority for the remainder of the session. I wonder if that will stand under Senate rules? I have not read them in awhile, but I did not remember that there was discretion involved.

BB, do you know? Anyone?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 6, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

What is the penis of party switching?

Posted by: DDAWD | May 6, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that the Democratic leadership didn't keep their word. They promised Specter that he would not loose any seniority for making this move and, then, pulled that seniority. So, their promises were exposes as nothing more than outright lies of convenience. Now, I don't particularly like Specter, but he kept his side of the bargain. Voters have experienced this, too. Our Democrats promised all sorts of things that we wanted - health care reform, an end to job outsourcing, an end of the H1-B and similar guest worker visas, and they have gone completely opposite of those promises. Only a fool, and a complete blind fanatic, would trust the Democratic Party going forward. Hopefully this will come to haunt them in the upcoming elections and see a very big sweep of incumbents loosing their jobs. Barring that as a wakeup, I see these corrupt gasbags going the way of the Republican's.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 6, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

My take on this was Reid did this because Specter didn't keep his word either, he made a commitment to work with the Democrats and first thing Specter did was vote against the Democrats and indicated he won't meet his side of the bargain. Then the Coleman comment (which he tried later to retract) I think was the final straw.

Posted by: PeterPamZ | May 6, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

So much for rebranding republicans. ain't gonna happen because Comrade Rush won't allow it:

"CANTOR: Listen, John, I think there is a lot of blame to go around. And what we’re trying to do here today is kick off a series of town hall forums so that we can get back to listening to the people. [...]

So we’ve got to go out and, again, reconnect and make sure that our policy prescriptions are relevant to the challenges that people in the Northeast are facing, to the challenges that educated, affluent families are facing, as well as those much more challenged in the inner cities and rural areas of our country.

There is a common theme in this country and that is opportunity. That’s what these forums are going to be about, about listening to how we tap into the real challenges and how we allow opportunity to flourish again.

Listening to all this talk about listening, Rush Limbaugh became incensed. He said that instead of taking cues from the American public, Republicans should fan out and spread their dogma through a “teaching tour.” This morning on MSNBC, Cantor backtracked and said that he agreed with Limbaugh:

SCARBOROUGH: So, let’s start with Rush Limbaugh, who seems to be mocking the idea of a listening tour. What do you say to Rush?

CANTOR: You know, Joe, really, this — this is not a listening tour. You know, think about what we saw a couple weeks ago on the TEA parties."

what a bunch of pathetic wimps republican congressman are. all of them groveling in front of this fat drug addiction.

Posted by: drindl | May 6, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

switching parties...
or in a party....Dems or GOP....

times are a changing armpeg...

there are no principals, no core values, and no convictions--
in any of the parties....period.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 6, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"Democrap Socialist."

oh look, the mental giant armpeg is back. can anyone explain why this board has one rightwing moron present at all times? somebody must pay pick up homeless lunatics roaming the streets of DC and pay them to post crap this dumb.

Posted by: drindl | May 6, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Quite funny stuff. Haven't you ever heard Will Rogers' famous quote? "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." Mind you, the statement was facetious and taken at face value.

BB

"he ought to resign his leadership and, if I were him, I would seriously consider leaving the Democratic Party and become an Independent or even join the Republican Party."

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 6, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Poor, poor Arlen Specter.

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | May 6, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

loses seniority with the new party, eh?

dems trying to "appease" repulsives?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 6, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Specters career is over, period. It is the job of the party the switcher goes to to insure that the guy feels welcome, has a place and has no primary challengers. That way you encourage more to follow him. That is also why there was such a big switch in 1995 and why they all got re-elected, that was what the republicans did.

But Democrats are stupid and can't pull there heads out of ..... long enough to see the larger strategic implications of burning Specter so badly. Now NOBODY will make the same mistake he did. And his career is over a full year and a half before the elections. You think he is going to vote with Dems now?

Posted by: RJ14 | May 6, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Well remember a long time ago, when the ecstatic Ds had their 60 votes? Last week it was. Now, who knows what will happen in the steaming pile that is the Senate.

To follow on the wise comments of sverigegrabb and thecorinthian...
Specter should have been smart enough to know that he could not switch and go feral at the same time.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 6, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The party-switch doesn't help Arlen Specter because now nobody trusts him. Arlen Specter switched from Democrap to Republican in the 1960's, and he now switched back from Republican to Democrap Socialist. The only thing it proves is that he's got no principals, no core values, and no convictions for anything exept political power. We true conservatives knew this all along, and we've been trying to get rid of him--damn near doing it in his last election when the real conservative GOP'ers voted for Pat Toomey. Good riddance, the Democrap Socialists can have him!

Posted by: armpeg | May 6, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Democrats don't want to entice any more Republicans to switch over.. you know - it's just one more 'opinion' you have to deal with. When they stay Republican, they don't have much clout.. other than the occasional mano y mano with the talking heads (no offense papa chris).

You did change the photo on your banner.. told you momma could pick a better one..

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 6, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The thing is that Specter is liked by many Democrats and respected by more independent GOPers. I don't think Specter has to worry about Sestak at all, since it will take one commercial with Obama praising Specter as an independent voice in Washington for Specter to smoke whomever he is running against in the Democratic Primary. On that same track it will take one commercial of Tom Ridge talking about buying Duct tape to tape up your windows in case of a chemical attack to seal Specter's General election victory. And that isn't even getting into the money advantage he will have over both Ridge and Sestak.

Posted by: AndyR3 | May 6, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he's going to be put out to pasture regardless of his party affiliation.

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 6, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The very least Democrats expected for their support in 2010 was for Specter to support their healthcare reforms and side with them on procedural votes.

Yet since his switch he's voted with the Republicans, came out against the Dems' healthcare agenda and made odd comments about supporting Norm Coleman's quixotic legal campaign.

I mean, seriously. Even Lieberman is a lot more reliable as a Dem vote. Specter is right now going out of his way to alienate Democrats. He seems to be begging for a strong primary challenge.

He's been screwing the Democrats. If he continues this way, there won't be any institutional support for him as he himself isn't holding up his side of the deal, i.e. support the bulk of the Dem agenda.

Quite frankly, if he isn't willing to side with the Dems on most votes, he ought to have become an Independent rather than Democrat. Take his chances in 2010 as an independent or retire in dignity.

But he chose to become a Democrat, so he better act like one or face the consequences.

Posted by: charlesf1 | May 6, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Specter was first elected to the senate in 1980. If a Republican hit piece can sway Pennsylvania voters then Specter is correct in that Pennsylvania voters cannot be trusted. How much history do you need? You've had three decades to take the measure of the man. Pay attention people.

However, Specter would have to expect at least a spirited challenge in the primary. Maybe he'll get a speech or two from Obama and Rendell, but establishment endorsements only go so far. You still have to win.

Posted by: caribis | May 6, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, the reason Sen. Specter faced pushback from the Democratic caucus in keeping his seniority is that 1.) he has too much seniority. Being 12th in overall seniority, he is ahead of 51 Democrats. And 2.) he seems less loyal to the new team that other party switchers of the past, such as Jim Jeffords or Ben Nighthorse-Campbell or Richard Shelby.

Posted by: nk5otr | May 6, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

the nail in the proverbial coffin for specter was the NOrm Coleman quote this week,., franken won fair and square and that absurd quote was the last straw... if he had ot said it he could or and would or retained his seniority according to insiders.. what a huge miscalculation on his part.. he was a dem in pa many years ago and now a dem again...mind your manner s arlen and maybe u wil be invited to sit at the grown up table soon

Posted by: whatbull | May 6, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I figure all hope is lost for this country. The right claims he got what he deserved for being a traitor and the left is busy congratulated themselves for successfully pulling a swindle. You both sound like Wall Street executives, effectively gangsters with the morals of a weasel. A promise is a promise. If it was just Reid making that promise, he did so on behalf of the Democratic Senate and ought to be out front, berating the other members of the Senate for reneging on a promise he made in their behalf; he ought to resign his leadership and, if I were him, I would seriously consider leaving the Democratic Party and become an Independent or even join the Republican Party.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 6, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I've been waiting for your commentary on this...Love it.

Posted by: jpgrinnell8 | May 6, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@mlbrooks - Actually, it was the Democratic leader Reid, not the leadership that promised Specter that he would keep his seniority. Reid loses face with his caucus, but it wasn't some corrupt Illuminati manipulating Specter.

He would have been better to declare as an independent for the remainder of the Congress. Effectively, that's what has happened anyway.

BB


---

I'm surprised that the Democratic leadership didn't keep their word. They promised Specter that he would not loose any seniority for making this move and, then, pulled that seniority.

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 6, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Great analysis, Gallenod.

Posted by: andrewgerst@hotmail.com | May 6, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

im loving this! lol im glad that specters switch that was clearly about him, is now backfiring!

Posted by: dee150586 | May 6, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that Governor Ridge is interested in running in the PA GOP Primary, but, he must beat Pat Toomey who is quite popular with the GOP base and a veteran campaigner.

Posted by: patb | May 6, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

SInce becoming a DINO he voted 100% with the Republican pity, what did he expect?

Posted by: JRM2 | May 6, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

well... in rocky vs guaranteed-to-lose-the-GOP-primary, Specter seems to still be ahead of where he was.

Posted by: HardyW | May 6, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"If there was any chance of inviting over Sen. Collins or Sen. Snowe, those chances just fizzled by treating Sen. Specter like a flu bug."

These party switches are pretty rare, especially at the Senate level. I doubt any political strategy was affected by the possibility of the Maine ladies switching over.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 6, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree wholeheartedly with thecorinthian--currently, the biggest problem for BOTH parties is that a politician must be even more two-faced than is generally supposed in order to appeal to the party's base in the primary, yet to a majority of voters statewide (countrywide in the national election, of course) in order to be elected.

I wonder if Ridge could survive that scrutiny in PA, because he is too moderate to appeal to the shrinking (and thus more conservative) primary base--we won't even get into his pro-choice views.

Sestak, if he could ever get Rendell's 'machine' behind him, would give 'Quisling' Specter a run for his money in the primary.

Nor has Specter helped himself recently by his numerous P.R. gaffes--viz., the MTP appearance and the recent Coleman quote, which has almost all Democrats gnashing their teeth. Perhaps all those Amtrak rides with Joe Biden have taken their toll?

Does anyone know, incidentally, if the Committee assignments that turned Specter into a junior member were decided before of after Meet The Press?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | May 6, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Senator Specter had four choices:

1. Stay a Republican and almost certainly lose next year's primary.

2. Become a Democrat, with a much better (but not certain) chance of winning that primary and the general election.

3. Declare himself an Independent (like Joe Lieberman or Jim Jeffords), caucus with the Democrats and run in the middle in 2010, where he's most comfortable. I'd have thought this would be his most likely course, but apparently things are not as friendly for independent candidates in Pennsylvania.

4. Announce his retirement after this term. Not likely, though. Say what you will about him, Specter has never quit a fight in (or for) his life.

Also, the Dems let Jeffords keep his seniority when he became an "I", so removing Specter's seniority (at least until he's actually elected as a Democrat) shows a serious lack of trust.

Yes, his switch was politically opportunistic. But one of the quaint idiosyncrasies of our political system is that we vote for specific people for office, not political parties. Most of the people who voted for Spector, Lieberman, Jeffords, or any other politician who's switched parties between elections probably don't care what party they belong to as long as they vote the same way. It's only party officials and the hard core party faithful (a minority of both parties and the electorate as a whole) who wail and gyrate wildly when "traitors" desert those who have done their best to alienate and marginalize them.

Frankly, we need more true idependents (and Independents) in government, if only to give people in the middle someone to vote for instead of having to frequently choose between rabid extremists on either end of the political spectrum.

That said, my prediction is that we'll be swearing in Senator Sestak in 2011. Spector won't have enough trust to win the Dem primary either, and if the Republican base nominates Toomey (even if Ridge runs) the electorate will go for the retired military guy running as a centrist Dem.

Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 6, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that the Democratic leadership didn't keep their word. They promised Specter that he would not loose any seniority for making this move and, then, pulled that seniority. So, their promises were exposes as nothing more than outright lies of convenience. Now, I don't particularly like Specter, but he kept his side of the bargain. Voters have experienced this, too. Our Democrats promised all sorts of things that we wanted - health care reform, an end to job outsourcing, an end of the H1-B and similar guest worker visas, and they have gone completely opposite of those promises. Only a fool, and a complete blind fanatic, would trust the Democratic Party going forward. Hopefully this will come to haunt them in the upcoming elections and see a very big sweep of incumbents loosing their jobs. Barring that as a wakeup, I see these corrupt gasbags going the way of the Republican's.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 6, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

This seems to me like a stupid move on the part of Senate Democrats. Don't you want to entice another Northeast Republican just on general principle? If there was any chance of inviting over Sen. Collins or Sen. Snowe, those chances just fizzled by treating Sen. Specter like a flu bug.

Posted by: gromaine3 | May 6, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Good for the Senate dems, this jerk should not get seniority over any dems. Arlen should read the writing on the wall and retire before he gets fired. Leave with a little dignity you two-faced a**hole.

Posted by: vbhoomes | May 6, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Specter may soon find out that the Democratic primary voters are about as liberal as republican primary voters are conservative. Being a moderate republican earns you the democrat's respect because you're reasonable to work with, not because they like your views. Meanwhile the psychotic base that Specter was hoping to avoid is already taking aim at Tom Ridge. This is going to be an interesting race.

Posted by: thecorinthian | May 6, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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