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Specter's Switch: Unanswered Questions


Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch leaves a number of unanswered questions. Reuters photo by Jason Reed.

The news that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch parties and run as a Democrat in 2010 has stirred the political world in a frenzy with everyone trying to understand why he did it and what it means for President Obama's agenda and next November's midterm elections.

Here our look at a few critical -- and unanswered -- questions regarding the Specter situation. Have thoughts of your own? Offer them in the comments section below.

A Clear Democratic Primary?: Specter, in his recently concluded press conference, seemed confident that Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) as well as the entire Senate Democratic leadership will be behind him in next year's primary. And, in the daily press briefing at the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that Specter would have the "full support" of President Obama. With all that said, former National Constitution Center head Joe Torsella released a statement in the wake of Specter's switch insisting that he is still running for the Democratic nod. And, Specter made clear in his statement on the switch that he still opposes the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a position that could well be a sticking point for the labor community in terms of rallying behind Specter. It's hard to imagine that Torsella (or anyone else) will ultimately challenge Specter, however, given the establishment weight behind him now.

Pat Toomey -- Republican Nominee?: Specter's departure from the Republican party puts former Rep. Pat Toomey in the driver's seat for the GOP nomination. But, if National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) didn't think Toomey could win a general election when Specter was a Republican why would he think the former Congressman could win the seat with Specter running as a Democrat? Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) has shown the ability to run and win in a swing area in suburban Philadelphia and is already pondering a run for governor in 2010. Might he be persuaded to reconsider?

Minnesota Ad Infinitum?: There was a definite sense among Republican political operatives that if former senator Norm Coleman (R) lost his election appeal in the Minnesota state Supreme Court, he should step aside and allow Democrat Al Franken to be seated. Now, with Franken as the 60th Democratic seat in the Senate, there may be a desire among GOPers to have Coleman hang on as long as he possibly can -- to prevent Democrats from enjoying a filibuster-proof majority. "Senator Coleman's focus remains on the thousands of Minnesota citizens who have not had their voices heard or their votes counted," said Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan in the wake of the Specter switch. "We will keep on fighting to enfranchise these voters and to ensure that every legally cast ballot is opened and counted."

Have Republicans Hit Rock-Bottom?: For a party relegated to minority status in Congress and struggling badly to counter President Obama's message megaphone, the Specter news is a proverbial kick in the groin. Spin it as they will, Specter's departure further exacerbates the raw feelings between those within the party who believe it is driving itself into permanent minority status and those who view the recent developments as a necessary purging of those not sufficiently conservative. Regardless of where you come down in that debate, it's hard to imagine a worse development for Republicans on the eve of President Obama's 100th day in office.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 28, 2009; 3:41 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Republican Party , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Specter To Switch Parties
Next: White House Cheat Sheet: 100 Days Winners and Losers

Comments

billbolducinmaine, mark_in_austin, shrink2, mibrooks, bsimon:

OK, take the obvious next step. Start your own party, or join one you agree with. There are several potential parties that could easily replace the Republican Party as the second party in the next election.

Just three caveats:

1: Unless you are truly centrist, save your breath, because you will just be fighting for the base that is all that is left of the republican Party.

2: IF you are truly centrist, take precautions. Require that all active members actually demonstrate centrist bona fides. Otherwise the republicans will buy you out the way they bought out the American reform Party in 2000.

3: make sure you live in the real world. Each of you shows tendencies to want to drift off into Big Rock Candy Land, and that territory is already full of Republicans in total denial.

Call Collins and Snow and ask them would they be willing to join YOUR party as Founding Mothers. Pick a wooden meeting hall for your organizational convention so you can make gavels out of its planking to use in subsequent conventions. OK, that last is a bit too Republican, but good luck.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 29, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree with robbygtx about Gerlach.

Posted by: JakeD | April 29, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think Jim DeMint has a better chance of becoming a Democratic Senator than Jim Gerlach deciding to run for Senate and here's why:

Jim Gerlach talking to himself: Let's see, I can run for an open, Executive Branch, Governors Seat or I as a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership who supports Stem-Cell Research, some LGBT Rights and Environmental Issues, where my primary opponent would be an ultra-right conservative who already ran another moderate GOP member to the Democratic party, and if I survived that bloody primary fight, would then face the six-term incumbent senator with long roots in the same part of the state as me and who had a 60% approval rating among Pennsylvania Democrats before he decided to switch parties and will have a popular president campaigning for him in an already 55-45 Democratic state.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Posted by: robbygtx | April 29, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

FirstMouse1:

You've never heard of Operation CHAOS? The next version will mobilize to defeat Specter for sure.

Posted by: JakeD | April 29, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Fundamentally, Specter is here showing followership rather than leadership. The leaders are those hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who have been leaving the Republican Party.

Posted by: FirstMouse1 | April 29, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

(For everyone else, straight from Dick Morris):

"Right now, Obama’s ratings must be pleasing to his eye. Voters like him and his wife immensely and approve of his activism in the face of the economic crisis. While polls show big doubts about what he is doing, the overwhelming sense is to let him have his way and pray that it works.

But beneath this superficial support, Obama’s specific policies run afoul of the very deeply felt convictions of American voters. For example, the most recent Rasmussen Poll asked voters if they wanted an economic system of complete free enterprise or preferred more government involvement in managing the economy. By 77-19, they voted against a government role, up seven points from last month.

And in the Fox News poll — the very same survey that gave Obama a 62 percent approval rating and reported that 68 percent of voters are “satisfied” with his first hundred days — voters, by 50-38, supported a smaller government that offered fewer services over a larger government that provided more.

By 42-8, the Fox News poll (conducted on April 22-23) found that voters felt Obama had expanded government rather than contracted it (42 percent said it was the same size) and, by 46-30, reported believing that big government was more of a danger to the nation than big business. (By 50-23, they said Obama felt big business was more dangerous.)

By 62-20, they said government spending, under Obama, was “out of control.”

So if voters differ so fundamentally with the president on the very essence of his program, why do they accord him high ratings? They are like the recently married bride who took her vows 100 days ago. It would be a disaster for her life if she decides that she really doesn’t like her husband. But she keeps noticing things about him that she can’t stand. It will be a while before she walks out the door or even comes to terms with her own doubts, but it is probably inevitable that she will.

For Americans to conclude that they disapprove of their president in the midst of an earth-shaking crisis is very difficult. But as Obama’s daily line moves from “I inherited this mess” to “There are faint signs of light,” the clock starts ticking. If there is no recovery for the next six months — and I don’t think there will be — Obama will inevitably become part of the problem, not part of the solution."

Read the whole thing over at http://thehill.com/dick-morris/obama-sows-seeds-of-demise-2009-04-28.html

Posted by: JakeD | April 29, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD:

At least it proves I am not racist.

Posted by: JakeD | April 29, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"As to competing tactics of fight or flight, it's clear which Specter has chosen. How profoundly does his exit impact the Maine senators, in particular Olympia Snowe, who faces an earlier test than does Susan Collins? Will Snowe continue to fight the rightward drift of her party, with its radically righteous and neo-Confederates? Or will she too leave for politically greener pastures?"

I don't think either of them is facing a tough challenge, so they might stay put. They probably will. These switches don't happen often.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 29, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"I am also not a "racist" or "conspiracy theorist". I supported AFRICAN-American, Alan Keyes, for President"

Hahahahaha, Alan Keyes too? Man, you really know how to pick em.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 29, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

As to competing tactics of fight or flight, it's clear which Specter has chosen. How profoundly does his exit impact the Maine senators, in particular Olympia Snowe, who faces an earlier test than does Susan Collins? Will Snowe continue to fight the rightward drift of her party, with its radically righteous and neo-Confederates? Or will she too leave for politically greener pastures?

Posted by: FirstMouse1 | April 29, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Good points, RobT1.

Posted by: JakeD | April 29, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Specter's been a RINO, votes about half the time with the Democrats, for a long time and the only practical problem with him switching parties is the public relations embarresment for the Rebpublican leadership who were apparently clueless that he'd been talking to the Democrats about switching parties. Not that suprising I guess since he stated publically only a month ago that he'd never switch parties. Goes to show you a polotician will do anything to keep that government job. There's also no guarantee that Specter will necessarily vote to overide a fillibuster. Democrats will find out just like the Republicans have become painfully aware of is that Specter only looks out for Specter. He has zero party loyalty. Back in 2004 President Bush and the Republican leadership bent over backwards and worked their butts off to make sure Specter made it through his priamary with Toomey and to get him re-elected to the Senate in the general. This was done even though Specter had thumbed his nose at the party on many occasions. How does Specter repay all those Republican efforts on his behalf? By switching parties so he can have an easier time getting re-elected. I think all the Republcians that have contributed to Specters campain for re-election should be able to get their money back. I also think that a polotician who switches parties mid term should be forced to immediately resign an run for re-election.

Posted by: RobT1 | April 29, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

mibrooks27:

Obama's party controls Congress and you are blaming little ol' me for everything that gets passed?! LOL

I am also not a "racist" or "conspiracy theorist". I supported AFRICAN-American, Alan Keyes, for President and it is possible that even Obama doesn't know where he was born.

FarlingtonBlade:

Do you think it is illegal to pay people to relocate to key Pennsylvania precincts for 6 months next year?

Posted by: JakeD | April 29, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I get amused when peeps post about 'The South' .. one thing I have found out - living in the southeastern U.S. Many of us are from 'The North'.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 29, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

hoorah, who else will jump the fence? i am a repub, but i am like little meghan mccain, we need to move forward. the small amount of hardcore repubs have made it impossible for them to accomplish anything, but be a party of "no". the prominent repubs state one thing and then when it is convenient, they go to the other side of the boat. "i.e newtie gingrich and his views on torture. stop the spin, just as example. i'm glad we have msnbc for counterpoints againts the fox channe. hurray sen. spector.

Posted by: yvonneprivera | April 29, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

hoorah, who else will jump the fence? i am a repub, but i am like little meghan mccain, we need to move forward. the small amount of hardcore repubs have made it impossible for them to accomplish anything, but be a party of "no". the prominent repubs state one thing and then when it is convenient, they go to the other side of the boat. "i.e newtie gingrich and his views on torture. stop the spin, just as example. i'm glad we have msnbc for counterpoints againts the fox channe. hurray sen. spector.

Posted by: yvonneprivera | April 29, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

hoorah, who else will jump the fence? i am a repub, but i am like little meghan mccain, we need to move forward. the small amount of hardcore repubs have made it impossible for them to accomplish anything, but be a party of "no". the prominent repubs state one thing and then when it is convenient, they go to the other side of the boat. "i.e newtie gingrich and his views on torture. stop the spin, just as example. i'm glad we have msnbc for counterpoints againts the fox channe. hurray sen. spector.

Posted by: yvonneprivera | April 29, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

hoorah, who else will jump the fence? i am a repub, but i am like little meghan mccain, we need to move forward. the small amount of hardcore repubs have made it impossible for them to accomplish anything, but be a party of "no". the prominent repubs state one thing and then when it is convenient, they go to the other side of the boat. "i.e newtie gingrich and his views on torture. stop the spin, just as example. i'm glad we have msnbc for counterpoints againts the fox channe. hurray sen. spector.

Posted by: yvonneprivera | April 29, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

hoorah, who else will jump the fence? i am a repub, but i am like little meghan mccain, we need to move forward. the small amount of hardcore repubs have made it impossible for them to accomplish anything, but be a party of "no". the prominent repubs state one thing and then when it is convenient, they go to the other side of the boat. "i.e newtie gingrich and his views on torture. stop the spin, just as example. i'm glad we have msnbc for counterpoints againts the fox channe. hurray sen. spector.

Posted by: yvonneprivera | April 29, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

hoorah, who else will jump the fence? i am a repub, but i am like little meghan mccain, we need to move forward. the small amount of hardcore repubs have made it impossible for them to accomplish anything, but be a party of "no". the prominent repubs state one thing and then when it is convenient, they go to the other side of the boat. "i.e newtie gingrich and his views on torture. stop the spin, just as example. i'm glad we have msnbc for counterpoints againts the fox channe. hurray sen. spector.

Posted by: yvonneprivera | April 29, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

"A five -time sitting senator was not going to win a primary in his state. Apparently the need to be 'pure' and against abortion is more important to the republican party than winning a general election."

Well, same thing with Lieberman two years ago. Lost his primary pretty much on the Iraq issue. The only thing is that Lieberman could immediately switch to independent. Specter doesn't have that option.

I guess the other big difference is that Lamont had a much better chance of winning the general than whatever Republican who would have defeated Specter.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 29, 2009 4:03 AM | Report abuse

A five -time sitting senator was not going to win a primary in his state. Apparently the need to be 'pure' and against abortion is more important to the republican party than winning a general election. Specter took the only way out to save his career. He will run in a Democratic primary that he can probably win and a general election after that which he most certainly will win running against a right wing yahoo. Either way, the seat will be democratic after the 2010 election. The democrats will gain his vote in the next 18 months. Specter will have a chance to demonstrate that he deserves to have their support in 2010.

Posted by: Opa2 | April 29, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

I have already contacted my Senators in Maine, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and urged them to caucus with or switch to
the democratic party like fellow moderates Jim Jeffords and Arlen Specter. Both Snowe and Collins have more liberal voting records than Specter and would be far more welcome than they currently are in the GOP. How much more ridicule should they have to take. It's obvious that the far right wing conservatives control the GOP and could give a rat's ass about Snowe or Collins, except that they have an "R" next to their name when it comes to invoking cloture or other stalling procedure to get progressive legislation passed. Come on over Sens. Snowe and Collins -- the water's much warmer on the other side. And for all you fellow Maine Dems or Independents, please contact them ASAP and ask them to switch and fully support Pres. Obama's priorities on reforming health care and agenda and achieving energy independence.

Posted by: billbolducinmaine | April 29, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Yup. Me four with mark_in_austin, shrink2 & mibrooks. I generally am happy with the efforts of the administration, but our system of government works best when the opposition party comes to the table with productive ideas - and thoughtful criticism. "You bad, us good" does not meet our needs.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 28, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm loving this moment.


Pretty soon it will only be Rush, Beck and Palin in the lounge at the local Applebee's in Alabama rousing the GOPer base of about 20 teabaggers.


The party of Limbaugh did this to themselves and now all they lack is a crying towel as they tearfully wave goodbye to the few remaining Reagan Democrats. They primaried out nearly all of their moderates and can't win national election with their extremist base. Good riddance.


It will take decades to undo all the damage they've done to themselves.

Posted by: DrainYou | April 28, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

MikeB makes a great point at 9:30P EDT;6:30P in OR.

There ARE policies of this Admin that deserve scrutiny by all of us. Examples: One could be the abandonment of the institutions [bankruptcy, receivership, and the like] to deal with failed businesses in favor of apparent govt. ownership. Another could be the apparent attempt to revive RR's failed amnesty plan.

None of the issues that require attention are the nutty stuff MikeB rightly complains about.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 28, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27 is right.

Obama opposition has been comical, freakish really and that is the story now.

What is going on?

There is no serious opposition and that is serious.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

SCRIBES (Chris, maybe you can ask this one tomorrow night and move the needle on the torture story):

re: "100 Days" press conference

A RADIOACTIVE TORTURE QUESTION FOR POTUS


Mr. President:


The Senate Armed Services Committee report on "enhanced interrogation techniques" used at Guantanamo stated at least twice that detainees were subject to "induced physical weakness and exhaustion."


The report also stated that detainees were subject to "physiological and psychological pressures" and "environmental manipulation."


Has your administration inquired as to what "induced" these effects...


...and whether detainees were exposed to microwave radiation devices such as so-called "directed energy weapon" discharges... or any other type of radiation, such as X-rays, gamma rays, sonic waves, or laser "dazzlers"?


If detainees were exposed to radiation, does that not constitute "torture" and "cruel and unusual punishment" in and of itself?


http://nowpublic.com/world/bush-torture-memos-oked-radiation-weapon-use-americans-too

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america


OR (if links are corrupted):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 28, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

The South is toxic to whatever party holds it. First it wrecked the Democratic party in 1968 when it splintered off. Now it is wrecking the Republican party and forcing the moderates to jump ship for the sake of their sanity.

Posted by: duncan36 | April 28, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"Have Republicans Hit Rock-Bottom?"

RINO season isn't over yet. Another hunter has his sights on McCain. After him, there won't be many old bulls left. Are the young strong enough to survive, or will the species die off?

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 28, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

You could see the relief on Specter's face after the announcement. The position he was in was impossible for a dedicated legislator to live in. The GOP has purified their party of one more reasonable man.


Switching parties also lets Specter take a Victory Lap in his career. Instead of spending the next 20 months being insulted and marginalized by the bitter opposition party (that has nearly ruined this country in 8 years), only to lose in the primary and end his career, he gets to work toward repairing our country with a party that actually has programs to propose and that listens to the differing voice in the party (and he'll be reelected in 2010).


Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 28, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jake,

It's a classic case of what comes around (all those Dems converting in 1980) goes around. A pol is a pol is a pol. I have to say that Pennsylvania will be verrrrry interesting in 2010.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 28, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Ding dong the witch (Repubs)is dead; the witch is dead; the witch is dead

Posted by: kevin_m_clay@yahoo.com | April 28, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... no one's talking about the 'historic european trip'.. any longer..

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 28, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, any opposition to Obama has been co-opted by nut cases like JakeD, which means there is no hope whatsoever for actually stopping Obama's agenda. A lot of that agenda is bad policy and will cause much harm, but these racist vermin and conspiracy theory whack jobs have managed to make anyone disagreeing with anything by the Obamacan's look as looney as they are. What a mess.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 28, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party can't stand unity or success. I've said it before: the problems will be from a Trojan Horse within the castle walls. Obama can't be beaten by anyone other than his own band of egomaniacs.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 28, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

"What will Specter do, if anything, to establish his bona fides as a Democrat? Do you see him playing a big public role in any upcoming Dem priorities, like healthcare, or maybe touching the third rail of entitlement reform on behalf of his new cohorts? And why become a Democrat, and not just a Jeffordsy Independent caucusing with the Dems? PA's restrictions on Independents getting on the ballot don't apply until after primaries start, right? Posted by: TheBoreaucrat "

By becoming a Democrat he takes out any truly plausible primary challenger, because the Dems don't need the fight. He gets some seniority perk, where as an independent he probably doesn't. He can pose convincingly as a Democrat, (Damn near Anybody can pose as a Democrat under most circumstances) and still vote his conscience. He gets lots of Democratic adulation, and it doesn't require too much effort on his part to stay on their good side.

Were he a good deal younger, going independent might make more sense, while he looked around for a party to affiliate with, but with his seniority he needs to be in the majority if he can.

What Chris SHOULD have tried to discern is where the Dems put him as committee chair, since he probably has a valid claim on one should he wish.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 28, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"Foolonthehill1, I agree with you. Specter, Collins, Snowe, etc., can join with Lieberman, Baucus, Conrad, etc., and start their own party. Now's the time to strike!
As I suggested in an earlier posting, they can call themselves the Unitecrats or the Indepublicans, or, ... you know, there's gotta be a catchier name. Posted by: dognabbit "

There is a catchier name, several, actually: The American Reform Party: The American Progressive Party: The American Center Socialist Party: The Bull Moose Party:

The best choice would be the ARP, because they are still nominally organized. With any energy they could have candidates in most national races (Senate and House) in 2010. They already have some Gubenatorail candidates thinking about running.

Have them come to dayton and we'll throw them an organizing party. They can probably carry about 35% of the states votes in 2010, and many formerly Republican strongholds where the only thing keeping the majority of unemployed or underemployed voters from voting for someone other that their republican is their terror that they might accidentally vote for a Democrat.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 28, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Have the Republicans hit rock bottom? Not until they drive Collins and Snowe out of the party, lose virtually every Republican Senate seat up for election in 2010, and lose another fifteen or so seats in the house. That won't actually be rock bottom, but it will bring out a center right party that will steal the conservative political leverage from the republican Party. When there are no more republicans in significant office, because the two majority parties are the Moderates and the democrats, that will be the concrete bottom of the vault they bury the republican Party in.

This is, after all, a party whose leadership, in virtually one collective breath said, "It isn't a National Thing, it is a Pennsylvania Thing" (McConnell, in Kentuckian for it doesn't matter to Republicans), "Good bye to that Rhino" (several senior spokesmen for the Former Republican Party) znd, most hilariously of all "Arlen is just looking out for himself instead of thinking of his party!!!"

Posted by: ceflynline | April 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, I am not gloating but mourning: what I mourn for is the inability of the GOP to provide any sensible strategic thinking that would afford Americans a real choice.

People on this and other blogs are lambasting the 'one party state', forgetting that in fact 2 parties did contest in 2008. One stood on its record, the other for progressive change. The first was soundly beaten by the second, thanks to the will of the people.

Every democratic country needs an effective opposition. It's time you and your fellow party members stopped simply naysaying and became a genuine voice for reasoned debate on the issues."

A second option will come around. We've never had a long period of time with just one party rule. It might be the Republicans in a new form or something new altogether, but one party doesn't last forever.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey KOZ.

Sorry, I didn't realise you needed us to gloat.

Actually, I am not gloating but mourning: what I mourn for is the inability of the GOP to provide any sensible strategic thinking that would afford Americans a real choice.

People on this and other blogs are lambasting the 'one party state', forgetting that in fact 2 parties did contest in 2008. One stood on its record, the other for progressive change. The first was soundly beaten by the second, thanks to the will of the people.

Every democratic country needs an effective opposition. It's time you and your fellow party members stopped simply naysaying and became a genuine voice for reasoned debate on the issues.

Surely that's not too much to ask. Is it?

Oh, but for this to work you also need to accept that when the majority of voters reject your position it is not because they are too dumb, lazy, welfare dependent, socialist, unpatriotic: instead, because they have considered your arguments and simply do not agree with them.

Again, such respect for your fellow Americans is surely not too much to ask for, is it?

Posted by: anthonyrimell | April 28, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

what no gloating drivl. Must be hung over from the shock therepy.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 28, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else: if you have ever donated to Specter, I suggest you go in person (TOMORROW MORNING, before he closes down any of these offices, he's already lost the services of one polling firm) and request a refund:

Washington DC
711 Hart Building
Washington , DC 20510
Main: 202-224-4254
Fax: 202-228-1229

Lehigh Valley
504 W. Hamilton
Suite 3814, Federal Building
Allentown, PA 18101
Main: 610-434-1444
Fax: 610-434-1844

Erie
17 South Park Row
Federal Building, Suite B-120
Erie, PA 16501
Main: 814-453-3010
Fax: 814-455-9925

Harrisburg
228 Walnut Street
Room 1104, Federal Building
Harrisburg , PA 17101
Main: 717-782-3951
Fax: 717-782-4920

Philadelphia
600 Arch Street
Suite 9400
Philadelphia , PA 19106
Main: 215-597-7200
Fax: 215-597-0406

Pittsburgh
425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1450
Regional Enterprise Tower (old Alcoa Building)
Pittsburgh , PA 15219
Main: 412-644-3400
Fax: 412-644-4871

Scranton
310 Spruce Street
Suite 201
Scranton , PA 18503
Main: 570-346-2006
Fax: 570-346-8499

Wilkes-Barre
7 North Wilkes Barre Boulevard
Stegmaier Building, Room 377M
Wilkes-Barre , PA 18702

You can also donate to Pat Toomey here:

http://toomeyforsenate.com/contribute/

Posted by: JakeD | April 28, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the answer, broadwayjoe.

Posted by: JakeD | April 28, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to broadwayjoe -- honest question -- if Obama was NOT born in Hawaii, would that be of ANY concern to you?

Posted by: JakeD | April 28, 2009 7:57 PM
________
Short answer: no.
Long answer: noooooooooooooooooooooooo.

BHO long ago posted a PDF of his birth certificate on the Internet (to address the concerns of community leaders like yourself). Further, the Supreme Court (after being forced to look at this by one justice in a breach of court protocol) found this junk to be totally frivolous.
BTW, I also don't care that Mac was not born in the US, but in Panama.
Let's just be thankful that 44, wherever he was born (and he was born in Hawaii), is at the helm of the USG.

Also, like 81% of the country, I also don't care a hoot about flagpins, BHO's middle name, Michelle's 30 year old term papers, Rev. Wright....

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 28, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Republicans, like Nambla, are a fringe organization of pererts that nobody in their right mind would want to have anything to do with.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | April 28, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to broadwayjoe -- honest question -- if Obama was NOT born in Hawaii, would that be of ANY concern to you?

Posted by: JakeD | April 28, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Coleman's campaign manager is related to Mother Sheehan?!

Posted by: JakeD | April 28, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

"The Republican Party is dead.

Long Live The United States Of America!

Posted by: svreader | April 28, 2009 6:23 PM"
__________

Not to sound like the mortician Bonasera, but I believe in a strong two party system.

In fact the only time our system of checks and balances breaks down is when all three branches of govt. are in a single party's hands.

But you are right, the GOP is toast, stick a fork in it. In PA, 200,000 Republicans switched parties!

If you want to focus on mortgage relief, Middle East policy, universal health care, the Dems are for you.

If, however, you are obsessed with "priorities" like BHO's middle name, Michelle's biceps, White House dress codes (that never existed), BHO shaking Chavez's hand, BHO's birth certificate, BHO African relatives you can make fun of, or the 17 card carrying "socialists" in the House (get 'em)), then the GOP is your home.

Come on by, says the 2009 version of the GOP. Michele Bachmann, Michelle Maglagang, Hannity, Rush, Greta, and Scarborough will leave the light on for you...well, as long as you look and act like them... No, er. mudpeople, okay?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 28, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Toomey is toast.

That much-quoted Rasmussen Report poll that said Toomey would beat Specter in a primary came from a phone poll of *490* Republican Pennsylvania voters. They couldn't find 10 more Republicans to round-out their numbers? I guess Specter's right -- a lot of Pennsylvanians have decided the GOP is doing nothing for them and are now registered Democrats.

I know Rasmussen is generally well thought of but you sure do have to wade through a lot of "American Issues Project" ads to find the slim content on their web site. As for details of how they found their 490 Republicans? They aren't saying. But we sure heard a lot about the results, didn't we.

Anyway, Specter is a very well-known and popular guy in Pennsylvania. The Democrats I know tolerate some differences of opinion, so if Specter runs with his new party even most of the time in the next 18 months Democrats in Pennsylvania will vote for him -- they voted for him when he ran as a Republican.

Toomey's pals at Club for Change have not yet been able to elect a statewide candidate (and they aren't going to lose their Virginity with Toomey).

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 28, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

What a great day to be an American.Thanks,Arlen,for the sweet laughter during troublesome times.You couldn't have done a better thing to slap the GOP in the face...as it deserves.This is better than what Ben Knighthorse-Campbell or Joe Lieberman did to the Democrats.You're my new hero.

Posted by: klowry57 | April 28, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Foolonthehill1, I agree with you. Specter, Collins, Snowe, etc., can join with Lieberman, Baucus, Conrad, etc., and start their own party. Now's the time to strike!

As I suggested in an earlier posting, they can call themselves the Unitecrats or the Indepublicans, or, ... you know, there's gotta be a catchier name.

Posted by: dognabbit | April 28, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

If we can get a couple of more Republicans to switch to the Democrats, then Norm Coleman can stop, ahem, "fighting for disenfranchised voters" and move on with his life.

I'm looking at you, Sens. Collins and Snowe. Norm is trapped and he needs your help!

Posted by: dognabbit | April 28, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Assuming that the GOP continues to curl itself into 19th century Dixieland, will the Democrats continue to expand rightwards following the heels of the retreating Republicans, or will there be open space for a center-right third party?

Thoughts anyone?

Posted by: FoolontheHill1 | April 28, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DDAWD | April 28, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Can we trade Specter back to the Republicans for Olympia Snowe and an infielder to be named later?

Posted by: tellthetruth01 | April 28, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Boss Hog and Man of Steele. Who will be next to cross over to the Dems?

Posted by: olddogsarebest | April 28, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party is dead.

Long Live The United States Of America!

Posted by: svreader | April 28, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that the former comedian cannot be seated provisionally pending the former Senator's appeal?

Kreuz, the magic number for Rs is only 40/99. I am guessing you are counting Franken as seated. See my above question.

BradCPA, and I think WFGodot and I all think the Rs still have the opportunity to rebound, but not by following Rush and Steele into the no man's land of purging their ranks of "apostasy". Some of them actually want to force Snowe and Collins out. They did force McC off course. Just this morning we read here that Huntsman was unwelcome at a MI R rally.
----------------------------------------
On the other hand, here in TX we used to have two parties, both called the D Party. If the Ds keep expanding, that may repeat as a national phenomenon. Let me know when KOZ becomes the libertarian right wing of the Ds, y'all. :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 28, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: hclark1 | April 28, 2009 5:24 PM
"I will be extremely happy to see Arlen Specter's obituary notice".
RESPOND;
And let me guess; you think that he is out of touch with reality!!!
I think you are out of touch with reality because most of people are waiting to see funeral of these thugs;
- Adolf W Bush
- Dick Chenney (NO NEED TO NICKNAME HIM)
- Donald Rectumfeld

Although, I really wish them many, many heart attacks and I wish for them to survive every single of them.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | April 28, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

chris...
i would say that there are no unanswered questions.......about this issue.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 28, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Bluto Limbaugh is glad they are gone... and please take John McCain with you. I thought Limbaugh was supposed to be off of drugs.

Posted by: bradcpa | April 28, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

so what does Mitt "don't I look great" Romney and John "uh, what day is it" McCain say.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 28, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"Have Republicans Hit Rock-Bottom?"

Nah. there's still a few of the hateful little bugs crawling around. Let's push them out of their misery and squash them for good.

Posted by: hillary12 | April 28, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

COMMERCIAL BILBOARD IN WASHINGTON-'POLITICAL FLU'

It seems that at some point a biboard commercial in Washington might be found reading like this; " POLITICIANS FOR SALE - TWO FOR $12.99, AND NO TAXES ! "

Well,... lets see,... back not so long, there were THREE REPUBLICANS that sold-out in favour of the so called 'simulus' - SPECTER, SNOW, and COLLINS,...at that time someone suggested me that BRIBE, might be part of the dynamics.I heard the opinion and kept quiet.

Now, SPECTER joints the ranks of the democrats, fair enough for is a matter of choice, and individual focusing...perhaps, this is his time to go on that vector.I think there is no problem with that, for 'CHANGE' is the mantra of the day - sort of speak,...and yet, this might not be the end of the story, for more is to come and since the OBAMA GANG CORRUPTED ADMINISTRATION NEEDS ALL THE HELP THE CAN GET...and they have the resources to 'adquire by various methods' what is needed,... so it is not a surprise what is happening.
I the past we saw that FRAUD,...'UNDER THE TABLE FUNDING', (along with the EMOTIONAL FACTOR ) were utilized in order to accomplish what is now in Washington .

Nothing will take for surprise,....to all this and more , one thing is very clear,..AMERICA IS AWAKE AND IS FOR TO TAKE THE COUNTRY BACK FROM THE ENEMIES OF THE STATE IN WASHINGTON.

good day everyone,
Daniel Cabrera
Merrillville, Indiana

Posted by: morcab | April 28, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The thing that too many people are missing today: the magic number is not 60 (the number required for cloture), the magic number is 41. Without Specter in the R caucus, the Republicans don't have 41 and thus a filibuster in their hip pocket, and without that knowledge they will be more frugal in threatening the filibuster as failing to filibuster a bill after they've called for one makes them weaker. Specter says he'll still vote to sustain some if he feels they are justified, but they are less likely to be threatened now.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I will be extremely happy to see Arlen Specter's obituary notice.

Posted by: hclark1 | April 28, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Have they hit rock bottom?

No.

They have much further pain to endure during their forty years in the wilderness for their sins and hatred of America.

Being the party of No Nothings won't help them and will only make it far far worse.

Posted by: WillSeattle | April 28, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

CC,

I'm with fairfaxvoter -- incredible "get" on your part. Congrats.

Posted by: mnteng | April 28, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Zouk, because Obama micromanages the flying schedule of Air Force One. Why no criticism of USAF PA over this?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 28, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Since there isn't s dimes worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans anyways, this ought to make perfect sense to everyone. I can't quite figure out where every Republican switches sides. Then we can have one big party, with a Mayday Parade, ancient generals standing on a stage, and even "ancienter" political hacks standing next to them. Both "sides" simply do the bidding of big business against us anyways and once you get over how nutty you are supposed to think Fox and the Drudge Report are, and compare them with MSNBC and CNN, you realize it's time to take another pill and go back to sleep.

Obama = Bush, Summers = Paulson, Holder = Gonzales, Emanuel = Rove, Gates = Gates.... it just gets worse from there.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 28, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I do have "other thoughts" about the Specter party switch:

Way to go, The Fix! What a great scoop!!! I first heard it on MSNBC and it was all about The Fix, a.k.a. Chris Cilizza. Congratulations.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | April 28, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I love all these GOP tools saying Specter was a Republican in name only, and good riddance to him, and other such silly comments. Anyone with half an active brain cell can tell you that it is just that sort or mentality that drove Specter and half the party out of the party! Boneheads!

Posted by: hiberniantears | April 28, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

If the Repugnantcans keep pushing the story that the only true party members are ignorant white evangelicals red knecks, or fanatical screamers like Glen Beck or Hannity, why in the hell would anyone normal ever want to associate with this bunch of lunatards?

Posted by: hiberniantears | April 28, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I love how everyone is burying the Republican Party. Obama's and the Social Democrat's policies haven't really kicked in yet. Wait until they do. Then the mainstream, liberal press won't be so orgasmically in love with Obama and the Social Democrats.

Posted by: mrhonda | April 28, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Time for Chris Matthews or Rendell to run against Specter where they couldn't possibly lose to him -- in the 2010 Dem Primary. Specter has burned his GOP bridges and while he is suspended in mid-air is the time to hammer him out of public office. He can't win as an independent with the GOP fielding a candidate who will pull down the 27% hardcore moron GOP right vote. He would get squeezed out by any good Dem and would be lucky to pull in 30% himself in a 3-way. Any Dem should be able to get over 40% in that 3-way and have a cakewalk to the Senate.

Specter is NOT a Democrat; he will NEVER be one other than in name. Let's turn this PA seat into a REAL Dem seat -- NOW.

Posted by: dolph924 | April 28, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The right wing has been strangling the Republican party for a long time, and it seems right now that they may have finally killed it. Of curse, the pro-choice Specter was never much of a Republican...

Posted by: rohitcuny | April 28, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

G . O . P.

[Goodbye Old Party]

Posted by: BOBSTERII | April 28, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

CILLIZZA SAYS;

"it's hard to imagine a worse development for Republicans on the eve of President Obama's 100th day in office".
***************************************************************************************************************

Yes its hard, so what!!! It was hard for most of Americans when George W Bush won second term and they had to deal with him for another 4 years. Even those that voted for him, right now feel nausea just thinking who they really gave their vote to. TASTE OF THEIR OWN MEDICINE, JUST 4 YEARS LATER (and hopefuly another 4 years)

Posted by: BOBSTERII | April 28, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

In the wake of the last election I read the post mortems from the right thinking that eventually someone somewhere would mention Snowe and Collins, but they didn't. Never came up. Here is a party that just got beat and they still think they can overlook their only success stories outside the South? Didn't make any sense. Still doesn't. It's as if no one has any interest in pragmatism at all. Then Gingrich todays says Specter is out of touch. It's surreal. I guess they are gonna let Limbaugh lead them into the fire. Fine by me. Eventually a moderate conservative party will have to emerge, it looks as if it won't be called the GOP.

Posted by: Hebephrene | April 28, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

As the GOP becomes a party only for right wingers and conservatives, the two moderate Republican Senators from Maine may be next to switch parties. The Republican party seems to be positioning itself to a largely irrevelant minority party on the national and Congressional level until excessive Democratic hubris or high inflation returns to give them the opportunity to fool enough people to become a credible minority party.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | April 28, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

NOW SENATOR SPECTER MUST ACT UPON HIS PRINCIPLES...

...AND HELP TAKE DOWN THE 'AMERICAN GESTAPO'


Now a Democrat, Sen. Specter is in a better position to act upon his values and principles.

As a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter should convene hearings to investigate the ONGOING "extrajudicial punishment network" that was spawned or expanded during the Bush-Cheney years.

This "American Gestapo" has at its core a citizen vigilante army fronted by federally-funded community policing and volunteer organizations. And Pennsylvania is a "ground zero" for this neo-brownshirt ground force.

Innocent but "targeted" citizens and their families report being stalked, harassed, even physically harmed, by "community gang stalkers" -- who apparently receive surveillance data on their prey from local and/or federal law enforcement.

Victims allege that these citizen stromtroopers are equipped with microwave radiation "directed energy weapons" that degrade the health of their prey -- inducing physiological ills ranging from intense pain and cognitive impairment to degraded vision, cancer and eventually, a "slow-kill" death.

A related array of secret federal programs decimate the family finances of these "community stalked" families -- under laws sold to Congress as tools to fight the "war on terror."

This "silent holocaust" has been going on for years, hiding in plain sight. Victims who seek help from law enforcement are typically written off as being "delusional" or mentally ill.

It's time for Team Obama and Congress to excise this contagion of fascism from Åmerican communities coast to coast.

It is time for Congress and the White House to take down the officially-enabled American Gestapo -- and to bring to justice the public officials who have stood by and done nothing to stop it.

And where is the mainstream media? Kept busy chasing the story of the day?


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

How far we've come in just a few short years. From 1994 to 2006, the Democratic Party hosted a constant battle between progressives who wanted wins to mean something, and DLCers who wanted Democrats to compromise some of their beliefs to adapt to a nation that was just too conservative to elect Dems in some cases. Now we have not only the first Democratic president and Congress since 1993-94, but the first 60 seat caucus in over 30 years. And despite the real warning Jim Jeffords' switch represented, Lindsay Graham is now lamenting that the GOP needs to find more progressive candidates lest it be relegated to the party of some of the South and West. The times, they are a-changin.

Posted by: JonSM99 | April 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

hey chris...
KUDOS !!
you are so correct.

Where's Al Franken????
Seat Him !!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 28, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse


king:
actually, the press this morning was that the President is "furious" at this.

And he is doing something about it, not publicly.

Did you see the press release on this "incident"? This morning. About 5:30am west coast time.

These people were SCARED AS HE11111111.

but of course, blame the president.
Not the jerk who authorized it.
Hey, it reminds me of 1996. I was on the infamous plane out of Dallas that was turned around in mid air (out of Dallas) and sent back to the Dallas-Ft Worth airport to pick up the California Angels baseball team.
It's the jerk who authorized it.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 28, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

What will Specter do, if anything, to establish his bona fides as a Democrat? Do you see him playing a big public role in any upcoming Dem priorities, like healthcare, or maybe touching the third rail of entitlement reform on behalf of his new cohorts?

And why become a Democrat, and not just a Jeffordsy Independent caucusing with the Dems? PA's restrictions on Independents getting on the ballot don't apply until after primaries start, right?

Posted by: TheBoreaucrat | April 28, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

why is everyone in a frenzy?

go to lunch, have 3 martinis

CELEBRATE

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 28, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Republicans ceased to matter.

Last year I gave them 16 years to make a comeback on the national level.

Chris, politics is now about issues within and about the Democratic party. They are not a monolith, they are not all liberal, whatever that is, they are not all telling the truth, nor all telling lies.

The last time politics was interesting in this country was the Democratic primary.
Has Obama truly united the party? Hard to tell, but all that matters is this. What are the Democrats going to do next?


Posted by: shrink2 | April 28, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Speaking before a meeting at FBI headquarters in Washington, Obama said he was as in the dark as everyone else about the photo op fly-by, but made no secret of his disapproval.

He then went on to say that the situation was exactly the same as his economic, military, diplomatic, human services, banking, finance, industry, energy, immigration and foreign policies.

In the dark but dissapproving.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 28, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

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