S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Specter's switch --

WASHINGTON - MARCH 25:  In this handout provid...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania feels "entitled" to the deal he made with Majority leader Reid over his seniority as a new Democrat. After all Specter swings power to the Democrats in the Senate, giving Democrats enough votes to cut off attempts to filibuster judicial nominations.

A new poll shows that Specter's party switch paid off, according to The Hill. He is shown to be ahead in two general election match-ups. George Stephanopoulos reported the the results would be closer if he were running against former Governor Tom Ridge.

Senator Specter seems to have been energized by his switch. And he probably feels a bit buoyed by the welcome he has gotten from his female Democratic colleagues in the Senate, according to CQ Politics. The Senator has introduced legislation to curb overreaching of the executive branch, as well as a bill (with Senator Webb) to overhaul America's criminal justice system.

In the wake of Senator Specter's switch from Republican to Democrat, people differ about whether it was courageous or ambitious. Most agree that he will remain very independent. Politico reports that "The GOP is a specter of itself." To quote,

Amid gloating among Democrats and recriminations among Republicans, the Specter divorce is both symptom and cause of the GOP collapse — leaving the opposition party on the brink of irrelevance in Barack Obama’s Washington and facing few obvious paths back to power.

The Pennsylvania Republican’s about-face, combined with the all-but-certain ascension of Minnesota Democrat Al Franken to the Senate, should soon leave Democrats with a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.

. . . But Specter’s abandonment didn’t happen in isolation. No matter whether his move was motivated by principle, fear, or opportunism — or some combination of the three — it comes in the same month as a traditionally GOP-leaning district in upstate New York tipped for the Democrats. In the nine states of the Northeast, including Pennsylvania, there are only 15 GOP House members out of 83 seats, and now just three Republicans out of 18 senators.

. . . While many Republicans were jeering Specter as he headed for the exits, few were denying that the move was a setback, both in public perceptions and legislative arithmetic.

In the midst of it all, CQ Politics reports, "Sen. Jim DeMint wants to promote new, tougher brand of party discipline in coming weeks as the leader of the Republican Steering Committee. Now facing an emboldened Democratic majority, Republicans disagree on the best survival strategy." But DeMint wants conservative purity.

Specter's switch has ushered in a whole new deal in the Senate, in my opinion. Though critics said it was pure ambition, I have to admire his honesty about his motivation. He did not resort to the typical Republican spin, which is at least a good start for him.

[Post date - May 4, 2009]

See also Behind the Links, for further info on Congress.

Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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