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May 05, 2009

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Pretty much.

I would be amazed if he manages to get re-elected at this point, regardless of what he does at this point--at least, selected from those things it is plausible he might actually do.

If he flipped again and voiced full-throated support for EFCA and the public option health care, and kept his mouth shut otherwise, he might be able to make enough people forget his jackassery to survive reelection.

But the only way I see him doing that is if the Obama administration and Democratic leadership lean on him hard. Reid's not going to do it without a spine transplant. And Obama is likely to simply go hands off and let the thing play out with the PA electorate.

I think he's simply flailing, panicking, and making bad decisions. I think he gets exactly how screwed he is and that's /why/ he's flailing and making bad decisions.

Specter just wanted the funds that the democrats infrastructure would provide because he knew the he could not get funded by the republican infrastructure.

I suppose his childish hope was that no one would notice that he got the money but never delivered anything in return.

Seems to me Specter is quite similar to many of our infamous financial elites these days. Take the money and screw everything.

Believe me, you will rapidly come to loath Spector every bit as much as Republicans did, and will understand why they thought themselves well rid of him.

I think you guys just don't have much of a clue about PA politics or of Arlen Specter, for that matter.

Lifelong PA Dem here-- and one of many that has always voted for Arlen in every one of his elections.
Arlen has always been about serving PA and the US in the way _Arlen_ deems most appropriate. You can like that or not, but Pennsylvanians have always known that and that, frankly, is why he gets reelected. He is his own man first. Arlen didn't bow to the Republicans ever. To think that he will just go quietly along with the Democratic line is frankly a bit naive.

Now onto this:
"It’d be different if we were talking about Ben Nelson in Nebraska. But we’re not – PA is a solidly Democratic state."

Yes, it is. It is a solidly Democratic, working class, huntin' gun-totin', union oriented state. These are not liberal Dems -- they are just as likely to have attended 12 years of Catholic school, and to go to church on a regular basis . They are proud of the military, and fly the flag. The reason why they liked Obama is the same reason that Iowans liked Obama-- they realized that he was actually pretty centrist, really smart, and tended toward the middle ground on inflammatory issues. Perfect for Pennsylvania.

Those who think Specter will be easily defeated are apparently ignoring statistics (the overwhelming advantages of incumbency) as well as recent history (the resurrection of Lieberman). He has been re-elected by Pennsylvanians because his views are not too far from theirs, and this has not changed. As a swing vote in the Senate he will command more pork and many voters will recognize this. Who could defeat Specter if he ultimately runs as an independent, like Lieberman? All those voters who abandoned the Republican party belong to Specter. Like it or not, the Democratic party strategy will be to try to buy his allegiance by offering more power and support.

Believe me, you will rapidly come to loath Spector every bit as much as Republicans did, and will understand why they thought themselves well rid of him.

What's this "come to" stuff? I haven't seen any Democrats holding any illusions about Specter being a great catch for any reason other than that he grows the caucus and makes the Republicans look bad by switching.

You probably don't read DKos, so I'm not surprised you're unaware of how critical the front-pagers there have been of Specter--before, during, and after his switch.

I think you guys just don't have much of a clue about PA politics or of Arlen Specter, for that matter.

Lifelong PA Dem here-- and one of many that has always voted for Arlen in every one of his elections.

That's nice, but anecdote is not the singular form of data, and your subsequent analysis seems to assume that every election going forward in PA will be like all the ones previous. Missing from it is any awareness of what has changed.

For starters, you might want to take a look at the "working class" part of your string of descriptors and clipped gerunds. One of the factors that has helped elect Specter in the past has been his relative union-friendliness. Now, when primaried from the right, he flips on the most important piece of union-friendly legislation in years and reaffirms his opposition to it after his switch. I invite you to describe any scenario in which Specter wins the general, let alone the Democratic primary, with labor opposition.

Because if Specter comes down on the wrong side of EFCA, he has about as much chance of winning our primary as he did the GOP primary.

Guns & crucifix dems don't like EFCA or public health care? So why are they voting dem?

Who could defeat Specter if he ultimately runs as an independent, like Lieberman?

So you're expecting him to switch again and give up on the Democratic primary and instead run as an independent? I suppose it's possible, but at that point he's starting to look awfully flighty.

If you're thinking he'll pull a Lieberman and become independent if he loses the primary, then my understanding is that's not possible because Pennsylvania, unlike Connecticut, has a sore-loser law preventing it.

Guns & crucifix dems don't like EFCA or public health care? So why are they voting dem?

Lebecka's analysis confounds things overmuch.

There's two major 'centrist' demographics in CA.

There's your George Wallace Democrats in the interior (some of whom are Republicans now), and your Eisenhower Republicans in the PA suburbs (many of whom are Democrats now).

Arlen's independent-minded elder statesman act always played best in the suburbs. He did just enough on labor and racial dog-whistling to chip off some of the blue collar vote.

Now, what he's doing now plays to the bluestocking crowd. I cannot imagine it plays well to the pistols and rosary demographic.

Catsy: I invite you to describe any scenario in which Specter wins the general, let alone the Democratic primary, with labor opposition.

It doesn't make sense to say "the general, let alone the Democratic primary." They're two totally different things. What you're saying makes sense for the primary.

In the general, his opponent is Pat Toomey or some equivalent wingnut, because that's the only kind of orc the PA GOP cares to produce these days. Toomey makes Specter look reasonable in every way, including on labor issues. The only way the unions will help to defeat Specter in the general election is if (a) the unions go insane, (b) the PA GOP goes sane, or (c) Specter literally takes a crap on the doorstep of AFL-CIO headquarters.

Mind you, I'm not saying (c) is entirely impossible. If Arlen ever says something like "As a matter of unswerving principle, I absolutely will not take a crap on the doorstep of the AFL-CIO"... then I'd worry.

His opposition to Dawn Johnsen is up there in my book. The guy is pro-choice and allegedly cares about the excesses of the executive, but he opposes her, uh, why? You have a few Republicans saying she is okay as an Obama pick, so why exactly is he opposing her?

It doesn't make sense to say "the general, let alone the Democratic primary." They're two totally different things. What you're saying makes sense for the primary.

Let me explain what I mean here.

While I doubt that the AFL-CIO would back Toomey against Specter, I have no trouble seeing them decide neither candidate deserves their endorsement if both of them oppose EFCA. While it would be stupid for a voter to sit out the election on a single issue like that, it makes sense for an interest group to sit it out if both candidates are bad for their specific agenda.

However, if he earns the enmity of labor over EFCA, Specter won't survive a primary challenge from the left. He just won't, period.

Hence the construction "the general, let alone the primary".

@ Hob
Hysterical! I can totally see Arlen taking a crap on the doorstep of the AFL-CIO, and then changing his mind on EFCA and voting for it. Just 'cause he decided to.

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