Arlen Specter switching to the Democratic Party was last week's bombshell. I wrote that it would change NOTHING, but only expose the more rapid pus that is running from the Republican sores right now. Specter's leaving was an embarrassment to the Republican Party that continuing to say NO with no countering ideas, continued negativity, repeated hate mongering will not help their cause, thus the independents and moderates have left that party, at least for now.
Specter was welcomed with open arms by the Democrats, but as I wrote he brings nothing new to the table and as we heard him this morning on Meet the Press, he showed us he is nothing new.
GREGORY: It was reported this week that when you met with the president, you said, "I will be a loyal democrat. I support your agenda." Let me test that on probably one of the most important areas of his agenda, and that's health care. Would you support health care reform that puts up a government run public plan to compete with a private plan issued by a private insurance company?
SPECTER: No. And you misquote me, David. I did not say I would be a loyal Democrat. I did not say that. And last week, after I said I was changing parties, I voted against the budget because the budget has a way to pass health care with 51 votes, which undermines a basic Senate institution to require 60 votes to impose closure on key issues.... I did not say I am a loyal Democrat.
No one should be surprised at what Specter said on Meet the Press, I am not. He is a moderate, who was a Democrat, who switched to the Republican Party in the 60s, but switched back to the Democratic Party only because his Republican Primary looks pretty grim and having the backing of the Democratic Party will only help him going forward. Specter said up front that he is not going to vote the party line, we saw that this week.
It's quite a start for Specter's career in Democratic politics, isn't it? In the four whole days he's been a Democrat, Specter has voted against the Democratic budget, rejected a Democratic measure to help prevent mortgage foreclosures and preserve home values, announced his opposition to the president's OLC nominee, and this morning rejected a key centerpiece of the Democratic health care plan.
This is the New Democrat that Obama and Biden are embracing. This New Democrat came out on television and said he would oppose any public offering of health care that would challenge insurance companies. This is the New Democrat that has all of Washington, D.C. talking about. The only thing new about him is that he wants the Obama Machine to save his you know what.
On the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow for easier unionization, Specter strongly suggested -- as he did during the speech announcing his party switch -- that he would support a filibuster of the legislation. "I'm still against that bill," he said. "Democrats are all for it. Republicans are all against it. I'm the critical vote. If I see that there are other issues where I feel a matter of conscience, I will continue a filibuster against legislation."
On a public option for health insurance -- which conservatives claim will end the private market, but most observers say could bring down the costs of coverage for millions of Americans -- Specter said he would be in opposition. "That's what I said and that's what I meant," he added later, when asked if he would vote "no" on public health care.
Well, he is nothing new to me. Arlen Specter may be admired and loved in Washington, D.C. but what about Pennsylvanians? If he is going to switch to be a Democrat, one would think he would be more in the Democratic mind of thinking. I don't expect any politician to walk lock step for any administration; we had that last time around and see where it got us, but to switch means that your mode of thinking must bear some fruit of the Democratic thinking. For me, Specter does not.
Specter only cares about the CYA, y'all. Covering that you know what when the primary and general season is upon him in 2010. He gets the lavish opportunity to have President Obama campaign for him during the primaries and general. He does not have to worry about the warped Republican Primaries, which continues to challenge the moderate likes of Specter, to have a right winger to win, only to lose in the general. He does not have to worry about that.
In the end though, one must sit back and pause, just to ask the question, is Specter worth it? Right now, I don't think so.
I am hearing the small but ardent pattering of feet, chanting "Sestak". We will see.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has the information on the internal polling numbers of the poll Specter's office took and the real reason that all of a sudden he is a Democrat.
Cross-posted @ Daily Kos