Arlen Specter

Crist's Slow Escape From The GOP
March 29, 2010

Yesterday's debate between Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio doesn't change my long-held view that Crist will/should run for Senate as an independent. This answer to the question of whether he'll run as an independent, for instance, sounded awfully like the words of a man who, at the very least, is keeping the door open: CRIST: I'm running as a Republican. I'm very proud to be from the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, others that really have stood up for the principles of our party, like Ronald Reagan. This is a great party. It has a great future.

The Democrats' Turnout Emergency
March 10, 2010

Partisans on both sides have a tendency to want to believe that their party's troubles can be solved by moving away from the center and instead locking down the base. It's usually not true. In this case, however, there seems to be strong evidence that an unenthusiastic base is in fact the Democrats' biggest problem. A new Democracy Corps poll shows that voters who are most likely to vote in November are far more opposed to the Democrats than voters who aren't (Democracy Corps calls the latter group "Drop-Off Voters").

Keystone Blues
February 24, 2010

Scott Brown did not win in Massachusetts because Democrat Martha Coakley believed that Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling liked the Yankees. If you want to see the same chilling pattern that elected Brown in erstwhile Democratic Massachusetts, look at the latest Franklin and Marshall poll on Pennsylvania politics. Pennsylvania has voted for a Democratic president since 1992. It has two Democratic senators, a Democratic governor, and its congressional delegation consists of twelve Democrats to seven Republicans.

Tumbling Dice
January 25, 2010

I continue to hear people saying that Martha Coakley’s defeat in Massachusetts had nothing or very little to do with the approval of the Obama administration in that state. For those who continue to adhere to this opinion, let’s look at some other states where the decline in a candidate’s polls can’t be explained away by the Democratic candidate’s ineptitude.

Hold Off On Those Climate Bill Obituaries....
January 05, 2010

Seems like the conventional wisdom in Washington right now is that there's no way the Senate passes a climate bill in 2010—especially after that long, gory health care battle we just saw. Here's The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "No matter what Obama and his advisers said… there is now no chance that the Administration's climate-change proposal will come up for a vote in the Senate prior to the 2010 election.

A (Very!) Promising Sign From Lieberman and Collins
December 04, 2009

This morning, three key moderates--Republican Susan Collins, Independent Joe Lieberman, and Democrat Arlen Specter--announced the introduction of a cost-containment amendment to the health-care bill that sent a promising signal about their desire to support the overall Senate bill. The announcement was the strongest indication yet that Collins is a gettable vote and that Lieberman is more persuadable than he previously signaled. Describing the amendment as a “tri-partisan effort,” Collins described the overall bill as containing “a number of promising ideas” that they were hoping to bolster.

Toomey's Two-Step
November 23, 2009

Congressional Quarterly's Shira Toeplitz has a good rundown on all the ways in which presumptive Pennsylvania GOP Senate nominee Pat Toomey has moved to the center ever since Arlen Specter bolted for the Democratic Party. Which makes me again wonder whether it was a mistake for Obama to encourage Specter's defection.** If Obama hadn't welcomed Specter with open arms and Specter had been forced to stay in the GOP, he almost certainly would have lost the Republican primary to Toomey, who planned to run to Specter's right.

Is The Natural Gas Lobby Playing Both Sides?
October 01, 2009

The new Kerry-Boxer climate bill in the Senate shows a lot of love for the natural-gas industry, as Brad noted yesterday. Not only would a price on carbon give natural gas an advantage over more carbon-heavy fuels like oil or coal, but Barbara Boxer specifically added a "clean energy" provision to her bill, which would reward electric utilities for switching from oil or coal to natural gas.

The Homer Simpson Party
August 07, 2009

First it was Arlen Specter announcing that he was switching parties explicitly because he didn't think he could be reelected as a Republican. Next, of course, it was Sarah Palin eschewing politics as usual by vacating the Alaska governor's mansion eighteen months before the conclusion of her term. Now, it's Florida Senator Mel Martinez, who'd already announced he wasn't running for reelection in 2010, following Homer Simpson's immortal dictum "If at first you don't succeed, give up" by quitting office early. His reason?

It's Pat
July 22, 2009

The Quinnipiac poll Jason cited this morning, showing Arlen Specter in a dead heat race with Republican opponent Pat Toomey certainly isn't good news for Specter (and the polling trajectory to date is awfully unpromising), but it may not be quite as dire as it seems. As Nate Silver points out: Toomey is much less known than Specter -- only 44 percent were able to register an opinion about him, although most of those that did thought positively of him.