Arlen Specter

Specter A Yes Vote On Health Reform?
April 29, 2009

Ezra Klein thinks Arlen Specter is looking more and more like a "yes" vote on health reform. There were, Ezra notes, some curious references to health care in Specter's press conference on Tuesday and Obama's on Wednesday night. And then there's Specter's own recent history: Arlen Specter has had a tough few years. In 2005, he was diagnosed with an advanced form of Hodgkin's lymphoma. Chemotherapy took months. His hair fell out. His friend John Sununu shaved his own head in solidarity. But treatment was successful, or seemed so. In 2008, however, the cancer returned.

Daily Affirmations 4/29
April 29, 2009

I've always been annoyed at the way the Republian Party's rightward drift is constantly defined as the triumph of social conservatism, when in reality it's the extreme economic thinking that has become the party's true litmus test. But the point of Daily Affirmations is to be happy, not annoyed! So rather than pick apart Olympia Snowe's op-ed that implictly argues that social conservatives drove Arlen Specter out of the GOP, I'll point out others who make my point for me. 1.

Nate Silver Is... Wrong?
April 29, 2009

The invaluable Nate Silver is being very uncharacteristically obtuse. Yesterday, I reacted to Arlen Specter's decision thusly: When a politician switches parties, it’s customary for the party he’s abandoned to denounce him as an unprincipled hack, and the party he’s joined to praise him as a brave convert who’s genuinely seen the light.

Did Specter And The Dems Miscalculate?
April 28, 2009

Ramesh Ponnuru has a great find: Arlen Specter's indignant reaction to James Jeffords' 2001 party switch. An excerpt: I intend to propose a rule change which would preclude a future recurrence of a Senator's change in parties, in midsession, organizing with the opposition, to cause the upheaval which is now resulting. I take second place to no one on independence voting. But, it is my view that the organizational vote belongs to the party which supported the election of a particular Senator. I believe that is the expectation.

Are Collins And Snowe Next?
April 28, 2009

Ben Smith notes that in 1994, seven Congressional Democrats went over to the GOP, suggesting that Specter's switch to the Dems "could be the beginning, not the end, of a party shuffle." The obvious candidates to follow Specter--since I don't think Richard Burr or John Cornyn is going to become a Dem any time soon--are his fellow Northeastern Republicans, Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. But I doubt this is going to happen.

Tnr On The Newest Senate Democrat
April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter Switching Parties? The scoop, the Senator's statement, and Michael Crowley What a Specter Shift Means--and Doesn't Mean Specter's switch is a big deal.

Michael Steele Needs A New Speechwriter
April 28, 2009

Here's the first line of Michael Steele's response to Arlen Specter's party switch: Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not. Okay, so that sets up the expectation that Steele is going to lament Specter's switch and talk about the need for the GOP to have a big tent. Not exactly the response you would expect, but that certainly seems to be what Steele's driving at. But then you read the rest of Steele's statement: Let's be honest-Senator Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind.

What A Specter Shift Means--and Doesn't Mean
April 28, 2009

A little while ago, my colleague Mike Crowley heard from sources that Arlen Specter is leaving the Republican Party. And I see now that the Washington Post is reporting it, as well. But the headline currently on the Post home page--"Democrats Get Filibuster-Proof Majority"--is bit overstated. Yes, the Dems will have sixty votes in the Senate. But Colorado Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson isn't a reliable Democratic vote and, to a lesser extent, neither are moderate Dems like Indiana's Evan Bayh. Still, this is a big deal.

I Was Against Card Check Before I Was For It
March 27, 2009

Republican Senator Arlen Specter announced this week that he will vote against the Employee Free Choice Act, a reversal of his position in 2007 when he was the only GOP senator to vote for cloture. Specter has been quick to defend his apparent flip-flop, arguing that his 2007 vote did not equate to support of the union-friendly bill, but was rather just an attempt “to take up the issue of labor law reform,” out of an implied procedural respect for Congress--a claim, though cryptic, he did make at the time to both the Lancaster New Era and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Arlen Specter (d(?)-pa)
March 16, 2009

Much to my surprise, Pennsylvania Democrats do like Arlen Specter. They really like him. --Jason Zengerle