Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter to switch parties

Huh. Now obviously, the ideal situation would be for Specter to lose in the Democratic primary to a more Democratic Democrat, who would then proceed to pwn Toomey in the general (sorry, Arlen--while I sort of appreciate the fact that you're willing to go against the grain here, it wouldn't be very hard for us to do a lot better, politically speaking). I have no idea how much support he can expect in the primary--will Democrats be willing to vote for a former enemy?--but I don't think it should be hard for whoever is nominated to take down Toomey--yeah, we have a lotta nuts in Pennsylvania--but I am virtually certain that they're insufficiently numerous and insufficiently nutty to elect someone as absolutely batshit as ol' Pat. So this could be a good gain all around.

But let's say Specter runs and wins as a Democrat. Great, you say. Another blue-dog type. Just what we need. And I share your annoyance, believe me. We might think of it another way, however. Let's face it: the Republicans are floundering something fierce. They have no coherent message, no clear leaders, and most people hate them. As much as I dislike Bayh, Nelson, Lieberman (barf) and the like, they aren't on the same level of crazy as actual Republicans, and it seems to me that we could be seeing the start of a real political sea change--that is, the Republicans are marginalized into complete, permanent irrelevance, and so the balance of power shifts. Right now the political divide is between, 1) progressives, moderates, and conservatives (Democrats); and, 2) screaming lunatics (Republicans). Once the Republicans are no longer a factor, we could see the Democrats split in half, and then we'd have, instead, a divide between actual liberals and non-insane conservatives. This kind of thinking is probably incredibly premature, but it no longer seems as crazy as it once did, and man would it ever be great for this country.


Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

I don't really have anything against conservative Democrats per se. I personally would have no problem voting for a conservative who was opposed to global military intervention. There are some politicians who have always been economic or even social conservatives, and yet seemed to prefer to focus on those issues in a domestic scope, instead of jumping on the global crusade bandwagon. The problem with Lieberman isn't that he is "conservative" on domestic issues (actually he was relatively liberal on some of them), the problem is that he believes that the purpose of America is to spread democracy to every point in the globe by torturing foreigners. As I recall, Specter wasn't really one of the eternal-war people, or at least he was much less enthused about that than most prominent Republicans.


6:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown pontificated to the effect that...

I've never been a fan of Specter, and I've never really considered him a 'moderate' like commentators sometimes call him when he doesn't play into ridiculous partisan politics, but I have respected him as an intelligent and (relatively) reasonable sentator. This despite his party affiliation.

I'm sure he knows what he's doing, which is, in part, setting himself up as the paragon of the so-called moderates, win or lose. At worst, he'll have a guaranteed run on the talk show circuit, a slot at any 24 hour 'news' network, and a better book deal for his memoirs than most senators get. That's after the election. Until then, it sets him up as the go-to-guy for that coveted 60th vote to avoid threats of filibuster.

I suppose that's fine, even if it means we get a warped sense of what it means to be moderate, and even if the country is worse off for having one less stable, rational voice in the room when Republicans make decisions. It's just one man, right? But what happens if it does become a trend? Couldn't that be painful before it gets easier? If it gets easier. When the Democrats were marginalized in national politics, it made their adherents angry while their opponents ran amock, without anyone to check them. As it did in Canada when the Liberals ran things and no other party had a respectable showing in Parliament, it also lead to brazen corruption. And then, it revitalized the opposition.

So, really, I was kind of hoping Specter would tough it out on the other side of the isle, and inspire more conservatives toward reasonable and rational politics. To be honest, I was even conflicted about the idea of him losing to Pat Toomey the first time around, even though it would have entailed an easy victory for any decent Dem in the general election.

Ah well.

2:06 PM  

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