Rich Galen

Let's review the bidding.

Tom Ridge will not run for Senator from Pennsylvania. He has decided to pass up the chance to trample an ultra-conservative Republican in the primary and sneak past a former-moderate-Republican in the general election for Senate in 2010.

Tom Ridge would have been the Senator from Pennsylvania, but he is smart to want to be the Senator from Pennsylvania.

Arlen Specter has a pain-in-the, er, tush for nearly 30 years. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980 - the same year as Ronald Reagan was elected President and Dan Quayle was elected Senator from Indiana.

At the time he was 50. He is now 79. Keep that in mind.

Specter was being challenged in a Republican primary by Pat Toomey who was the head of the Club for Growth.

I have been a long-time critic of the Club for Growth because that organization exists solely to raise money challenging moderate Republicans in primaries. I do not believe - and I might be wrong about this - that the Club for Growth has ever dislodged a moderate Republican in a primary and then won that seat with a more conservative candidate.

My beef with the Club for Growth has been: There are plenty of Democrats to go after why diminish the GOP by working for the defeat of Republicans?

Pat Toomey is a former three-term Congressman from Pennsylvania. According to

His first career was in investment banking from 1984 through 1991. He developed and managed a $21 billion derivatives trading operation for Morgan Grenfell Finance, Inc. in New York, supervising sales and trading operations in New York, London, and Tokyo

Really. Toomey was a derivatives trader? Like all those other thugs on Wall Street? Managed $21 billion? I think I'd like to hear a little bit more about Mr. Toomey's previous professional life. Don't you?

Anyway, Sen. Specter is so unpopular with Republicans in Pennsylvania that they told pollsters they preferred a Wall Street derivatives hooligan like Pat Toomey to Specter in the GOP primary next year.

Arlen, being a creature of the Senate, walked over to have a sit-down with Majority Leader Harry Reid to see what kind of deal he might strike to move to the Democrat side of the Senate Chamber and run as a Dem for re-election in 2010.

This gets a little murky because Arlen says Harry told him that he would be allowed to keep his nearly-30-year seniority. But the rest of the Democratic caucus thought otherwise and as of Wednesday Specter went to work finding himself the most junior member of the Democratic Senate Caucus.

He is now a 79-year-old freshman.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at