Specter, Post-Specter

Jillian Bandes
|
Posted: May 01, 2009 12:31 PM
Now that the deed is done, it's worth considering what Specter is getting himself into now that he's switched parties. It's not quite a pool of sharks, but it's close. His hit-or-miss liberal values promise to undermine those who assume he's going to be in lockstep with the 59 other liberal Senators and rule out any possibility of filibuster. If that doesn't happen, he's at least empowered the more moderate Dems to flex their muscles when important votes are at stake. Now that these moderates can be called upon to contribute to majority power, they matter more - and everyone knows that the one thing politicians love is to matter.

To be clear, Republicans are in a much more tenuous position without Specter. But turncoats don't make their moves because they've spent too much time towing a line. They make their moves because they're conflicted. Now, it's time for the Democrats to worry, and for Specter to second-guess himself.

Byron York at the Washington Examiner says the seeds of dissent are already stewing.
Go behind the news conferences and photo-ops, and Specter's fellow Democrats aren't exactly welcoming him with open arms and warm feelings -- or even respect. Specter's defection, one well-connected party strategist told me, "seems to me like the cowardly act of a cornered man."

Underlying Democratic feelings about Specter is this fact: Even though the party faithful are happy to have Specter's vote in the coming months, they would rather have someone else come November 2010, when Pennsylvania elects its next senator.