Well, didn't see THAT coming. Specter is just about the last Republican who I'd think would cross, though there are polls out there that had him not even making it out of a Republican primary in 2010.
Of note, if (when) Minnesota can finally seat Franken, this gets the Dems to the magic 60-vote mark to block filibusters, provided Lieberman still plays ball (The other Independent Senator is Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who seems pretty solidly in the Democratic side)
Ladies and gentlemen, the following public service message is brought to you by your friends from D-Generation X, who would like to remind each and every one of you that if you're not down with that, we've got two words for you... I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in Mitch McConnell's office when he got the news.
Actually, I take that back, since I'd probably have been flattened by one of the inevitably numerous books Mitch threw at it.
smark/net attack Advisory System Status is: Elevated (Holds; June 18, 2006) While the switch from Cena to RVD should alleviate some complaints, the inevitability of the belt's return to Cena (note where Summerslam is this year) and the poor initial showing by the new ECW are enough to keep the indicator where it is for now. The pieces are in place, though, especially on RAW, for improvements to be made to the IWC's psyche in the near future.
I have to think Lieberman was made very aware that he will not be allowed to do anything organizationally to disrupt things or they will pull the trigger and toss him from the caucus. Once Franken is seated, and he will be seated, Obama's agenda is going to find the road a lot clearer. The Blue Dogs will be able to find cover under the notion that "while I didn't vote for (insert bill here) I did not feel that it would do right by the people to deny a vote on the issue" and they can still run at home on the idea they didn't vote for whatever it is.
Specter was going to be primaried and primaried HARD if he had stayed in the GOP. Hell, he might have just decided that he's going to not run again and wanted to spend the last couple years working on legacy building, since I suspect Obama and Reid have to have promised him anything he wants to get this vote.
Originally posted by kwikOf note, if (when) Minnesota can finally seat Franken, this gets the Dems to the magic 60-vote mark to block filibusters, provided Lieberman still plays ball (The other Independent Senator is Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who seems pretty solidly in the Democratic side)
Both of these men are obligated to vote with the Democrats on all procedural matters, including a vote of cloture, if they want to maintain their more prominent committee positions (Lieberman has much more to lose in that regard than Sanders does). Lieberman, in caucusing with the Democrats, has indirectly already promised to vote with them if this filibuster issue comes up, and he would be an idiot to break that promise.
Both men are free to vote as they wish on policy proposals, of course.
This isn't a totally surprising move, as Specter would likely have lost the Republican primary to Pat Toomey. There was some speculation that he might go independent, but becoming fully Democrat wasn't really suspected.
This doesn't stop Specter from getting primaried (it would be very easy for a 'real' Democratic candidate to run against Specter and get the labor vote on his/her side), but in the interim it's a win for the Democrats. Shocking that after being at a low ebb in 2004, the Dems have risen all the way up to a 60-seat supermajority.
Kirk, crackers are a family food. Happy families. Maybe single people eat crackers, we don't know. Frankly, we don't want to know. It's a market we can do without.
I haven't read fivethirtyeight in maybe a month, but I remember him saying that Specter was one of the Republicans who the Democrats might be able to get on their side, given the political climate in their state.
This wasn't completely unexpected. This was probably less about Specter moving to the left (or the Republican Party moving to the right) than it was Specter trying to keep hold of his Senate seat. He was in such a deep hole against Pat Toomey that it would have been political suicide for him to run in the primary as a Republican. And I imagine there was some kind of deal struck that the DSCC wouldn't endorse another candidate in the primary.