Monday, December 21, 2009

"Ungovernable" (II)

Arlen Specter joins the party:

Whatever the cause, things have gotten bad enough that Senator Arlen Specter, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said the Senate should be stripped of one of its illustrious institutional claims.

“This body prides itself on being the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Mr. Specter said. “That designation has been destroyed with what has occurred here the past few days.”

In other news, Rep. Joe Sestak's primary challenge to Specter from the left has really turned Specter into a model Democrat. Just check out his twitter: he opposes expanding the war in Afghanistan, supports a strong public option, talks a lot about fair trade policies, is very loudly pro-choice, and has avoided any histrionics regarding his cloture vote on major Democratic legislation. On Afghanistan he's actually outflanking his liberal challenger on the left. (To be fair, Sestak is a retired Admiral, so it makes sense. It's still somewhat remarkable, though.)

Call me a cynic, but I think it's purely because (as he has shown in the past) his principles change when he faces any sort of challenge to his seat. Specter's only principle is to get reelected.


  1. "Specter's only principle is to get reelected."
    Sestak has shown himself to have even less principle. He voted for the war he campaigned against. He raised an additional $3 million for his re-election campaign to the 7th CD, that he didn't need and didn't spend, so it could be diverted to a Senate campaign. In the business world, such a diversion of funds from their original purpose would be investor fraud, instead of "politics as usual".

    After only one term in Congress (as soon as he got elected to a second term), Sestak jumped into a Senate race, in the process abandoning a seat that the GOP wants to win back desperately.

  2. I hardly think voting for a bill funding the Iraq war is the same as voting for the war. He is a military man, he knows that it's one thing to criticize a war, and another to withold funding to make a political point about wanting to end that war.

    On the whole, I have a hard time putting Sestak's shenanigans on the same level as Specter's brazen opportunism. It's not that he switched parties, it's that he did so because he looked at polling and realized he would lose in a GOP Primary to Pat Toomey. He actually would have had more power staying as a moderate Republican (just look at how the Dems bend over backwards to try get the votes of Snowe and Collins), but he would be out of a job in 2011. So he jumped ship.