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Arlen Specter switches parties

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30456741/

 

WASHINGTON - Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter announced plans Tuesday to switch parties, a move that will push Democrats closer to total control of the U.S. Senate.

 

Specter's switch is a huge boost for President Barack Obama as he tries to advance his agenda on energy policy, health care reform and other issues.

 

With 60 votes in the 100-seat chamber, Obama's fellow Democrats could stop Republican filibusters — stalling tactics used to delay or defeat legislation.

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wasn't specter, snowe, and collins the gang of three republicans that the dems weere basically getting to 60 anyways?

 

i wouldn't be surprised in snowe and collins followed suit.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/111th_United_States_Congress#Party_summary

this makes 57+2i democrats. if al franken wins, it could give the progressives a historic majority.

Edited by Synergy

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The talking points memo pretty much covers everything, except for whether or not this move was initiated by prominent PA Democrats. I would guess it wasn't.

 

With the way Pennsylvania is going, it would take a miracle for the GOP to win this seat in 2010. Even if Specter managed to win the primary (which looked unlikely), he'd lose the general. For this reason, I'd think that Democrats would probably want one of their own in the seat rather than a moderate DINO. Of course, there is the trade-off that they're getting almost 2 years of procedural votes from him in the Senate.

 

As an aside, I find party-switching in mid-term to be despicable. If you want to switch parties, do so by running in the new party next time around. The voters elected you under a specific label, with the expectation that you'd caucus with your party. Jumping ship mid-term is a bait-'n'-switch. And no, I didn't vote for Specter in 2004, 1998, or ever.

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to be fair, spector is basically switching at the election. we have 2 year full election cycles now.

 

so what will PA dems do?

 

bob casey.

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Was he ever a republican if he voted with the democrats?

the real test of a republican is, does he raise his hand when it's asked "raise your hand if you never voted to increase government spending"

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Was he ever a republican if he voted with the democrats?

 

redstate.com says no.

 

 

rational people say yes.

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to be fair, spector is basically switching at the election. we have 2 year full election cycles now.
No.

 

The acceptable course of action is to vote procedurally with the party whose tags you won election with, for the full term. You can go ahead and give notice 2 years out that you're running next time under a different banner, that's fine with me. And your "original" party will probably kick you out of its caucus in a sour grapes move. Oh well. None of that precludes you from honoring the label you affixed to yourself.

 

If voters elect "Arlen Specter, Republican," that ought to be respected. "Arlen Specter, Democrat" was not elected Senator any more than "Joe Hoeffel, Democrat" was. Frankly, being a procedural vote for the Democrats before being elected as "Arlen Specter, Democrat" is a mere half-step away from some impersonator trying to cast his vote in the Senate.

 

--

 

As an aside, I think this shows the idiocy of the party system we have today. You've got all this intrigue and the intent of the voters being subverted, all because a politician who can probably "beat all comers" (as he put it) in a general election won't be able to do so under Pennsylvania law (he can't pull a Lieberman either and run as an independent after he loses the primary due to PA's undemocratic "sore-loser law").

 

We'd be better off under any number of new systems. I'd prefer a "blanket/jungle" primary, instant runoff voting, doing away with party labels on the ballot, etc. Hell, I'd like to go back to the Senate representing the interests of the states, and switch to a parliamentary system in the House so that more voices can be heard.

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Hopefully the Republican Party will now go the way of the Whigs, and we'll get some new voices. As the GOP fades, maybe they'll do something positive on their way down: opening us up (at least in some states) to some sort of proportional representation system.

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No.

 

The acceptable course of action is to vote procedurally with the party whose tags you won election with, for the full term. You can go ahead and give notice 2 years out that you're running next time under a different banner, that's fine with me. And your "original" party will probably kick you out of its caucus in a sour grapes move. Oh well. None of that precludes you from honoring the label you affixed to yourself.

 

If voters elect "Arlen Specter, Republican," that ought to be respected. "Arlen Specter, Democrat" was not elected Senator any more than "Joe Hoeffel, Democrat" was. Frankly, being a procedural vote for the Democrats before being elected as "Arlen Specter, Democrat" is a mere half-step away from some impersonator trying to cast his vote in the Senate.

 

should representatives represent the district by the beliefs they were elected for or by polling their district? both answers lead you Arlen Spector, Democrat

We'd be better off under any number of new systems. I'd prefer a "blanket/jungle" primary, instant runoff voting, doing away with party labels on the ballot, etc. Hell, I'd like to go back to the Senate representing the interests of the states, and switch to a parliamentary system in the House so that more voices can be heard.

 

IRV, multiparty system good.

hmm

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should representatives represent the district by the beliefs they were elected for or by polling their district? both answers lead you Arlen Spector, Democrat
Besides the fact that it's Specter and not Spector, you're wrong on both fronts.

 

On "the beliefs they were elected for," you obviously didn't follow the 2004 race. Even though Specter tacked toward the center in the general, his talking points were more in line with GOP talking points than Democratic ones.

 

On "polling their district," that's just silly. That's what elections are for. We don't poll the district every week to determine if there should be a change. We poll on election day. "Arlen Specter, Republican" won that poll. There is no "recall" provision for members of Congress. Nothing short of direct democracy can achieve the sort of constant pulse-checking you seem to want here, and that wipes out all the protections we enjoy. Direct democracy is a recipe for factions gone wild, tyranny of the majority, and civil unrest.

 

IRV, multiparty system good.

hmm

Glad to have you on board, even though you're delusional when it comes to so many other things. :)

 

Frankly, I find it tragically hilarious that we trek around the globe spreading "democracy" at the point of a gun while living under a patently undemocratic election law environment.

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Haha...I was just about to make a post entitled "Time for a 4-party system?" and then I read your response.

 

Hopefully we'd get 4 sizable parties along the lines you listed (though I think Progressive, Conservative, Libertarian and Populist would better represent the spectrum than Democrats + Greens/Socialists). Of course, you'd have some diversity within those party groups, forces nudging them in various directions, and the potential for smaller (possibly more radical) parties (or even single-issue parties) to challenge the majors on their edges.

 

I'd really like to see a Senate elected by state legislatures to represent their interests (or maybe one Senator from each state should be popularly elected and the other chosen by the legislature). Then split the House membership 50/50 between those elected by district (with IRV and/or runoffs requiring a majority to win) and those elected through proportional representation (with a 1% minimum threshold).

 

Or multi-member districts would be an improvement over what we have now.

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wasn't specter, snowe, and collins the gang of three republicans that the dems weere basically getting to 60 anyways?

 

i wouldn't be surprised in snowe and collins followed suit.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/111th_United_States_Congress#Party_summary

this makes 57+2i democrats. if al franken wins, it could give the progressives a historic majority.

 

Franken won

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not yet it is being take to courts currently and a decision is postponed till like June or July i cant remember

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Specter condemned Jim Jeffords' party switch in 2001

 

When the Vermont Republican became an independent, Specter lost a committee chairmanship in the Senate's resulting power shift. An angry Specter proposed a ban on such party switches.

 

By Peter Nicholas

3:06 PM PDT, April 28, 2009

 

Reporting from Washington -- When a Senate Republican left his party in 2001, elevating the Democrats to majority status, one member of the GOP was especially vocal about his displeasure: Arlen Specter.

 

Specter said then- Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords' decision to become an independent was disruptive to the functioning of Congress. He proposed a rule forbidding party switches that had the effect of vaulting the minority to majority status in the middle of a congressional session.

 

"If somebody wants to change parties, they can do that," Specter said at the time. "But that kind of instability is not good for governance of the country and the Senate."

 

Now it is Specter switching parties, proclaiming himself a Democrat. While the move won't throw one party out of power, it could potentially hand the Democrats a 60-vote majority and deprive the GOP of the ability to block legislation through a filibuster.

 

Eight years ago, Jeffords' decision cost Specter his chairmanship of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Specter said at the time that he wanted the rule change to prevent a party switch that could decisively swing the balance of power in the Senate overnight, disrupting U.S. domestic and foreign policy...

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Specter condemned Jim Jeffords' party switch in 2001...

To be fair, Specter lost a chairmanship over that particular switch. I'd be pretty pissed, too, if one switch completely flipped the internal workings of Congress and I lost a chairmanship. Specter's switch didn't really do that. Sure, the Democrats now have a theoretical 60-vote supermajority, but they sort of had that already because of Snowe and Specter.

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I had been thinking the same sorts of things as Mike (and we seldom agree). I remember being hurt and outraged when Ben Nighthorse Campbell switched from Democrat to Republican midterm. Yes, it probably reflected the demographics of the state at that time, but as a Democrat I felt abandoned by the person I had helped vote into office.

 

I've respected Specter as a moderate and I can understand his frustration with the Republicans as well as the political reality he is facing. I heard a similar analysis on NPR on my way home tonight. But I can also see some Pennsylvania Republicans feeling hurt and outraged at this abandonment.

Edited by tpeters
I realized I switched the parties and the post didn't make sense!

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Specter is right to switch if the party he represents no longer represents him, which was the comment made on NPR this afternoon. If people elected him because he was a republican and that's it, then maybe they made a misinformed decision. If people voted him into office because of concrete positions he holds regardless of party affiliations and he then he completely switched his ideas, they have a right to be pissed. The reason for the switch is politically motivated, though, which would lead me to believe that he can retain some reasonable voters while picking up some democratic votes.

 

I'm not from Pennsylvania so I don't really have position on the switch other than I'm happy of the potential 60 votes needed for cloture. I'm so sick of the past 8 years, its time to ram some left agenda down the rights throat for a few years.

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[a bunch of stuff speculating on what Specter is right to do, etc...

 

I'm not from Pennsylvania
Oh, really? So all that speculation is coming from a position of ignorance? Great.

 

so I don't really have position on the switch other than I'm happy of the potential 60 votes needed for cloture. I'm so sick of the past 8 years, its time to ram some left agenda down everyone's throat for a few years.
Fixed.

 

I've got some questions for you about your precious "left agenda." How much extra have you sent the Treasury to fund it? In case you don't know, you're allowed to donate money to the government. Since you think Congress is supposed to provide everyone free medical care, a chicken in every pot, and a hovercraft in every garage, I'm curious as to how much you've done to actually make that a reality.

 

I mean, what have you done besides vote for some oath-violating thugs to -- on your behalf -- forcibly take your neighbors' money and bankrupt our grandchildren?

 

There's civil dialog about the direction of our country, and then there's "We're the Deciders" authoritarianism. And that authoritarianism isn't restricted to one political party. You're engaging in a particularly despicable form of by telling us you're happy to force everyone else (including those who haven't even been born yet) to pay for your controversial endeavors. You don't even care if politicians have to become turncoats and violate the expressed will of their constituents who elected them as a member of your opposition. If you can't get 60 Democratic Senators, tempt elected Republicans into betrayal by offering them cozy chairmanships and the prospect of political self-preservation.

 

To you, the ends justify the means. Scheme, strategize and, ultimately, use force, to get your way. Because it's obviously so important to you that you're living in poverty because you've given every dime to fund the very initiatives you want shoved down the throats of all of us.

 

There's civil dialog, and then there are people like you. And the next time you laugh at some "yahoo" who discusses the legitimacy of secession and wonder why someone would even think about such a thing, look in the mirror. Because the more I hear people like you talk -- people who obviously have no respect for the way I choose to live -- the more I'd rather side with that radical "yahoo."

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