02/10/2009 (7:48 am)
Sen. Arlen Specter (R, PA) has been a fixture in Pennsylvania politics as long as I can remember. However, his prominent role in providing President Obama with enough Senate votes to jam the Quadruple the Deficit With $800 Billion in Democratic Payback bill down the nation’s throat will probably spell the end of the Specter era in the Senate.
Specter’s reputation as a moderate has already caused him trouble in the PA Republican party. His last re-election run in 2004 was marred by a primary challenge from a pure free-market conservative named Pat Toomey. Toomey came within a hair’s width of unseating Specter, losing by a bare 2% in the primary.
Polls taken by Democratic operatives in December show that when offered the choice between Toomey and Specter today, Specter does not pull anywhere near 50% of the vote. Toomey only pulls about 28%, but 29% are undecided. The failure to pull 50% in a straw poll like this is considered the mark of vulnerability among political operatives. That was before the Make Our Grandchildren Pay For Our Liberal Fantasy bill. The outrage in the Republican party is likely to be such right now that Specter can count on a challenge from at least one solid conservative in his re-election bid in 2010, and will very likely lose. Exeo Specterus. (Is he being exSpecterated?)
Unfortunately, the same Democratic poll shows Pat Toomey losing handily to any one of a number of generic D candidates. While this might be different for a different candidate (I honestly wouldn’t mind them drafting Rick Santorum again but I think that’s unlikely,) I’m afraid the drift in Pennsylvania has been to the left, so PA’s remaining Republican seat in the US Senate could easily become a Democratic seat by 2011.
Of course, two years of Obama and a strongly Democratic Congress could very easily change the national mood dramatically, particularly if the Recreate the Great Depression On Steroids bill does what I expect it will do to us. If by 2010 it’s apparent that we’re falling off a cliff, and if the press has not managed to convince the uneducated that despite the full control of Democrats and the malfeasance of Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer, it’s Not Really Their Fault, Specter could be replaced by a real Republican — the first time that seat had been held by such a beast in my lifetime. And then about whom would the Kennedy Conspiracy Loons make their “single-bullet theory” jokes?
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Comment by darkhorse
The way it looks, I think 2010 would be wildly optimistic for the mess we’re in to be finished. And, if we don’t hit bottom for another couple of years, I wonder at the willingness to ascribe anything yet to the “Recreate the Great Depression On Steroids bill”.
Personally, if the whole bill was geared toward public works projects (an area where you and I definitely agree the government has a responsibility for), I’d be far more comfortable. Not only more gainfully employed as a surveyor : )
Comment by RM
The only silver lining to this in my view is that one way or the other, I believe it will take a couple of years to work our way out of this (if it can be “worked out of” at all). With Obama having gotten his victory on this one, R’s can sit back and snipe at this point as things continue to sour. “He got everything he wanted, and guess what – things still stink, and are getting worse. We tried to tell you, but…”
If things do worsen, and it lasts for a few years, I think some of it will be associated with the Obama administration.
At some point, a while down the road, it will be pretty hard to keep blaming Bush for everything that goes wrong. He and the media will try, for sure, but at some point, IMO, there will be a day of reckoning. By this win, I believe accountability, or at least a sliver of it, is up on the table now.
I loathe that type of negative, dumbed down politics, but God help us, it seems to work. And if the stimulus bill does not drag us over a cliff, well, that may be what passes for good news for the next four years.
Comment by robert verdi
he thinks he is currying favor with the Democrats, if ends up being the nominee the democrats are going to laugh in his face and he will have no one to defend him for we will remember what he did.
Comment by RM
BTW, Phil, I agree that PA has been moving leftward. It’s not only Philadelphia, which has always been a big Dem stronghold, as one might expect. I understand that there is a large segment of suburban Philly that is moderate to liberal, almost seeming like a parallel to the huge suburban areas in northern New Jersey that are always a big Democrat voting block.
Michael Smerconish, a big talk show host in Philadelphia (you know him, Phil) stunned his conservative listeners with his endorsement of Obama this past election. I have not tracked the PA polls but my feel is that there are many like him in PA who went that way – the ‘thoughtful’ conservatives and self described moderates.
I’m trying to get a handle on what they are thinking now. Smerconish has always been a big Spector supporter/friend.
Comment by Phil
And, if we don’t hit bottom for another couple of years, I wonder at the willingness to ascribe anything yet to the “Recreate the Great Depression On Steroids bill”.
While it’s likely that it won’t be possible to sort out causes and effects dispositively for several decades, I don’t see that that prevents me from speaking on the basis of theory as I understand it and history as we’ve come to understand it. What the government is doing parallels what was done in the 1930s, and also what has been done by Japan in the 1990s. There is no indication that these acts helped a thing, and some indications that they hurt a great deal. Moreover, the bill itself has little to do with stimulus and much to do with creating a permanent socialist state, and the outcome of that exercise is likewise predictable.