So the news is out today, news some of us have expected for a few years now–Arlen Specter has announced that he will run for re-election in 2010 as a Democrat.
One one level, this is great news (if he wins, that is). His victory, along with Al Franken’s (once Norm Coleman shuts the f*ck up and goes home), gives the Dems that golden 60th seat in the Senate. Of course, this is the Senate Dems we’re talking about, who if they had any spine whatsoever would told have told the Republican fillibusterers to go screw themselves, so maybe the supermajority won’t matter. But still, better to have it than not (if you’re a Dem, that is).
The problem, however, is already clear from Specter’s party-switch announcement. In that speech, he ALREADY has declared that he still won’t vote for EFCA. I know it’s only one piece of legislation, but for goodness’ sake. The only excuse he might have had for voting against it, as a Senator from one of the most pro-labor states in the US, is that he thought it would cost him primary votes against a more conservative opponent. If that’s no longer a risk, then why vote against it? I know, I know, some of you (Lee!) will see that he’s voting against it because it’s a bad bill, and gee, look, a guy with principles! But that’s crap.
I guess a better way of putting it is this. If you, Senator Specter, aren’t going to support legislation that Democrats and your constituents support, then what the hell do we need you for? Be an independent, if that’s what you think you are, but the Democratic party doesn’t need ANOTHER member who refuses to acknowledge the demands of his/her constituents.