Specter Goes Blue — Democrats Now Have 59 With Potential of a 60 Filibuster-Proof Majority

160px-arlen_specter_official_senate_photo_portraitFaced with dim prospects for reelection in Pennsylvania, Sen. Arlen Specter has announced that he will switch parties. The question is how democrats in Pennsylvania will feel about Specter who supported Bush on critical issues. After eight years under George W. Bush, Specter has come to the conclusion that he is really a Democrat and does not share the same GOP values as his former party.

Specter issued a statement that “I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” Specter came to this epiphany not during the torture debate or the unlawful surveillance debate (which he publicly criticized the Administration but ultimately voted to back up the president), but rather when Republicans are failing like leaves and Democrats are preparing for a highly likely victory. By resigning now, Specter hopes to start to vote in line with his state to erase the memories of the last six years in his votes on Supreme Court nominees, immunity and other issues. Spector has often played Hamlet on such issues publicly, but largely worked with the Administration in securing votes on most of these issues. Indeed, his Chairmanship (before the fall of the GOP in the Senate) was based on his assured loyalty to the Bush agenda.

What is interesting is that in the statement below, Specter focuses on the unpopularity of the stimulus vote to Republicans and says that he regrets that so many in the GOP do not want him for their candidate. It falls a bit flat as a statement of principle and value differences.

The Senate Democrats have welcomed Specter into the fold and are expected to give him some seniority benefits for his defection.

Specter, 79 is in his fifth term and his new strategy will test how short the memory of Pennsylvania voters is. , is one of a handful of Republican moderates remaining in Congress in a party now dominated by conservatives. Several officials said the White House as well as leaders in both parties had been involved in discussions leading to his move.

If Franken wins in Minnesota, it will give Democrats total control and filibuster proof in the Senate.

Here is his full statement this afternoon:

Statement by Sen. Arlen Specter:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the state, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for reelection in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for reelection determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for reelection because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch, which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (card check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.
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86 thoughts on “Specter Goes Blue — Democrats Now Have 59 With Potential of a 60 Filibuster-Proof Majority”

  1. Mario Apuzzo, attorney for Plaintiffs in Kerchner v. Obama, made note of the Defendant’s second request for a time extension in this case:

    Motion to Extend Time to Answer, Move, or Otherwise Respond & Declaration of Counsel has been filed by the defendants. The defendants have already had over two months to answer, move, or otherwise respond. As of the current deadline of May 5th they will have had 75 days from the time they were served to respond. In our opinion, that is an adequate amount of time to answer or move or other wise respond. An objection will be filed to this second request by the defendants for a further extension of time.

    As Mr. Apuzzo noted on April 13, the government is always given 60 days by which to respond to any complaint brought against it. On that same date, the federal government requested an additional 15 days by which to respond, making the deadline May 5, 2009 for any motions on their part. Subsequently, per paragraph 10 of the motion, the Defendants have requested an additional 20 days to respond, making the would-be deadline June 1, 2009.

    Of the reasons for the time extension request, Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Pascal mentions that Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have both requested the DOJ to represent them in this matter. Also, per paragraph 8, Attorney Pascal mentions: “I was unaware that I could move for an extension of time to answer, move, or otherwise respond to the complaint pending the representation decision for those Defendants”

    She also notes in paragraph 11:“The delay in filing a response in this case would in no way prejudice the Plaintiffs, but would provide a fair opportunity for the Department to respond appropriately to the allegations in the Complaint…” “The Second Amended Complaint is extensive, as it is comprised of 12 counts, with 347 paragraphs and 43 single-spacedendnotes of allegations, and a 30-paragraph prayer for relief.”


    (United States of America) – April 29th 2009 – At 8 P.M, ET American Grand Jury convened and conducted a hearing with regard to CRIMINAL activity, complaints and allegations presented before said Jury.

    After reviewing the evidence and voting, the 32 member American Grand Jury handed down the presentment(s) recommending that person(s) known as Barack Obama, aka: Barack Obama, Jr., aka: Barack Hussein Obama, aka: Barry Soetoro; aka: Barry Obama; aka: Barack H. Obama, aka: Barack Obama II, presumed President of the United States, be tried in Criminal Court for charges of fraud (eligibility) and treason.

    Said Grand Jury was convened under the power and authority vested with the people as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States of America, Amendent 5 of the Bill of Rights.

  3. James Schneller, Plaintiff pro se in Schneller v. Cortes, released the following statement regarding Pennsylvania’s Senator Arlen Specter being appointed as an Elector in the Electoral College:

    WASHINGTON, DC – Pennsylvanian James D. Schneller raises in his petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, filed on April 6, 2009, regarding failure of eligibility of Barack Obama for office, the fact that Senator Arlen Specter was appointed as a Pennsylvania elector for the 2008 presidential election.

    Article 2 Section 1 of the United States Constitution directs that “no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector. “

    Was the Senator so certain of a McCain loss that he felt above the law ? What other purpose might this illegal appointment serve ? This appointment is, at the least, further proof that much of Congress takes Presidential elections lightly and may have abandoned basic rights and principles that Americans hold sacred !


    You will notice that a certain “Arlen Specter” is listed as a Presidential Elector for John McCain and Sarah Palin, second row, fourth from the bottom.

    Clearly, we do not have proper enforcement mechanisms regarding America’s electoral process in place at all. No wonder so many people are ignorant about eligibility issues; States aren’t even properly enforcing their own Electoral College process!

    Then again, what does this say about the morals and ethics of folks like Sen. Arlen Specter? I suppose it is appropos to suggest that he truly wishes to make himself known by any means necessary.

    Signed X, Malcolm

  4. FFLEO,
    “Amazing Grace” well sung always brings tears to my eyes as does “Shall We Gather At The River.” Neither one could be described as Jewish Hymns, but they are oh so beautiful and so full of human emotion.

  5. FFLEO:

    my “transformation” was really in seeing that “Liberals” arent necessarily so liberal. I like the fact that most on this blog are very much into individual liberty and generally seem to be against big government intrusion in our daily lives. I had actually thought I would find people opposed to individual freedom and in favor of big government. And they typically want the same things I do, a prosperous happy and peaceful society.

    All in all it has been an education. However I still think free market capitalism is the way to go to achieve those goals, although I have mellowed somewhat in thinking that maybe the sharks do need to be restrained somewhat.

  6. Yes, Sir, Mike.

    I love a beautiful old hymnal from my youth entitled; ‘Just As I Am’. Although I thoroughly and unequivocally have rejected religion, those old hymns still remind me of the inherent qualities with which humans are born.

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