Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Genius of Arlen Specter

arlen specter's greatest gift has always been his knack for self-preservation. in fact, that is the hallmark of a great politician: someone who is like a chameleon and can change his color to meet the times. that is exactly what specter is doing right now except he is doing it for reasons you might not expect.

even though specter's instincts for survival are strong, another hallmark of a great politician is being able to make things happen without it seeming like they were the one pulling the strings. let me explain.

specter switched parties because he was going to lose to toomey in the primary which would guarantee that any democrat, whether it be allyson schwartz, patrick murphy, or joe sestak, would win the seat. once specter switched, the democratic establishment both inside pennsylvania and in washington, quickly jumped on the specter bandwagon in an attempt to clear the democratic field for him knowing that specter could beat toomey in a race in front of the general electorate of pennsylvania. at this point, it would seem like an open-and-shut case for specter: toomey wins the republican primary, specter the democratic and eventually specter would win in the fall of 2010. but this is where things start to go a little haywire and have led me to believe that there is more going on here than meets the eye...

one would expect that specter, having switched to the democratic party, would start to, well...act like a democrat! you would expect him to start embracing some of the democratic positions like health care, EFCA, and support for al franken over norm coleman, but specter being specter he has done none of this. because of these positions specter has riled up the democratic base of pennsylvania and has led to joe sestak to start openly talking about challenging specter in the democratic primary. at the same time there is now talk of tom ridge challenging pat toomey in the republican primary and early polls (taken with a grain of salt - ridge has near 100% name recognition in the state) show ridge beating toomey handily. so now we have a situation where there may be contested primaries on both sides: specter vs. sestak and ridge vs. toomey. this creates a situation that no one could have thought about just a week ago...that is no one could have thought about this except arlen specter!

think about how this might play out. ridge beats toomey. specter continues being a thorn in the side of the democrats and sestak beats specter. its now ridge vs. sestak. ridge wins, republicans keep the seat. we can also imagine a scenario where ridge beats toomey, but specter beats sestak. this is a win-win for specter: if he beats ridge (which i think is doubtful), he keeps the seat. if he loses to ridge, republicans keep the seat. the only way the dems hold this seat is if toomey somehow beats ridge in the primary, which is not impossible, but in my mind unlikely.

this is the genius of arlen specter. he has managed to pull the wool over everyones eyes. only i see the real truth!

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