Obligatory Arlen Specter Post

First impression: Rank opportunism.

Second impression: This could be bad.

Third impression: File this under never gonna happen, but it is nice to imagine.

Fourth impression: What does this say about the “better democrats” part of “more and better democrats?”

My first thought here, of course, is that it says nothing. The Republican brand and conservative ideology are losing followers rather than gaining them, so attempting ideological primaries is a dangerous game. The Democratic brand, on the other hand, is rising, and the public’s openness to progressive leadership is robust. But, that is a hefty dose of hubris, almost up there with the “permanent Republican majority.”

That said, I do suspect that there are national trends that could be harnessed into a progressive (or populist) consensus similar to that at the turn of the century. It need not be partisan, though with the current state of the Republican party, I suspect that it would be. In that case, the ability to primary corrupt, insider, or lobbyist-tainted politicians would be high, even if such challenges would be interpreted by the media as ‘coming from the left.’ In this, I believe that Accountability Now has largely struck the right note. However, being less comfortable with populism than progressivism, this possibility also makes me a little uneasy.

Final thought: This is it. Thanks to months of media reporting on the need for Democrats to get 60 votes in the Senate, we can now do exactly what we want and establish a socialist state. I hope that my portion of the means of production consists of a distillery.

Honestly, from this point forward, any failure to get things passed in the Senate is going to reflect very poorly on either Harry Reid or the president. To anyone who has been paying real attention, of course, Nelson, Bayh, and Lieberman have always made the 60-vote threshold  a myth. That won’t stop the media from playing it that way anyway. The flip side of this is that it may give a certain confidence vote flavor to cloture. Democratic senators who hope to ride Obama’s coattails may be less willing to see him fail on key reforms if they know the blame will no longer be apportioned to the party of no.

Or, at least, I can hope.

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Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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