Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Democrats probably couldn't keep him out, but they'll regret letting Arlen Specter through the door. They lose an opportunity to elect a bonafide liberal in PA next year.

The Repugs lose a lot & Dems don't gain much in the long run from Sen. Arlen Specter's party switch. This wasn't an act of conscience & principle, like Jim Jeffords a few years ago. Arlen just stands in place & says, "I'm Democrat." That so? Specter only wants to be reelected in 2010. Good chance he'd be defeated from the right in the primary, & Democrats would then beat the fringe candidate, winning the seat anyway. Except for lacking the 60 seat super-majority in the senate, Democrats are doing fine without him, & stand to pick up a few more senators next year.

Perhaps Arlen is no more conservative than Sen. Jim Webb or Gov. Brian Schweitzer, but those two worked their party grassroots & then won over a lot of independent voters to get elected in fairly conservative states. They're true "big tent" Democrats.

Of course, political parties prefer unity. But the Repugs cannot handle any kind of dissent. The more they are reduced to a bunch of reactionary white males from the Deep South, the less they tolerate any diversity at all. Having long ago divested themselves of African-Americans, they threw away Hispanics - a demographic inclined toward traditional social values; they alienated smart, suburban women who couldn't take the Bible thumping, gay bashing, & hypocritical moralizing on private, family matters; & Repug support among the younger folks hovers around 30% at most (much of it must be for Ron Paul).

Repugs keep on mentioning the chimera of "Reagan Democrats." The average age of those Reagan supporters must be around 75 now, & they supported Reagan not because he was supposedly an economic conservative but because they considered Carter & Mondale liberal weenies (they liked Hillary, who isn't a weenie). They had their UAW retirement packages locked in, nothing to lose.

The problem Repugs have is summed up here in Jersey. Our unexciting Democratic governor ought be on the ropes. The Repugs have a "moderate" Bush appointee lawyer with baggage who doesn't stand for much of anything, & a yappy wingnut ex-mayor who thinks a McDonald's billboard ad in Spanish is unamerican.

The irony is that Specter was first elected as a "big tent" Repug in 1980, & Ronald Reagan had no gripe with that.

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