Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six Years

The race for the Senate in the 112th Congress (yes, that far out) is already beginning to ramp up with an aging blue state Republican announcing that he will seek reelection in 2010 -- and that he is already raising funds for his campaign. Kimberly Hefling has the story for the AP.

Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, a moderate who has often clashed with the Bush administration and his fellow GOP lawmakers, plans to seek a sixth term in 2010.

Specter, 77, will formally begin his re-election campaign April 4 at a Philadelphia fundraiser, Scott Hoeflich, a Specter spokesman, confirmed on Monday.

Hefling wrongly buys into the Specter spin that he is "a moderate who has often clashed with the Bush administration and his fellow GOP lawmakers." For those who have been watching Specter over the past two years -- or, heck, since he became Clarence Thomas' most ardent and important supporter more than 15 years ago -- it is apparent that Specter is willing to shed his coat of moderation at any time if he believes that it is politically advantageous to him. One need look no further than the beginning of the 109th Congress when Specter caved to the demands of the Bush White House in order to secure his position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a move that has led to the confirmation of two virulently anti-choice justices to the Supreme Court and to the insertion of language into the renewal of the Patriot Act that granted the administration to replace United States Attorneys indefinitely without Senate confirmation.

Now I won't lie to you. There was a time when I liked Arlen Specter, when I fell into the same trap as Hefling. I believed that Specter actually would stand up for the values he so often spoke of. I believed that he would follow through, as Senate Judiciary Chairman, with his quasi-call not to confirm anti-choice jurists to the Supreme Court. If you want a portrait of my naivete, look no further than this post from just a year and a half ago. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's something I'll admit to. I fell for Specter's nice-sounding rhetoric more than one too many times before being greatly disappointed in his knee-jerk support for the Bush administration and its radically conservative view of government.

The good news is that Specter's reelection in 2010 is far from assured. Although Specter won reelection in 2004 fairly handily (his renomination was tough to come by, though not his reelection), Pennsylvania is a different state than it was even two or three years ago. Last fall, Democrats picked up four congressional seats in the state -- more than in ay other state -- won an extremely expensive Senate race by 18 points, and a gubernatorial race featuring a much-touted Republican candidate by an even larger margin. Simply put, Pennsylvania is a more Democratic-leaning state than it was even a few short years ago and, what's more, it seems to be trending even more so in that direction.

The Democratic bench in the Keystone state is fairly deep, and I don't know too much about the big players in the state, whether they be in statewide elected office, in the House of Representatives, members of the state legislature or something else. So I put the question to you: Who should be the Democrat to step up to the plate and offer Arlen Specter the challenge he so greatly deserves?

Tags: Arlen Specter, PA-Sen, Pennsylvania, Senate 2010 (all tags)

Comments

56 Comments

He is the second best senate Republican

(after Olympia Snowe).  He's certainly a dick, but at least he's a dick who occasionally supports things like habeas corpus.

That being said, he should still face a good re-election challenge.  Joe Sestak or Pat Murphy would be good choices.  It'll take a moderate dem to beat a moderate republican though.

by Terryus 2007-03-19 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

Arlen hates Habeus Corpus.  Just look where he voted.  Not the drivel coming from his mouth.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-03-19 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

Sure.  If "second best" can be equated to "second least worst"

But actually I do disagree.  I will give Hagel and Lugar more credit than Specter.  He chaired a crucial senate committee and did nothing but prop up the Administration with it.  He is responsible for the no-confirmation clause making its way into the 2005 Patriot renewal.  

by scientician 2007-03-19 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

Because Lugar did the country so much good as chair of Foreign Relations from 2003 through 2006.

I also have a weird fondness for the Old Republicans: Warner and Specter and Lugar.  But out of those three and Snowe and Collins and Chafee and Hagel, Lugar has clearly been the biggest disappointment for the last six years.  Only McCain comes close to Lugar in the "performing way under his potential" category.  Specter, embarrassing underperformer though he is, has been a hell of a lot more worthwhile than Lugar lately.

by texas dem 2007-03-19 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

"It'll take a moderate dem to beat a moderate republican though."

Really?  Cuz last year they said it'll take a moderate dem to beat a conservative republican.  Somehow I don't buy this logic.

by Fran for Dean 2007-03-19 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

I agree.  I hate that conventional wisdom bullshit.  More Republican talking points from our side.  There's no basis in fact for saying that it takes a moderate Dem to beat an ostensibly moderate Republican.

by jgarcia 2007-03-19 04:39PM | 0 recs
Specter will have (at least right now) a lot of

indies and dems who think it's cool to vote for a moderate republican (the stupid ones--ya, they exist), so I would think that logically it would be a good idea not to nominate someone like Ned Lamont for this race.

by Terryus 2007-03-19 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

Yea, I'd argue just the opposite.  If we put up a "moderate dem" against Arlen, lots of people will just think that there's not much of a difference between a moderate dem and a liberal republican, so let's just stick with our current respected senator anyway.

by Fran for Dean 2007-03-20 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

How did sending out a liberal dem in 2004 work out for us? We need to do something to attract the moderate dems in Southeatern and Southwestern PA. While we don't need to run another person in the mold of Casey, we should not try with someone as liberal as Hoeffel was (no matter how much we wish we could).

by smm401 2007-03-20 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: He is the second best senate Republican

>>>It'll take a moderate dem to beat a moderate republican though.

Um, can you prove that or are you just parroting silly conventional wisdom talking points?

by jgarcia 2007-03-19 04:40PM | 0 recs
A lib dem could've beaten Santorum

I just don't see how one could beat Specter, who has broad support especially among indies in PA.  

by Terryus 2007-03-19 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: A lib dem could've beaten Santorum
By informing indies of Specter's extremism. Chafee got beaten by a liberal, without Whitehouse having to make any point against him much stronger than "He's a Republican". Pennsylvania isn't as blue a state, but with Specter there's a lot more to attack with. Not so much the judges (I seem to remember hearing that a lot of Pennsylvania is anti-choice), but his political cowardice could easily be attacked.
by Englishlefty 2007-03-20 05:00AM | 0 recs
Who do PA Dems have?

My understanding is that short of a Veep nomination in 2008, Rendell intends to take his football and go home.

Also, didn't Specter say 2004 was going to be his last run?  Isn't he going back on a campaign promise?  And wont he be somewhere around ... 80 ... in 2010?

Who would anyone suggest running?  Most high-profile PA Dems are either too young or too old to make a run at Specter.

by jcjcjc 2007-03-19 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Who do PA Dems have?

He never said that.  We have to vote him out, or they'll have to haul out his carcass; a man who beat brain cancer and Hodgkin's isn't leaving voluntarily.

I assume Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) will run for the seat.

by Adam B 2007-03-19 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Who do PA Dems have?

She's the most agressive fund-raiser known to man. You better believe she'll run for the seat.

by andgarden 2007-03-19 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Who do PA Dems have?

I saw somewhere that she'll be endorsing Senator Clinton this week.

by joyful alternative 2007-03-19 05:27PM | 0 recs
Perfect Candidate

Two words: Joe Sestak.

by bluenc 2007-03-19 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Perfect Candidate

Agreed.  I don't think we particularly have a deep bench, but Sestak is certainly a good choice.

by DanielUA 2007-03-19 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Perfect Candidate If you're pro war and like

joe lieberman. Didn't Chris Bowers' list of bluedog saboteurs include Sestak?

At least Patrick Murphy, who's also a bluedog, isn't going along on this bluedog issue. But the best bet, if you're looking at freshman exmilitary might be Chris Carney, who comes from a red PA district.

by robkall 2007-03-19 01:21PM | 0 recs
Libel.

   That's what comparing Joe Lieberman to Joe Sestak is.

by cilerder86 2007-03-19 02:25PM | 0 recs
Carney.
     If Carney were to run for Senate (assuming he's still relevant in 2010...) we certainly lose the House seat.  It's important to carry the Philly suburbs in statewide election, otherwise you lose.  The rule is this: pick a Democrat from the western suburbs (the farther west the better), and that Democrat will get a majority of the vote everywhere east of their district.
      I have to admit that Jason Altmire would also be a strong candidate.  He's no Ron Klink, that's for sure.
by cilerder86 2007-03-19 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Perfect Candidate If you're pro war and like
Sorry, but you're 100% wrong. Joe Sestak has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah, David Loebsack, Pete Stark, Steve Cohen, Patrick Kennedy and Carol Shea-Porter, that calls for redeployment by
12/31/2007 => http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c1 10:H.R.960
by Joe in Wynnewood PA 2007-03-19 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Perfect Candidate If you're pro war and like

I, bwuh?!  Joe Sestak has voted with the liberal block of the party, and has sponsored one of the more get-out-of-iraq-now bills in the House, including Murtha's.  I've been keeping a close eye on my Congressman, and I don't take kindly to people on my own side spreading lies about him.

by themann1086 2007-03-19 08:25PM | 0 recs
Also:

Wanted to add that he voted for Murtha for Majority Leader.

by themann1086 2007-03-19 08:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010

The only reason Specter has announced this early, and started raising money in earnest is to dissuade anyone from jumping in the race.  

by Jim Treglio 2007-03-19 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010

What about Allyson Schwartz? She will have been a 3-term Congresswoman by 2010.

by DCDavid 2007-03-19 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010

No doubt she will try, and will be well funded.  

She also voted for PATRIOT Act Reauthorization, the Bankruptcy Bill, is a member of the DLC, etc.

by DanielUA 2007-03-19 12:26PM | 0 recs
Specter is just a sell out

He has good instincts, but sells them out on the instant pressure is applied.  The best you can say about him, is that on his own he won't do any harm.  

Leahy is putting him to shame, showing him what oversight looks like, and all the filth Leahy is digging up with minimal effort goes to show how poor a chairman Specter has been.  He sold his soul to the Christian and Neo-cons to get that gavel, only to do nothing of use with it.

Think of him refusing to swear in Alberto Gonzales and other affronts to parliamentary inquiry.

Once Gonzales gets the boot, by resignation or (boy would I love it) impeachment, that fact can be used to beat the crap out of Specter.

by scientician 2007-03-19 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six

Lordy, I just saw Specter on FNS yesterday and he was awful. He got the ball rolling on the "Schumer shouldn't be 'leading' this investigation as the head of the DSCC" smear. Which is so ridiculous I'd qualify it as outright dishonesty. He's a partisan hack who makes a game of honest debate. He makes noises about being "pro-choice" and for our Constitution, but then he actively undermines both of those causes any time he has to make a choice.

by BriVT 2007-03-19 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen

Jack Murtha...but he seems happy in the House.  What about Teresa Heinz-Kerry or even Chris Heinz?

by kristen23 2007-03-19 01:09PM | 0 recs
3 words why Specter Sucks.

Magic. Bullet. Theory.

-C.

by neutron 2007-03-19 01:15PM | 0 recs
Rendell will tell us who we get

Just like he did with that amazing dynamo Bob Casey. You know, the PA senator who barely shows his head, ever. The democratic machine in PA is pathetic. Progressives are making some inroads, but the dems who vote in the endorsement primaries are still mostly past 70. There's a lot of work to do or we'll have another antichoice candidate running against specter.

by robkall 2007-03-19 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell will tell us who we get
Y'know, after your long series of diaries predicting Casey's collapse, one would have hoped you'd give up the topic for a bit, given that your judgment one year ago was:
Casey is going to tank, no, make that Casey has begun tanking. If Rendell is smart, he'll see the writing on the wall and set Casey adrift, because Rendell is at great risk of losing his race, if Casey wins the primary. Casey will take Rendell down and PA will become a red state
Freshman Senators don't make inroads; other than Webb's being given the SotU response, neither he nor McCaskill nor Klobuchar, Casey, Whitehouse or Cardin really get to do anything loudly yet.  That's how it works.
by Adam B 2007-03-19 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell will tell us who we get

I saw McCaskill doing a great job in a hearing last week. I'd never seen her before and was most impressed.

by joyful alternative 2007-03-19 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell will tell us who we get

I'd say that winning 58% of the vote against a well-funded incumbent is pretty amazing, jerk.

by andgarden 2007-03-19 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell will tell us who we get

Rick Santorum was so hated in Pennsylvania by that point he could have been defeated by a house plant.

by joyful alternative 2007-03-19 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell will tell us who we get
Arguably he was.
by Englishlefty 2007-03-20 05:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell will tell us who we get

I wouldn't go that far, but thanks for the laugh.

I had a letter to the editor published in response to a Republican letter writer saying he couldn't vote for Santorum but would gladly vote for his GOP congressman for the Senate because he was a better candidate; my letter said I agreed that the rep was a better candidate than Santorum, so was I,and so were at least a million other Pennsylvanians, of whom Bobby Casey was one, and Casey's on the ballot. A well-done, I thought, "vote for Casey because he's not Santorum" letter.

by joyful alternative 2007-03-20 05:22AM | 0 recs
I'm skeptical of this...

Arlen is not a well man, and quite frankly he's getting pretty old.

I think this is a red herring for sure.
I also think this seat is ours for the taking of we run a Joe Sestak or Patrick Murphy type.

-C.

by neutron 2007-03-19 01:16PM | 0 recs
Specter is Lucy

We live in a Peanuts world in which Specter is Lucy and we're Charlie. At least, we WERE Charlie, always falling for his bait and switch with the football. I think we in the blogosphere and netroots finally wised up to that, but that remains to be seen in how Dems treat him in the senate.

As for '10, I certainly hope that we can beat him. I think he's made it easier for us with his consistent if vaguely masked support for BushCo--the latest being his beating the GOP drum trying to explain away the fired US Attorneys scandal by dragging out that tired old saw "but Clinton also did it".

Well, Arlen, I wouldn't rely too much on the "tu quoque" defense--especially in your and your GOP buddies' case.

by kovie 2007-03-19 01:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six Years

In 2004 when I was just getting interested in politics, I voted for Arlen Specter because I was under the impression that he was a moderate.

It's good to hear that he'll be running again. It will allow me to correct my mistake.

by Nautilator 2007-03-19 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six Years

He also had AFL-CIO endorsements, which I do hope won't happen again.

by joyful alternative 2007-03-19 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six Years

IIRC, he sits on the appropriations sub-committee that handles mineworker safety and pensions and has helped out the steel industry, garnering support both from business and the union.

by domma 2007-03-19 09:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six

There really should be no argument about 'Snarlin' Arlen.

The miserable asshole needs to get the chop for habeas corpus if nothing else.

But the most important thing is that he be perceived as getting the boot for that.

We, the people, must get rid of the scum who would destroy our freedoms, rend the Constitution, campaign on fear and ignorance. Further, the candidates we back must articulate this view and use it to attack and destroy the likes of punk-ass Arlen.

Only then will others like him realize they'd be better off selling real estate or cars instead of fear and lies.

by Pericles 2007-03-19 01:40PM | 0 recs
republican primary?

I don't know if arlen can survive another challenge from the right (ala the club for growth in 04)

by daaawi 2007-03-19 01:54PM | 0 recs
Exactly.

   There will be another challenge from the right, especially now that Pat Toomey is the president of the Club for Growth.  It remains to be seen if the GOP is so tired of losing by 2010, that they might give Specter a pass.

by cilerder86 2007-03-19 02:27PM | 0 recs
hmm.

They hit him with everything in 2004, and Bush and Cheney carried him across the goal line.  If a Republican isn't in the White House in 2010 . . .

by Adam B 2007-03-19 02:55PM | 0 recs
2010.

   By that time all of the brand new Pennsylvania Democrats from the 2006 revolution will be ripe for a Senate race.  So far Joe Sestak is the most high-profile.  Allyson Schwartz seems to be the establishment favorite.  It appears to be "her turn."

by cilerder86 2007-03-19 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: 2010.

She'll run. If Specter changes his mind, I'd put money on the seat being hers.

by andgarden 2007-03-19 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: 2010.

There is absolutely no doubt that Allyson Schwartz will run for the Senate in 2010 no matter whom the republics put up. I don't think Arlen will be the candidate in 2010, but we'll have to wait and see about that.

Allyson has an incredible organization in SE Pennsylvania and is well connected in the Pa Democratic machine. Her background as a State Senator and now Congresswoman has allowed her organization to develope to run a successful campaign statewide. She is well liked by, the man; Ed Rendell, and is respected by the state reps.

So, the question is, who will run for her congressional seat? My bet is on State Representative Josh Shapiro.

by jfoster 2007-03-20 05:25AM | 0 recs
Josh Shapiro.

   Let it be so!  He's fantastic.

by cilerder86 2007-03-20 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six

I can only hope Sestak, after learning whatever it is one of my favorite people from BOPNews Matt Stollers wants to teach him, runs against him in 2010. But as much as this thread wants to turn into an anti-Casey bash, where's the love for Joe Hoeffel? Pro Union guy with plenty of name recognition.

by DupinTM 2007-03-19 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six

The unions supported Specter in 2004.

I'd have volunteered his name because I think he'd make a good senator, but Hoeffel has gotten himself into one too many races (Senate again, against Santorum; Lt. Gov.) and then withdrawn when Rendell told him to. He is paying too much attention to the establishment and to endorsements and hasn't been willing to ignore the powers that be and see what the voters, grassroots, and ordinary people say.

I'd work for him if he had the nomination, but I'm not gung ho anymore, like I was in 2004.

by joyful alternative 2007-03-20 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six

Specter's been one of the lone GOP dissenters this Congress... now that it no longer matters.  It'll let him run as an "independent" moderate in '10 in the general... but how will he win the primary for the rabidly reactionary PA GOP?  The description of PA as Philly and Pittsburgh with Kentucky in between  isn't too far off the mark.

by themann1086 2007-03-19 08:32PM | 0 recs
Patrick Murphy

I would think that Patrick Murphy would be the ideal candidate for the Senate in 2010. By that point, he will probably be sick of running in tight elections, since the PA-8 is the essence of a swing district. Assuming Patrick holds on to his seat in the House, and my guess he will, I think he would do well for himself, the state, and the country by running.

by smm401 2007-03-20 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Patrick Murphy

   If Murphy can just get by 2008, his seat will be relatively safe.  The Montgomery county GOP is in crash-and-burn mode.  When Allyson Schwartz won her open seat in 2004, everyone thought it would be the quintessential swing district.  Her 2006 component was a complete joke.  When Philly suburb districts go blue, it's rare for them to turn back red.  

by cilerder86 2007-03-20 05:26PM | 0 recs

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