PA-Sen: On Meet The Press Arlen Specter Promises To Be A Very Bad Democrat
by Todd Beeton, Sun May 03, 2009 at 10:08:33 AM EDT
In his zeal to convince the world that his party switch was somehow premised upon principle rather than political opportunism, Arlen Specter today on Meet The Press went out of his way to assure us all just what a bad Democrat he intends to be. During one exchange, he boasted once again of his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, essentially saying "I bucked the Republican Party when I was a Republican and I'll buck the Democratic Party as a Democrat." Ahh, sweet oh so virtuous independence, Lieberman and Bloomberg would be proud. At another point in the interview, Specter went even further, denying reports that he'd told President Obama that he would be a "loyal Democrat."
Via Think Progress:
GREGORY: It was reported this week that when you met with the president, you said, "I will be a loyal democrat. I support your agenda." Let me test that on probably one of the most important areas of his agenda, and that's health care. Would you support health care reform that puts up a government run public plan to compete with a private plan issued by a private insurance company?
SPECTER: No. And you misquote me, David. I did not say I would be a loyal Democrat. I did not say that. And last week, after I said I was changing parties, I voted against the budget because the budget has a way to pass health care with 51 votes, which undermines a basic Senate institution to require 60 votes to impose closure on key issues. ...I did not say I am a loyal Democrat.
Wow, so opposition to EFCA, opposition to a public health care option, opposition to President Obama's budget...nope, no signs of being a loyal Democrat here. In fact, I think it's pretty clear that he will be a consistent stumbling block to President Obama's agenda, at least that's what he's promising to be. Which begs the question, how exactly did that conversation with the president go? If Specter didn't tell Obama he'll be a loyal Democrat, did President Obama really tell Specter that he'd campaign for him in the primary? Obviously the president owes Specter for his support of the stimulus package but at this point, how can President Obama actually campaign for someone who intends to block key elements of his agenda against someone who intends to support it? He wouldn't have done so prior to Tuesday but now that Specter has a D next to his name, suddenly he's eligible for presidential support? That doesn't sound like transcending partisanship to me.
Today on Meet The Press, Arlen Specter made an even stronger case for a contested primary than any Democrat yet has. After an appearance like this, any Dem who tries to clear the field or talk about Specter running unopposed (ahem, Gov. Rendell...) should be a laughing stock. Also, any Democratic committee that supports Specter before the primary plays out would lose all contributions from me not to mention any credibility as a fierce supporter of the Democratic agenda. Which is why the President can not and must not campaign for Specter in this primary.
In my unscientific poll on Friday, 100% of you said Joe Sestak should run for Senate against Specter. After today's MTP, my guess is that he's more likely to do so rather than less. Bring it on, Joe.
Video of Specter on MTP this morning is below:
Update [2009-5-3 15:15:17 by Todd Beeton]:This is promising. Andy Stern tweeted this earlier today:
Congressman Sestak impressive on CNN. Visiting him tomorrow.
Momentum for a contested Democratic primary builds.