Showing posts with label party switching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label party switching. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Party Switchers?

Jack asks:
"How does this (Specter) impact the chances of more switches? I've seen speculation about Snowe. Your take?

"I don't really think the idea of Snowe switching parties makes much sense. Specter switched because of electoral pressure to do so. Jeffords switched at a time when control of the Senate was in the balance. Neither of these incentives are available to Snowe, Collins, Inhofe or whoever would consider switching."
There are two lines of thought on either of the Maine senators switching:

1) You're right that there is definitely an electoral connection (sorry David Mayhew) here. Michael Steele can talk about targeting Collins or Snowe because of their votes, but how is he going to strengthen the bench in Maine and cultivate candidates to the right of either one of them that could win? That pressure existed with Specter, but not with Collins and Snowe. But...

2) It could be that one or both of them just simply gets sick being a part of a party that is philosophically different from themselves. Specter spoke along those lines, but I don't know that anyone took him too terribly seriously there. His was a move of electoral survival. As I said above, that doesn't really exist in Snowe's or Collins' case.

However, the Democrats are pushing the agenda now and the matters that they bring up for a vote could continually put Snowe and Collins in the uncomfortable position of having to decide between their convictions and their party. The more that happens, the more likely, I'd say, they are to reconsider their positions within the Republican Caucus.

The flip side is the extent to which they are on board with what the Obama administration is pushing. If either was totally in line with Obama, one or both of them would likely already have switched. But again, we're talking about the extent to which they are with Obama. It isn't one hundred percent and it isn't zero either. [I may have to look at some of their votes for a better idea, but that's a job for another day -- or another blogger. Ha!]

Ultimately, I think they'll stick it out (famous last words), but there's no doubt in my mind that they are being asked. The Democrats in the Senate would be foolish not to.

It never hurts to ask. The worst they can say is, "no," or maybe, "NO!" after the one hundredth time or so.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Open Thread: Specter Switch

Well, Pennsylvania got slightly bluer today with Arlen Specter's surprising, yet not-so-surprising shift into the Democratic Caucus in the Senate. The way things were going, this was likely the only choice Specter had.

...if he was/is still interested in working in the Senate. Twenty-one points down is twenty-one points down. That's a tough row to hoe when you are talking about an incumbent and a primary polling deficit. Not that Chris Dodd is in an ideal position, but at least his polling deficit is against a potential general election opponent in 2010; not quite as threatening. Specter, I'm sure, saw the writing on the wall.

Here's one: Seth Masket over at Enik Rising sums the move up nicely.

Here's another from Josh Marshall (via Seth): I completely forgot that Pennsylvania is a closed primary state. That certainly would have made Specter's prospects of re-election that much dimmer if he would have continued on that route.

Yet another: Michael Steele on Specter's departure. (h/t GOP12 for the link)

While we're on Specter, let me add a funny anecdote to this discussion:
A couple of summers ago I took a grading gig within the department to help out one of our faculty members. It was an intro to American government class made up completely of incoming freshmen. So this was their first college experience. Following a week of lectures on the branches of government and their attendant checks and balances we had an exam. One of the questions asked was about the checks between Congress and the Supreme Court. We had that week discussed Senate confirmation of judicial appointments and nestled in that discussion was a side note about Specter's role in the Clarence Thomas hearings -- specifically his questioning of Anita Hill and the backlash that created. Now, you have the proper context, but it took me a while in the midst of reading all these exams to figure out who one the students was referring to when mentioning Karl Inspector.

Karl Inspector?

Then the light bulb came on: Oh, Arl-en Spector.

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