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Senate Shake-Up: Specter Goes Blue

Posted on Apr 28, 2009
Flickr / Svadilfari /

After getting no love from the Republicans, Specter is hoping the Democrats will pull him into another term in the Senate.

Arlen Specter was always too moderate for this crop of Republicans, but his surprise decision to become a Democrat has more to do with the likelihood of losing a GOP primary battle than ideological differences. Specter’s move should give the Democrats the 60 votes they need in the Senate, assuming Norm Coleman ever gives up the ghost In Minnesota.

A little Specter trivia: The oldest Republican in the Senate (for now, anyway), Specter was originally a Democrat before running as a Republican to become Philadelphia’s district attorney. According to Wikipedia, Specter also co-authored the magic bullet theory, which argued that a lone gunman assassinated JFK.

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By AFriend, May 2, 2009 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Jim C,

Does this section of HR 800 appear to indicate that workers CAN have a secret ballot if so desired?

“if the [National Labor Relations] Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations…the Board shall NOT direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization.”

I hope you read the actual legislation, Jim.

Perhaps I am, as you like to say, a troll, however, uninformed on the “Card Check” legislation I am not.

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By AFriend, May 2, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

Jim C,

Unless the Employee Free Choice Act has been amended in the last five weeks it contains exactly what I wrote below. I have read the legislation myself. In fact I have read all four versions.

I can see that your sensibilities are shocked by what’s in the legislation. I hope you take the time to read the legislation yourself. I hope everyone reads the actual legislation.

I believe unions play an important roll in society and everyone should have the right to unionize if that is the desire.

Question: If the proposed signing cards are such a healthy democratic form of voting why do unions deny their use when employees wish to extricate a union from the work place?

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By KDelphi, April 30, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

I suppose that AFriend is all for Union busters, also. They successfully prevented a Union where I worked…it was pathetic, the way people fell for it…

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By PZETER, April 29, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This Specter still believes Oswald acted alone,Nixon and all his cronies were his people,he was for all the wars and now the Pres of change is joining up with him..Pennsylvanians kick the past out!

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By Jim C, April 29, 2009 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

AFriend , perhaps you should actually read the employee free choice act , it does no such thing . What it does is take away business’s ability to intimidate workers who are trying to form a union or endlessly drag their feet . Once it’s decided to unionize workers then can have a secret ballot if so desired . What I can’t figure out is if you’re a troll or simply unimformed , your argument is typical right wing fare . I would suggest either finding out whats in the act or keep listening to Rush , Beck or whoever for a specious retort . You can’t serriously believe that workers would be hurt by joining a union , if so , you might also consider a remedial course in history .

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By mstar57, April 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Arlen Spector is and always has been a absolute stinking piece of shit… I hope the Democrats pay a heavy political price for selling us out! Here’s a quote from Glen Greenwald that puts this into context:

“Arlen Specter is one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics. The moment most vividly illustrating what Specter is: prior to the vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he went to the floor of the Senate and said what the bill “seeks to do is set back basic rights by some 900 years” and is “patently unconstitutional on its face.” He then proceeded to vote YES on the bill’s passage.”

Greenwalds entire article:

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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Kesey—Youre welcome…

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By Kesey Seven, April 28, 2009 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment


Thanks for responding to my post.

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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Kesey Seven—Yeah, so the Dems have been a little bit better on social issues. Sometimes I think that their band-aid approach just pacifies people, putting off fixing the real problems. Most of what you are saying, no offense, is “they arent Republicans”...yeah, well, neither is my dog. If Bush was such an idiot, why did both parties give him everything he wanted?

We dont have to settle for either one. NO other “civilized” country has a two party system, and, we are not a democracy, or, even a republic.

Specter will just be another Blue Dog..

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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

AFriend—Yes, we must keep the standard of living down so that people wont be able to think about anything but survival…

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By Debra Istvanik-Strotman, April 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Senator Specter always voted on what he thought was the right thing to do, not how his party insisted he vote.

Specter is the only republican I have ever voted for. I put in all democrats with the exception of Specter because though I don’t always agree with him he has crossed party lines and made no secret of it and gave the reasons why he voted the way he has on issues.

Isn’t that the way it was meant to be? Instead of totally voting along party lines all politicians should vote for what they think is right for the people of the United States not what their party wants.

Yes, Specter will get my vote and it is dispicable the way republicans have been attacking him mercilessly because he voted for the stimulus package.

I respect anyone who does what he thinks is right over what is expected of him..

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By Kesey Seven, April 28, 2009 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

A couple of people in this thread have said there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats. Let’s take a look at that.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans have put much effort into fixing the nation’s school system.

Neither Dems nor Repubs want to stop the spread of small arms (RPGs, SAMs, landmines, machine guns) all over the globe. 

Neither party wants to look the Israelis in the eye and say:  Are you guys nuts?  Keep up this crazy BS and we’re cutting off all economic aid.

Neither party wants to end the insane war on drugs that Americans of all stripes hate.

Neither party has seriously worked for peace. Whether it’s the cold war, the war on drugs, or the war on terror, politicians on both sides of the aisle have found it politically advantageous to keep the wars going. 

Neither party wants to break up the huge media conglomerates that, again, most Americans hate and that are, by the way, doing a pathetic job.

So how do the parties differ? 

Number one Republicans betrayed their constituents and their country by nominating a man unfit, unqualified and downright incompetent for the presidency. They rationalized this bit of insanity by saying he would pick the right advisers. He didn’t.  Dems, flawed as they may be, have not recently nominated the village idiot for the presidency. 

The Dems did not work too hard for public education but neither did they try to destroy it, in contrast to the Republicans whose platform from the 1980s up until 2000 called for the dismantling of the Department of Public Education. Advantage Dems. 

There are a lot of racist a-holes and bigots, also known as fascists, in the Republican party. They couch their racism in terms like “family values,” “social conservative,” “fiscal conservative” but if you take a ride through Republican strongholds particularly in the south you’ll meet a lot of racist a-holes and bigots plain and simple.  Say what you will about the Dems, but fascism is not on their agenda. 

Most Americans are religious. It’s been reported up to 90 percent believe in some form of afterlife, but only a small percentage of Americans want to impose biblical law, as interpreted by Evangelical preachers, on America. Those who want to are Republicans. Again, chalk one up for the Dems. 

Both parties as a rule support and finance war but the Dems did elect Jimmy Carter, a man of integrity who worked harder than any other president in the 20th Century for peace. He continues to this day to be an outstanding citizen of the world and for the world. Check in the Dem column.

The environment. Suffice to say the Republicans are nuts, totally insane, out to lunch, out of touch, just plain f’ing stupid on this issue. Dems see the light. And it’s green. 

Dems might not outright oppose war, but they are against the Bush Doctrine of preemption, which is likely to get us all killed. 

So, yes, the parties have many disconcerting and unpleasant, even downright bad, similarities. But where the rubber hits the road there’s some clear distinctions that make the Democrats a better choice for now. Let’s hope the choices get better in the future.

Kesey Seven

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By AFriend, April 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Jim C,

Everyone should be against the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation. Anything that eliminates the private, personal, vote should always be opposed in the United States.

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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Jim C—LOL! Good points, though…one more blue dog

Blackspeare—If youre going by age, that would eliminate most of Congress, though…hey!! I hadnt thought about it that way!

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By M Currey, April 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now that Specter has changed sides Mitch McConnel said there is going to be one party rule, sounds kind of like what the Republicians were doing when Bushie was in power. 

Anyone can see through the Republicians they want what this country was like before Independence.  The rich rule and the poor follow.  Or the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

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By Jim C, April 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

So , we now have one more republican polluting the democratic party , wonderful , another blue dog . Spector already said he will vote the same way , against the employee free choice act etc , so whats the point ? Why didn’t they just let him lose in the republican primary to the right wing neanderthal he’s running behind ? That way we could have probably gotten a real democrat elected , but nooooo , instead they allow him to come over and further dillute whats left of the democratic party . It appears that what was once the democratic party is now simply a slightly more moderate version of the republican party . This reminds me of an old saying ” if you mix horse manure and ice cream it doesn’t hurt the horse manure but it sure ruins the ice cream ” , that reminds me of what has been happening to the democratic party , or rather the republican lite party .

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By yours truly, April 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What Senator Specter’s switcheroo shows is how untrustworthy our elected politicians are.  He says that as a Democrat he’ll continue to be an independent and (in his voting) let his conscience be his guide.  Except wasn’t he elected to represent the people, not himself?  Isn’t it about time that we made sure that politicians actually represent us?  How?  Online, that’s how, with every major issue decided by our online tally and with our elected representatives having to vote accordingly.  But won’t this be like putting one’s politician on a leash?  Exactly!

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By Blackspeare, April 28, 2009 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

Arlen Specter is the poster boy for term limits——what a freakin’ fossil!!!!

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By Louise, April 28, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment


“I wonder if there is anyone on Truthdig that still believes there is a difference between the two parties.”


I’m always eager to follow a carrot when it’s dangled before me.

In case you hadn’t noticed, voters change and the parties themselves change dramatically from time to time. For example, back in the day when Ike was elected a lot of dems switched to repub because they liked Ike. Habits die hard, so it’s taken a while for the switchers to figure out today’s repub party bares little resemblance to Ike’s party. Although Ike could see the change coming, and warned us all.

Nixon was Ikes Vice. But anything he may have learned from Ike’s example quickly went away, once he won the White House. Nixon became the monumental embarrassment juxtaposed against Ike’s monumental successes. So I can understand the repubs not wanting to spend a lot of time talking about Nixon. But here’s the real conundrum. They never mention Ike either!

Reagan actually followed the outline laid out by Nixon and the Nixon people. And that outline bore little if any resemblance to the sincerity of Ike’s leadership, let alone the honesty. Leaving repubs with the lop-sided position of having to rationalize Ike standards against Reagan non-standards. And that little problem led to the development of sound-bite policy, which pretty much comes down to a few sentences. Too much government. To much tax. And family values.

So what went wrong? It’s hard to preserve the illusion simple sentences create when the reality, violent aggression, an income race to the bottom for the middle class, and mom’s need to go to work ‘cause dad cant make enough, kinda shatters the family. Which led to a dramatic shift back to dem, following Bush I.

The repubs completely lost in the wilderness by then, and clearly unable to define a rational policy did the only thing they could do. Got down and dirty. Gerrymandering, which moved votes around and moving to a fail-safe policy written into the Diebold computer program they purchased and sold the public on. Ergo, eight years of the worst possible example of leadership without leaders, and policy without clearly defined goals and policy.

I suspect Specter, like a lot of repubs has hung on hoping the RNC would acquire actual leadership again. And the party would redefine itself following the excellent example Ike gave them. And it has to be Ike’s example, because they haven’t had an excellent president since!

But it hasn’t happened. They are more adrift, less focused and even more disjointed than they were during the Bush years. In fact, if their ignorance wasn’t so dangerous, it would be down right funny!

It may just be political expediency. Maybe Specter’s home-base falls into that group that switched, and switched again, so it makes sense.

Or maybe he’s realized his sane voice is being lost in the cacophony of his party’s insane leadership. smile

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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

Gawd! If the Dems get both of them, what excuse will they use not to enact any of the policies they claim to espouse?! (health care for all, cutting the military, holding banks responsible)

They could be in deep trouble…

Blue Eagle—see below…

Specter, Lieberman, whats the diff? Actually, Specter is better, but…

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By gragggg, April 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Arlen specter democrat-what the fuck does it again!
arlen specter democrat-must go !?

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By tropicgirl, April 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

No, this is not that good. The last thing we need is Spector being the influential swing vote. Then Spector controls the agenda? We need him like a hole in the head, like Lieberscrew.

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By afif elias, April 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is so great about Sen Specter swichting parties?  What is the difference between democrat and repulican, not much if I may so.  Do you remeber the democrats give the green light to invade Irag or for that matter Serbia.  They all no good and opportunist.  We need politician who put people first.  We don’t have any resemblance of parties.  God help America if you think we should cheer for Sen Specter.

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By RdV, April 28, 2009 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

“Arlen Specter was always too moderate for this crop of Republicans…”

But Reagan and Bush were just peachy?

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By Eric L. Prentis, April 28, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Hurray for Sen. Arlen Specter for joining the Democratic party and thwarting the backbiting neocons plotting to unseat him in the 2010 Republican primary. Sen. Specter is in a solid Democratic state and will have no problem winning the Pennsylvania primary. Senators Collins and Snowe of Maine, if the Republicans continue to play dirty, will be switching parties, also. A possible 62 seat Democratic majority in the Senate, sweet!

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By BlueEagle, April 28, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

This is just one more example that there is no difference between R & D. One day a politician is an R then next he’s a D.

I wonder if there is anyone on Truthdig that still believes there is a difference between the two parties.

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By Thomas Mc, April 28, 2009 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

The Right Wing dug its own grave, and now they are all fighting for position to jump in first! At least one of them had the good sense to step back.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 28, 2009 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Soon the blocking of critical nominations will end, when they must.

Sure, it’s political survival.  But Spector has been more left than a number of right-wing Dems for a long time.  He’s put forth positions and been forced to pull back from them by the GOP leadership-too many times.  And he’s always been elected by a coalition of Dems and Repubs.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!  It’s vote # 59…and with Franken they’ll have 60 and be filibuster-proof—and finally get some work done.

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