I find it incredible that I'm writing my second entry in a row praising Senator Arlen Specter(R-PA). The first one was solely about how much Specter is opening up his already-exposed right flank to a primary challenge in 2010, which seems all but certain. The second one is about some incredible remarks from the senior Senator from Pennsylvania. Essentially, Senator Specter made it clear that at least one and probably more Republican Senators would vote for the stimulus bill if they weren't afraid of the Ditto-Head base of the Republican Party.
The actual quote from Senator Specter is incredible. I could paraphrase it as him calling them "cowards".
"When I came back to the cloak room after coming to the agreement a week ago today," said Specter, "one of my colleagues said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' My Republican colleague said, 'Arlen, I'm proud of you.' I said, 'Are you going to vote with me?' And he said, 'No, I might have a primary.' And I said, 'Well, you know very well I'm going to have a primary.'"
That previous entry of mine about Senator Specter was centered around that inevitable primary, even if his challenger hasn't clearly emerged. It seems to confirm what I thought; Specter knows that he'll face a Limbaugh-approved challenger. As brownsox said, the GOP vultures are circling around Arlen Specter.
Now I digress to address the rest of Specter's statement. I assume it's true, because I don't see why Specter would make that up. There's a note of frustration with that statement. Here he is, along with Collins and Snowe of Maine, risking their Senate seats against a right-wing "populism" that Limbaugh and other hard-core conservatives have unleashed upon would-be "traitors". Then there they are, allowing Collins/Snowe/Specter to get the bill through without having their own fingerprints on it.
It's cowardly. It's disingenuous. It's so cynical. Who knows how many more Republicans may have signed on if the vote were tighter, if they didn't have to be 63rd or 64th "aye" vote. So how many does Arlen Specter believe are amongst these Republican cowards?
"I think a sizable number," he said. "I think a good part of the caucus agrees with the person I quoted, but I wouldn't want to begin to speculate on numbers."
Being the 60th and deciding vote isn't easy for a centrist who will likely face a more conservative primary challenger and then a more liberal general election opponent.
"I'd feel less uncomfortable about being the sixty-first and even better about being the sixty-seventh, but I'll take 'em one at a time," he said.
I expect Arlen Specter to lose the Republican primary in 2010 for his Senate seat. There are very rare fundamentals in the Pennsylvania contest ranging from this right-wing Limbaugh-"populism"(different from our populism) to the loss of thousands of moderate Republicans(AKA Obamacans) to the fact that it's a closed-primary race to the incoming labor-debate and the fact that Specter barely survived the last primary challenge. I think he knows he'll lose if he gets a serious challenger. Perhaps there is still a possibility that he'll retire, given his age and the battle he'd have to fight. If he does retire, he can retire with well-deserved dignity.
Allow me to end this entry with a repeat from my last one; Senator Arlen Specter deserves praise for his political courage.
A diary praising Arlen Specter makes it to the recommended-list here at the Daily Kos? Now you know that Specter is doomed to face a Republican primary challenge.
In regards to the Republican Senator that Specter was talking about, we could safely assume that they're up for reelection in 2010. We know it's not Brownback/Voinovich/Martinez/Bond/Gregg/Specter(duh). Hutchison and Murkowski are out, since Specter said "he". Not DeMint because DeMint is the most conservative of conservatives. So who could it be?
McCain is a possibility. I'm not kidding. I heard rumblings that he might have a primary challenge. His role in the immigration debate and Tarp I leave him vulnerable.
Bunning of Kentucky? Maybe. Republicans are already trying to convince him to retire due to his lackluster performance in past elections.
Vitter of Louisiana? He has been very stiff in his opposition. Suspiciously so. Oh, and when I said "stiff", surely that reminded you about Mr. Vitter's patronage to "the D.C. Madame".
Any other guesses? Answers can go here.