by Max Brantley
CNN reports that Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, facing likely defeat in a Republican primary, will switch to the Democratic Party.
He could become the 60th Democratic vote. But that presumes all Democrats would vote Democratic. If you know what -- who -- I mean.
Also, I second Atrios, who wrote: "I'm obviously not very optimistic that this will lead to good. I've lived under the wanktitude of Specter long enough to know that he rarely actually does anything positive. As Harry Reid said to a small group of bloggers last year in Denver, (quote from memory) "Arlen Specter's with us except when we need him." Question now is whether Specter will be with them when they do need him."
Specter's already said he won't support an Obama Justice Department pick, Dawn Johnsen, opposed by the hard right because she supports reproductive rights, and that he won't vote to end a filibuster on the Free Choice Act. (Wonder if Mark Pryor supports Dawn Johnsen, or does he only work for bipartisans solutions in the case of troglydyte Republican Supreme Corut nominees with proven anti-abortion records.)
UPDATE: Real Arkansas angle. The potential loss of Specter makes the Republican Senatorial Committee even more serious about stirring up legit candidates in every possible state. Sen. Blanche Lincoln looks at least slightly vulnerable. Sen. Kim Hendren is in. Sen. Gilbert Baker is not yet out. And now I hear NLR business executive Curtis Coleman, a former Huckabee worker, is almost certainly in. Rumors already are flying that Huckabites -- Rex Nelson, Brenda Turner, Jason Brady and Kirsten Fedewa -- will join his team, with financial support from Carl Rosenbaum.
The more the merrier. And a Coleman-Hendren primary presents in new form the old Hutchinson-Huckabee Republican Party cage match -- at least by proxy. (Hendren is kin to the Hutchinsons, if you didn't already know.)
More from Sen. Lincoln ...
RELEASE FROM BLANCHE LINCOLN:
Washington – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln released the following statement today:
“Senator Specter is a highly respected colleague with whom I have had the pleasure to serve alongside in the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He has been a leading advocate for health care research funding, and I am proud to work with him in his efforts.
“Senator Specter’s party affiliation will not change his views or how he represents his constituents of Pennsylvania. I am a testament to the fact that the Democratic Party embraces a variety of viewpoints. I welcome Senator Specter to our diverse party, where I know his voice and his ideas will add to the spirited debate on issues critical to our country.”