Lisa Hirsch's Classical Music Blog.
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve. Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
Opinions expressed on this blog are mine and not my employer's.
Specter really is a conservative Republican in his bones; he's just not right-wing enough for the current party. He'll be an awkward fit in the Democratic caucus. He won't be an automatic vote for cloture, and 60 names in your caucus isn't a magic bullet.The main joy to be had out of this is watching the Republicans splutter.
The 60 votes thing seems to be based on straight all-the-time party-line voting; have the 10-14 blue dogs already been forgotten?
Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com has an analysis of what happens to Congresscritters' votes when they switch parties, and he found a significant effect. I do not think Specter is a conservative Republican at heart; I think he's more centrist. But we'll see.
Specter is only a centrist because of the shift in definitions of Republican positions. Even as they hold Reagan as a model, many of his policies are dangerously left-wing by their standards, and Nixon's economic policies were more "liberal" than Obama's.
When Arlen Specter was Philadelphia District Attorney in 1967, I was one of a group of antiwar demonstrators he prosecuted. We got off, in large part because the Mayor (a Democratic machine hack named James H. J. Tate if you can believe it) had invoked a blatantly unconstitutional 19th century ordinance which we set out to challenge; it was election time and Specter and Mayor Tate went after each other for spinelessness and ineptitude, respectively. Meanwhile we had six lawyers vying to represent us in what everyone knew would be a defense walkover. Good times.
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