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April 29, 2009

Best Post I've Read In A *Very* Long Time

Here.

I will have some serious thoughts later on after I get done with work. But John gets it - or at least most of it.

I am sick, sick, sick (not to mention furious) over this Specter thing but then I've criticized Specter for years for his tepid support of his own party. I don't agree that he left the party because of asshats who think ridding the party of what they call "RINOs" will magically give Rethugs the votes they need to win elections and battles in Congress. The guy left because he perceived (correctly) that right now Republicans are extremely unpopular. His defection was more about pragmatism than principle.

Still, I feel utterly betrayed by this whack job because he's using legitimate gripes voiced by moderates to cover his sorry, expedient ass. I'm not sure whether his Saudi Sweep from "the country needs me to remain Republican" to "I'm a loyal Democrat" is best explained by insanity or substance abuse?

Not that I'm ticked off at Specter or anything :p

Update: this is almost unbearably cool:

spectre.jpg

Note: the following directions refer to the interactive display in the linked article, not to my static jpeg.

Red dots are Republican senators, blue dots are Democrats, and Specter is purple. The two independents, who caucus with Democrats, are light blue.

Any two senators are connected if they have voted the same way on 65 percent of the votes in 2009—an admittedly handpicked threshold number that best displays the connections and divisions.

Mouse over a dot to see a senator's name. All those to whom he is connected—that is, those he has voted with at least 65 percent of the time—will be highlighted in yellow.

There are nearly 2,400 connections among the senators, so at first the graphic will look chaotic and bounce around a bit. Eventually, like the Senate itself, it will resolve to an equilibrium that shows two distinct camps.

Check it out.

Posted by Cassandra at April 29, 2009 07:37 AM

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Comments

Specter is a politician or bka a political "tool"

Not that I am ticked off at Specter or anything....

Posted by: Ree at April 29, 2009 11:28 AM

Specter is a man of many convictions, none of which are his own.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 29, 2009 11:34 AM

I'm kind of bemused by all the attention Specter is getting on this. All he's done is changed his affiliation to reflect his voting record. For the list makers and button sorters this is a gain for the Democrats, but it doesn't change anything from a practical standpoint. Vote based on what they do, not what they say.

Posted by: Pogue at April 29, 2009 11:50 AM

Here's a list of his votes against his party:

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/s000709/votes/against-party/

He voted with the party 65% of the time. That needs to be compared with how a Dem Senator would vote, by the way, and not how his fellow Rethugs voted because that's where we are now :p

That said, I found his votes against the party mostly mystifying. If there's a whiff of principle there I was unable to ascertain it.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 12:01 PM

We always referred to him as Arlen Spectre -- because when you needed someone to stand up for Republican core values, he'd vanish.

The only thing Specter was noted for was siding with Democrats and telling stale Polish jokes -- which the Left gleefully pointed out as an example of "Republican bigotry."

Heh. Now *they've* got him. They'll either ignore his Polish jokes or cited them as an example of his "sly sense of humor"...

Posted by: BillT at April 29, 2009 12:11 PM

The article you linked is precisely why I've been ignoring all those appeals for contributions I get from the NRSC, NRCC and GOP. I don't trust the party. I'll donate - when the time comes - to individual candidates based on whether or not they hold (mostly) the same views I do, and whether or not I think I can trust them to stick to principle if elected...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 29, 2009 12:22 PM

Three comments.

1) Specter was originally a Democrat and only changed party affiliations to Republican after losing in the Democratic Primary for a District Attorney position (Which he then went on to win).

2) Specter did not revert back to Democrat because Republicans are unpopular. He did so for the exact same reason he became a Republican. He believes that he will lose in the Republican primary. Not because he believes he couldn't win the general election with an (R) behind his name. But because with an (R) behind his name he wouldn't make it to the general election to start with.

3) Specter's voting will shift even more leftward. It has to. He will need the support of the Democratic leadership to fend off any other Democrat challengers. This support must be paid for somehow. In politics this is done through party line voting.

So... he knows he will be challenged by a strong conservative. If he also doesn't want to be challenged by a strong liberal he must prove himself to be "a good little Democrat". Any support he gives to Republicans, even on things he would have normally agreed with Repubs on anyway (say opposing a new AWB) will be seen as treason. He's already pissed off one party, he can't afford to piss off the other.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 29, 2009 12:28 PM

How much you want to bet he loses the next election? And quite possibly the primary as well?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 12:38 PM

As evidence for #2. Specter was in a close race in the Repub primary last year, that is, until Bush thew his support behind him instead of his conservative challenger.

With Obama in the White House, there are no conservative coattails for him to ride on to survive in a primary challenge.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 29, 2009 12:40 PM

Given that Specter is obviously not stupid, I give him pretty good odds at winning both the primary and the general.

He'll spend quite a bit of time ingratiating himself to Pelosi and Reid over the next year to earn their backing. In turn, they would have to be stupid not to back their lapdog with their full effort.

Still his chances in the Democratic primary are not 100%, granted, but they're a darn sight better than the 0% he's got in the Republican one.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 29, 2009 12:50 PM

Spectre represents only his own interests and not those of his constituents. He is a will-of-the-wisp chameleon who changes with the background to maintain his grasp on power.

At his age, one would hope he understood that loyalty and substance were the hallmarks of greatness that could have been his legacy. What he will leave behind will be a history of expediency in the face of challenge. I predict he will not win as a democrat and retire to a self-imposed exile contemplating his failure of humility.

Good riddance!

Posted by: vet66 at April 29, 2009 01:29 PM

Well, these folks do keep sending Murtha back. I suppose I may have overestimated them. Still, people don't like someone who keeps switching parties. I wonder how that will play?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 01:30 PM

...or what vet66 said :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 01:30 PM

I think the part that makes me mad about any officeholder that switches parties, is that they made a sort of contract with those who elected them. Specter was elected as a Republican. If he thinks he's now a Democrat, fine. But he should resign, not just keep the job and do whatever he wants. That's not what he was hired to do. I think he'd become a Communist if he felt he stood the best chance of getting elected that way.

Phil Gramm was a U. S. Rep from Texas who was a Democrat, but in 1983 he decided he was going to switch to Republican. He resigned, then faced the people in a special election, which he won. The people of Texas sent Phil Gramm to Congress, because they liked him regardless of his party affiliation. But they got to make that judgment.

The way Specter did it is The Way Of The Weasel.

Posted by: MathMom at April 29, 2009 02:21 PM

Can we get the Dems to take the rest of the RINOs along with Specter? And can we get Zell Miller in exchange?

Posted by: HomefrontSix at April 29, 2009 03:08 PM

Don't get me wrong. I'd love nothing more than for him to get trounced at the next election.

But I just don't see him thinking to himself: "Hey, I'm going down in a ball of flames next election anyway, and while if I switch Parties I'll be considered a no-good opportunistic hack by by sides, at least I get to run with the popular crowd for a couple of years."

Sorry, I'm just not buying it.

The only reason for him to switch parties is if he believes he has a better chance of reelection as a disloyal opportunistic hack Democrat who will stab Republicans in the front rather than a "loyal" Republican who will stab Republicans in the back.

Sure he's a (f/t)ool. But a (f/t)ool that might be able to keep his job so long as he's useful

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 29, 2009 03:26 PM

How much you want to bet he loses the next election? And quite possibly the primary as well?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 12:38 PM

HA HA HA!!!! Primary! PRIMARY??? Any Pennsyvania democrat evan having a wet dream about challenging Mr. Specter will be found in short order inthe dumpster of political history. Do you have any idea what Nancy, Harry and the Boys at 1600 PA Ave must have promised this guy in return for his new found allegiance to the Democratic party? Me neither. But I'm willing to bet your life's salary that the Keystone State is about to experience an absolute downpour of federal "stimulus" funds... so long as Arlen toes his new party's line.

I'm forecasting that Mr. Specter's current stance opposing the Union or Die Act, oops! I meant "The Employee Opportunity To Get Screwed in an Undemocratic Fashion Act" will quietly evaporate during a summertime slow-news holiday weekend. The Over and Under is July 1 through August 22.

Place your bets.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 29, 2009 04:04 PM

Well, you all know more about this stuff than I do, so maybe I'm out to lunch on this one.

I would just think that having switched parties makes him very unappealing and he has voted with the Republicans way too often for Democrats to view this as a principled move. If I were a Dem, I wouldn't vote for him unless I had no other choice.

Also, doesn't he have Hodgkins' or something?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 04:15 PM

Its a sad, sad day when a Hero of Moderate Principles and Values like Specter is cast out of the Republican Party by the evil conservatives. It is not poor Arlen's fault, no. It is the vast, right-wing conspiracy to blame! If the Republicans had any sense or desire to win elections, they would have leaned on Specter's evil conservative primary opponent to give up so Specter could win unopposed. That might have kept him a Republican, which is the only thing that really matters.

After all, the only hope the GOP has is to elect as many Arlen Specters as it can. Anything else is electoral suicide, particularly if his evil conservative opponent wins! Everyone knows electing conservatives will only result in electoral defeats for the GOP. Only moderates like Specter, Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe, and such can save the Party.

I am dumbfounded at the bungling of the GOP leadership here. They should have offered Specter any bribe or concession whatsoever to keep him in the party. Swelling Party ranks is the only thing that matters come election day. I shed a sad tear for the loss of Arlen Specter, one of the Party's last hopes for salvation from conservative tyranny. Go bravely, thou Noble Soul!

Posted by: a former european at April 29, 2009 04:37 PM

Pppphhhhhtttthhh :p

Did I say anyone should have bribed him to stay?

However, John's point is a good one. If you have only 30 "real Republican" Senators, you will lose every single vote.

Cold comfort, that. Especially when even an asshat like Specter voted with the party 65% of the time. In a close vote, 2 or 3 "worthless" Rethugs can make the difference between living with trillions of dollars of debt and having some influence over the future of this oountry.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 04:42 PM

You know, I am not the smartest light bulb in the knife drawer, but even I don't believe every single Republican votes his or her ideals. The difference between winning and losing in Congress is votes.

I don't give a rat's ass where they come from. I just want my side to outnumber the other side so we don't take it in the shorts like we are now. From where I sit, our current position looks a lot like impotence.

Not good.

That said, he makes a great comedic target.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 04:46 PM

afe:

Where are the moderates making the arguments you are making fun of? I'm just curious. Even Olympia Snowe isn't saying anything close to that.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 04:58 PM

I remember when Jim Jeffords switched parties, and then appeared on C-Span to talk about his little book about political conviction. When asked, point blank, about why he changed parties, he just couldn't give a coherent answer.
Joe Lieberman votes with the Democrats most of the time, but consistently voted with the "War Party" and the Bush Administration over Iraq. And at least he was coherent about it. That brought the ire of the party upon him, but he still was re-elected and caucuses with the Democrats.
The last senator that I recall that changed parties was Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell of Colorado, who changed parties in 1995, I think (from D- to R-). And then he did not stand for re-election in his next term

As far as all the mean things that are said about Arlen, cancer, being a survivor and changing parties, I have only one thing to say:

"Not proven!"

Buw-hahahahaha!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 29, 2009 05:03 PM

I think if more folks looked at the actual voting records of their reps, they'd be surprised. I know I always am.

There's what they say.

And then there's how they vote, which most of the time is more a reflection of pressure from their constituents than personal conviction (unless their own party is successful in getting them to stand with their party regardless of either consideration.

Either way, in the end voting comes down to numbers: plain and simple. If you want to win, you need more votes than the other side.

In that case, what's better? A guy you can't count on 35% percent of the time? Or one you CAN count on to vote against you at least 65% of the time? How much is that satisfying feeling of having a "real" conservative worth to you?

How smart is Jim DeMint? How many votes does he think the party would win with only 30 Senators?

I was pretty good at math in college. No matter how you slice it, that doesn't add up.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 05:16 PM

A Former Euro;

Let me give you the Readers Digest version of what the future holds for the "Spectre";

He is a whore in a whorehouse receiving gifts in the dead of night when the doorbell rings heralding the arrival of a poorly wrapped package sitting forlornly on the doormat, a reminder of things to come and things that didn't come.

What a legacy to contemplate in the twilight of your life.

Posted by: vet66 at April 29, 2009 05:25 PM

Cass, I like how my posts prompt responsive multiples of yours. It is my charm, of course, nest-ce pas?:)

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his immortal soul? Alternatively, "I would rather go into battle with 5 lions than 500 sheep".

There is quantity, and then there is quality. If "victory" means achieving 80 Republican senators, an overwhelming majority, but at the cost of each of those 80 senators being of the Arlen Specter variety, then to me that is no victory at all.

A Republican majority, under those circumstances, would be meaningless. I care nothing for a Republican Party that is nothing more than a "lite" version of the Democrats, i.e. we'll only waste 10 trillion dollars, where the Democrats would have wasted 12 trillion! If that is all the GOP has to offer, then let it die and good riddance.

During the Bush years, the GOP squandered its power by acting just like Democrats, rather than the small govt, fiscal conservatives that they had claimed to be. Moving even closer to the democrats, and further abandoning their conservative principles, is now supposed to re-inspire the public to vote Republican? You're dreaming.

Posted by: a former european at April 29, 2009 05:54 PM

Moving even closer to the democrats, and further abandoning their conservative principles, is now supposed to re-inspire the public to vote Republican? You're dreaming.

You persist in misquoting me. While this may amuse you, afe, it doesn't win the argument b/c you're not arguing with me or anything I have said.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 05:57 PM

Well, you all know more about this stuff than I do, so maybe I'm out to lunch on this one.
Posted by: Cassandra at April 29, 2009 04:15 PM

Dear Lady, you know exactly the same facts as I, it's just that by now I'm now thoroughly jaded by institutional pay and play that having witnessed, first-hand the shallow depths of the political soul, I have become *gasp* a cynic. But such fate is is not of my choosing. That I must inhabit a world of black and gray, whistling as my pennance, would be too bleak to bear if not for the least glimmer of character and honesty - not to mention great legs - embodied in Miss California.

There's an old new wave song by Devo that asked and answered a very simple question: "Are we not men? We are devo." I'm finally starting to appreciate the irony, Ms. Tingle. Really, I am.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 29, 2009 06:01 PM

If I were a Dem, I wouldn't vote for him unless I had no other choice.

Today, yes. Absolutely.

With nearly 2 years to solidify his liberal bona fides after his "Come to the diety or non-diety of your choice moment" and the full weight of the Democratic Leadership and its funding machine...

Well, maybe. Maybe not. But any chance is better than 0.

But to AFE's point, this will actually be a great test bed for the anti-RINO position.

If Toomey wins in Pennsylvania then the Anti-RINOs win as we gave up 90% to only get 65%.

If Toomey losses, however, the Anti-RINOs lose as 65% was a heck of a lot better than the (if we're lucky) 10% that you'll get from a Democrat Specter or the 0% we'll get from a Democrat-to-be-named-later.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 29, 2009 06:09 PM

Well, these folks do keep sending Murtha back.

It's a union thing -- ex-Marine, and all that...

Posted by: BillT at April 29, 2009 06:19 PM

It always amazes me how full of vileness and blatent hatred so many of you have for anything even remotely Republican. Most Republican posters are not like that vs Democratic figures. If you put Black/Jew/Women etc in place of "Rethug" or "Repug" etc, you would be branded a biggot, or a racist, or worse. Lets stop being sore winners shall we? Let's really take a long hard look at ourselves, shall we. How can we stand up vs waterboarding and racial profiling, vs basicly anyone not like us, if we can't be expected to speak civily to each other, if we can't treat each other as Americans, do we derserve to consider ourselves as such?

Posted by: JoeVoter at April 30, 2009 12:14 AM

"I would rather go into battle with 5 lions than 500 sheep".

Lions are useless against kudzu.

Posted by: BillT at April 30, 2009 12:39 AM

Joe:

May I suggest that you put that enormous chip you seem to be carrying on your shoulders aside for just a moment? I presume you've heard of sarcasm?

I'm not a Democrat. In fact, I've voted solidly Republican ever since the 1980 election. In light of that, you might try entertaining the novel thought that there might be some reason I'd use the term 'Rethug' other than vilifying the party I have voted for in every single election for nearly 30 years.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 30, 2009 05:49 AM

I think Joe should read what's displayed on his screen vice skimming it and boldly jumping blindly into they abyss of irritating the Blog Princess.

YMMV, of course.

Posted by: Porky Porkerton at April 30, 2009 04:07 PM

And would you *please* remove thet randum cheracter generator script you've installed?

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at April 30, 2009 04:26 PM

Ppphhhhhtttthhh! :)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 30, 2009 04:43 PM

BillT: I applaud your comparison of politicians to a hard-to-exterminate biological nuisance. Well done sir!

Posted by: a former european at April 30, 2009 04:47 PM

Thankee, sorr.

*tugging forelock*

I never have to worry that my excessive subtlety is too excessively subtle for VC.

Posted by: BillT at May 1, 2009 09:19 AM

There was a whiff of something all right. It just wasn't principle. You'll find it in the Donovan's horse pasture...

Posted by: Cricket at May 1, 2009 10:18 AM

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