Arlen Specter, Democrat.

SpecterIn a stunning move today, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced that he is changing his voter registration to the Democratic Party - and he will run for re-election in 2010 as a Democrat.

With the imminent arrival of Senator-elect Al Franken of Minnesota, Specter's party switch gives the Democrats a filibuster-proof sixty seats in the Senate.

From the Washington Post:

"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."

He added: "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

Huffington Post has Specter's full statement.

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Nothing like living in a Blue State to make the Purple-voting Red-identified chiggity-check themselves.

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)
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    I think it had more to do with the fact that he saw the poll numbers showing him losing his ass against Pat "Club For Growth" Toomey in the R primary. He at least stands a chance as a Dem. and while he has indicated that he will be more of a "Lieberdem" I think the D leadership will be able to gain some leverage using primary threats of their own. When Franken does get seated (Which at this point could be sometime this fall) the party of no is going to be in deep poop. They will get all the cloture votes they need from Specter and give him a pass on final passage.

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)
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    Republicans have to be just sick about this. If they thought Swine Flu was bad wait 'til they try the F.U. Flu.

  • Mrs.Todd (unverified)
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    This seems to be similar to what happened on a larger scale in Washington County in the last few years with the socially liberal GOP changing to Dems.

  • (Show?)

    And this is why having a big tent is better than insistence on absolute party purity.

    If you constantly say "People who aren't TRUE fill_in_the_blank aren't welcome", pretty soon you'll be talking to each other in a phone booth.

  • (Show?)

    Specter to Pennsylvania GOP (in goombah patois): "Screw me? No, screw you."

  • (Show?)

    It will be interesting to see how Specter's votes change in the coming months. While he will not suddenly become a liberal, he might be free to vote in support of positions he just couldn't do as a Republican. Watch him move on saying no to cloture on issues like card check while voting against the bill itself. He will now vote to support Obama's appointments without toying with filibusters. This should go a long way to making the Senate more productive and less of a roadblock.

    That said, he will join a group of 4-6 conservative Democrats that will still vote against many progressive programs. The Democratic Party is becoming a broader tent party with a real range of serious differences, while still excluding those supporting torture, ignoring science and basic economics 101 that seem to constitute the Republican Party leadership today.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Posted by: Steve Maurer | Apr 28, 2009 10:38:36 AM

    You are absolutely right!

    All this RINO and DINO garbage in the past never solved anything.

    A party is strongest when those across the board must be listened to, not just a political spectrum from A to B.

  • jonnie (unverified)
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    In no way Spector's move is "stunning." Main Street R's are cheering the move to the DNC and his voting record won't change one bit.

    He is, was, and always will be a liberal Republican with strong Penn. Democrat support.

    Calhoun, if by torture you mean uncomfortable, science you mean political science and economics you mean public ownership/printing money then we agree.

    Remember it was Barney Frank in 2005 that stated there would be no housing bubble or burst so home ownerships can be propogated, and in 2008 he said there are no problems with Fannie and Freddie. An Pelosi who misconstrues 17th Century Scientist as a basis for deterring when life begins. You can't make this stuff up.

    That fatal economic conceit Hayek coined is growing in DC to include science and logic.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Specter has just taken the last life boat from the sinking GOP battleship to the Dem rescue boat.

    Make you wonder whos next before the R ship totally washes out.

  • jonnie (unverified)
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    Best I've read:

    "I read that he was switching parties, but I was disappointed to learn he's still a Democrat."

  • Jeff (unverified)
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    He just made official what he always was. Maybe he didn't like being the poster child for RINOs.

  • Tyrannocaster (unverified)
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    I would honestly like to know how it makes any difference at all. If he votes like a Republican what does a capital D after his name mean? I really don't get it; why is this so important? I'm not being snarky at all - can somebody answer this question even if they think it's naive?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Glenn Greenwald is distinctly unimpressed:

    "Democrats will understandably celebrate today’s announcement, but beyond the questions of raw political power, it is mystifying why they would want to build their majority by embracing politicians who reject most of their ostensible views."

  • Zune (unverified)
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    "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. "

    This guy is truly out of touch. The Republican party has definitely drifted left; spending like drunken sailors, bigger government, amnesty for illegals - these are not "right-wing" causes.

    Arlen Spector is perfect for the democRAT party - and I am sure Ira Einhorn agrees!

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    From the lastest WaPo poll on voter id:

    Rep--21%.....down 4% in a single month Dem--35% Ind--38%

    I never dreamed the GOP could fall so low so fast. Couldn't happen to a better group.

  • (Show?)

    The time is fast approaching for old and ailing and left-leaning Supreme Court justices to gracefully retire.

  • (Show?)

    I think one of the tectonic plates of American politics just shifted. Getting to 60 in the Senate is a big deal. When does he switch caucuses?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    The purity trolls will give a raspberry, but this is big! Hasn't happened since 1937. If the Naderite purity trolls ran the Democratic Party, it would be in the 21% party ID range, where the GOP is now.

    The Democratic party brand is now "big tent" and that's good for everyone. Now, how about Collins and Snowe? Your party hates you, turn New England blue!

  • (Show?)

    why is this so important? It's important symbolically and perhaps even beyond that. We may be watching the Republican Party go the way of the Whig Party it replaced. Ironically, just as the Whigs slowly transformed into that which they'd originally opposed, so too has the Republican Party evolved.

  • (Show?)

    Yo, you Republican trolls on this blog; way-to-go. You keep chasing people out of your party. You got me to leave 15 years ago. Keep up the good work. You are the best recruiters for the Democrats there are.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    This does not give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority, it gives them 60 seats. 60 votes for cloture is a separate matter.

    Also, Specter is still against EFCA. Labor will still support a primary challenger against him, and any Dem could beat Toomey in PA. The reason Specter switched was because polling made it clear he was likely to lose to Toomey in the primary, which would have been great for Democrats, as we would get a mainline Democrat in that seat. Now we have a much greater chance of a Lieberman in that seat. So while Specter's switch makes for a useful narrative, it may have reduced the number of reliable Democratic votes in the Senate in 2010.

  • (Show?)

    one of the great challenges facing the Democratic Party is how diverse we are. we range from near-socialist lefties to almost-Republican "moderates". finding a consensus within our party on a lot of critical issues is harder than hell.

    we have to figure this one out. that's the exciting part of the Obama presidency: the American people picked him over Hillary and McCain to do exactly that (nationally, not just within a party). somehow we have to learn to come together over common goals and figure out how to accomodate our differences in a positive way. if the Dems can figure out how to do that within the party (state and national level, given Oregon's amazing diversity of Dems), then we'll be in a position to lead the nation in a better direction.

    the best part of the Specter switch is that it may allow the Senate to spend its energy on actual governance and not pissing around with cloture bs. (but you can bet Coleman is going to take this to the Supreme Court now.)

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Arlen does what benefits Arlen: So when he was a repub he fussed and fumed at the wingnut crazies about this and that. However in the end, when it counted,no matter what he had said in the past, he capitulated and voted they way the party wanted him to almost every time.

    So now when he is in serious danger of losing the next election, he simply switched parties. Very Libermanesque of him I think.

    The only thing that really matters to Arlen Spector is not his principles; he has none. The only thing that matters to Arlen Spector is the power that comes with being Senator Arlen Spector.

    So, Obama can simply put a call to Spector and say, "Arlen, we love having you in the Democratic Party. You want to continue to be Senator Spector, don't you? Well we need a little help with a yes vote on this bill." I guarantee whatever 'principles' Arlen has, they won't stand in the way of continuing to be Senator Spector.

    Pretty soon, the republican party will be small enough to drown in a bath tub. Ironic, isn't it?

  • (Show?)
    I would honestly like to know how it makes any difference at all. If he votes like a Republican what does a capital D after his name mean? I really don't get it; why is this so important? I'm not being snarky at all - can somebody answer this question even if they think it's naive?

    You DO raise a good question. What will the impact really be? Obviously he won't be any more a guaranteed 60th vote than Liberdem or Ben Nelson(s), et al. But there are a couple of things one could reasonably look forward to:

    *A natural leftward drift made possible by the release from recriminations for serving that side of him (and he does have some fairly rational positions buried inside); ie he can get away with votes that he'd be crucified for in caucus meetings and by the whip were he still an R

    *As a byproduct, he can hedge his bets on a number of issues by voting FOR cloture, but AGAINST the bill. He can enable the work of the majority--and frankly I don't think Reid cares if he votes for anything once they get past the 60-vote part--and then run on his vote against the bills. EFCA will be a sentinel test of this possibility, and if I had to lay odds I'd say he's better than even money to vote for cloture and then No on the bill, when it happens.

    *He's holding a GOP seat on all of his committees. The balance of power in those cmtes is now fairly skewed, unless the Democrats submit to a reorganization bill like they do at the beginning of each Congress. However, there is already some discussion about using the power of reorganization to get Franken seated. In other words, the Dems can refuse to allow the GOP to get their committee seats back, until the Republicans agree to let Franken be seated. It would take cojones that are in short supply in the Dem Caucus, but it's totally doable.

    *Absolute worst case scenario, this seat comes open as a Democratic hold opportunity, with a retiring Specter in 2016. This will be his last term. (It's also the worst news I suppose; I suspect PA voters will re-elect him, when if he'd remained stubborn the Democrats could have put a more solid vote in there instead).

    It's not earth shattering, but there's high symbolism, and Specter talking about the GOP moving too far right for him is gold. And it puts pressure IMO on Snowe and Collins as two of the last three Senators north of...North Carolina? Wow. It makes it easier for S&C I believe, because the 60-vote threshhold would be moot post-Franken, and their defections wouldn't tip any balances by themselves.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    "We may be watching the Republican Party go the way of the Whig Party it replaced..."

    To be replaced by a new Whig Party. Seems appropriate, even if it does happen.

  • (Show?)

    (by north of NC I mean on the Eastern Seaboard, specifically the Northeast Region...it's just Snowe, Collins and Gregg now, right?)

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)
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    Tyrannocaster asks why this is so important.

    It all comes down to how his votes change based on his party affiliation. All politicians, no matter how ideological or principled they are, are creatures heavily influenced by the push and pull of their constituency. Specter just changed his constituency. Instead of having to figure out how to vote to appease Republicans, he now has to figure out how to vote to appease Democrats. What that means, practically speaking, is that on close votes he will get a slight shove to the left that he didn't have before.

    For example, he said a few weeks back that he wouldn't vote for EFCA, despite years of expressing support for this. This appeared to have been a blatant attempt to win back the favor of his base prior to next years primary. It didn't work. The polling shows him losing by 20+ points to his closest challenger for the GOP nod.

    So, now he becomes a Dem, will he change his position on EFCA? Not likely. At least not that blatantly. But, he could be persuaded to sign on to a "compromise" that allows him to save face on his position. Say, a small change to the legislation that slightly favors business but still leaves the 50+1 union membership rule. He could then vote yes on cloture, no on final passage, and still say he kept his word.

    There's no way that would happen if he were still a Republican.

    The difference will not be huge. But it could be akin to the pebble that starts the avalanche (especially if it encourages Snowe or Collins to switch).

  • jonnie (unverified)
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    Arlen Specter switched from Democrat to Republican in 1965 so that he could win an election. He is now doing the reverse for precisely the same reason.

    This is not based on morals or values but rather on the common principle the political class embraces (including Obama) political self preservation. Remain in power at all cost, even if you have to change your values and morals.

  • Old Ducker (unverified)
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    When the economy truly crashes...which is going to happen in a year or two, Stimulus Sphincter's move home will leave the GOP blameless. The only thing preventing their resurgence will be a general lack of people who understand real economics and in this respect they're not much different than the democrats.

    President Paul (Ron). Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    President Paul (Ron). Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

    Presumably this is the Ron Paul who ran the Ron Paul Charcuterie in Portland in the 90s.

  • (Show?)

    "We may be watching the Republican Party go the way of the Whig Party it replaced..."

    I doubt it. There are still a million land-mine issues that can drive moderates back to the right. I recall somebody else crowing about their "permanent majority" just a couple years ago.

    That said, the best thing about 60-in-the-Senate is that the Democrats can now govern and debate issues amongst themselves like grown-ups and give it a genuine shot at solving this country's many problems. For the next two years they won't have to deal with the increasingly insane leadership of the Rs, some of started talking secession within the first months of being out of power. Talk about un-American.

    In the both the state and federal legislatures, though, I'd view the current super-majorities as flukes not likely to survive another election cycle, especially if the Ds don't deliver big. The front page Oregonian article today detailing how the Oregon senate is effectively throwing in the towel in defending public education funding (Thanks, Senator Hass, may I have another?) this biennium does not fill me with optimism for a permanent super majority in Oregon. Worse, there's little evidence the Ds in Oregon intend to make use of their current fortunes to enact meaningful reform.

    This opportunity in both capitals should not be squandered, but we'll have to wait and see whether health care and education reform actually happen in either place or if it's all just a power game for its own end. I'm reserving judgment.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Our political system with dispersed power is generally conducive to weak parties and grandstanding individual politicians, and the entrenched two-party system makes intra-party ideological coherence practically impossible, because the dynamic is always towards the "big tent" model. The GOP managed to reinvent itself more or less along the lines of a highly disciplined parliamentary party post-1994, and they held it together for more than a decade, but finally imploded. Personally I'd prefer to see a multiparty system with ideologically coherent parties, but in the absence of such, I'll grit my teeth as a Democrat and try to deal with the Specters of the world.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Honestly, my first reaction? "YUK." (Feel free to quote me on that) I don't like Arlen Specter much more than Lieberman. He's everything that's bad about DC.

    That said, my head says 60 votes is damn important.

    Hey Minnesota... ummm... mind getting your ass in gear on Sen. Franken please?

    Now we've got to get Obama's entire agenda passed by 2010. Obama really screwed up by putting Geithner in charge of Treasury.

    The banks that Geithner threw trillions at are going to collapse again when the backside of this collapse comes around. The commercial real estate market has been mostly unaffected thus far. It's crash has yet to happen. It's going to happen, taking the banking industry Geithner propped up with trillions of our dollars crashing back down with it, forcing Obama to nationalize the banks like he should have done the first time.

    People aren't to be very happy with Obama when the second crash happens. Whatever we want to pass we better pass immediately.

  • (Show?)

    "Remain in power at all cost, even if you have to change your values and morals."

    You're right AND wrong. It was a craven political move--but it was forced upon him because he's stayed pretty consistent over 5 terms, but his party has lurched far to the right, and purged most like him.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    It was a craven political move--but it was forced upon him because he's stayed pretty consistent over 5 terms....

    Good Lord. "[F]orced upon him"? Spare me. What is it about politicians that makes the word "retirement" anathema? Well, I think we all know: addiction to power.

    Arlen Specter is 79 years old and has had multiple bouts of cancer. If Specter is re-elected as a Democrat in 2010, he will be 80 years old on election day and only one month shy of 87 when his term ends.

    Is there anyone commenting on this blog who would himself/herself insist on working a highly demanding job at Specter's age and given his medical history?

    People who see Specter as advancing their personal agendas will keep voting for the man until he's demented and being wheeled around the Capitol, just like Strom Thurmond.

  • Old Ducker (unverified)
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    Frank writes:

    "The banks that Geithner threw trillions at are going to collapse again when the backside of this collapse comes around. The commercial real estate market has been mostly unaffected thus far. It's crash has yet to happen. It's going to happen, taking the banking industry Geithner propped up with trillions of our dollars crashing back down with it, forcing Obama to nationalize the banks like he should have done the first time."

    Well, here's someone who gets it. The funny thing is that the entire TARP program is simply a shady scheme to get the taxpayers to eat the bank losses, since through intermediaries, hedge funds or other shadow entities they will become the "private investor" and when their Fed Reserve and Treasury funded black hole blows up, they'll be out nothing because the investment funds were themselves provided by the treasury.

    How's that for "change we can believe in" LOL!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If the Naderite purity trolls ran the Democratic Party, it would be in the 21% party ID range, where the GOP is now.

    In other words, Naderites, abandon your principles and forget about ethics in government. Go for the winner even it it means lining up with the likes of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank whose committees saw their jobs as whoring for Wall Street to pass a 2.5-page blank check written by ex-Goldman Sachs CEO Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. And Dodd and Frank were supported by a sizable number of Democrats, excluding Oregon's Peter DeFazio. $700 billion-dollar giveaway without an ounce of oversight. Ironically, the Republicans got it right on this occasion even if they did it for the wrong reasons.

  • Jim H (unverified)
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    Joel,

    Absolutely right. Byrd needs to go too for exactly the same reason. Who the hell votes for a 90+ year old to a 6 year term?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    From the lastest WaPo poll on voter id:

    Rep--21%.....down 4% in a single month Dem--35% Ind--38%

    I never dreamed the GOP could fall so low so fast. Couldn't happen to a better group.

    Did you ever dream that the independents would form the largest group. That's the group we Naderites (and others) are in.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Absolutely right. Byrd needs to go too for exactly the same reason. Who the hell votes for a 90+ year old to a 6 year term?

    The same people who vote strictly the party label, even if it means voting for a crook. At least Byrd had enough sense to vote against giving Bush a blank check to go to war on Iraq while explaining to 40- and 50-year-olds what their oath to uphold the Constitution meant but they apparently didn't understand.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    Old Ducker wrote:

    "The funny thing is that the entire TARP program is simply a shady scheme to get the taxpayers to eat the bank losses, since through intermediaries, hedge funds or other shadow entities they will become the "private investor" and when their Fed Reserve and Treasury funded black hole blows up, they'll be out nothing because the investment funds were themselves provided by the treasury. How's that for "change we can believe in" LOL!"

    A quick review of the facts would indicate that the authority of the United States Department of the Treasury to establish and manage TARP under a newly created Office of Financial Stability became law October 3, 2008 under President Bush. On October 14, 2008, Secretary of the Treasury Paulson and President Bush separately announced revisions in the TARP program. The Treasury announced their intention to buy senior preferred stock and warrants in the nine largest American banks.

    The election for change took place in November 2008. President Obama took office in 2009.

    Just thought you should know.

    Oh, and the switch by Specter? Although a craven politcal move, it shows just how irrelevent the GOP is fast becoming.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If you believe that Arlen Specter will be a good "Democrat" go to http://thinkprogress.org/ and do a search for "Arlen Specter" and get a little history of his actions.

    How about this one not in the search results: In Attempt To Placate The Right Wing, Collins and Specter Endorsed Pandemic Flu Funding Cut? But that's okay. He helps to get the Dems to 60 in the senate.

  • Old Ducker (unverified)
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    Scott In Damascus, yes. In fact there is a direct relationship between the T Secretaries under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations: All of them came from Goldman Sachs. The only twist Obama has added is direct government equity participation and effective control of US corporations, i.e. Fascism.

  • (Show?)

    "All of them came from Goldman Sachs."

    Geithner never worked at Goldman.

  • Old Ducker (unverified)
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    Dan, yes. My bad. I should have said T Administrations. There are plenty of GS execs working under Geithner.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Yay for Arlen Specter. This is good clean fun!

  • jonnie (unverified)
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    Your right Dan. Gietner is a career bureaucrat who not only cheated on his taxes, despite signing a document acknowleging he is responsible for his own with holdings, he didn't take his CPA's advice and claimed a business expense for his daughter's summer camp.

    He's a gambler, who is connected. If any of us did that, we'd be in jail for tax evasion.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Dan: Mr. G, however, has not distinguished himself much from the prior manner of doing business, of which he was purportedly partial architect. Most disappointing. I"m not ready to rage at the New Machine, but I'm really disappointed that we cannot successfully seat cabinate members as a result of every damned last one of them being tax evaders.... and frustrated tha it's only this administration that gets pasted with that when you know damned well this is the status quo.

    And, yes: Geithner is not showing much motivation to hold the financial industry to the same level of account as the thrice-failed, decades-loser auto industry.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Should be "cabinet". Tired.

  • Old Ducker (unverified)
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    The Geither Plan explained (courtesy of this excellent video production from Salman Khan):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-arbfLTCtI

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Did you ever dream that the independents would form the largest group.

    No shock at all. That's where I am after the Dem's drove me away a couple of years ago. When are we going to unite and have a crack at running this sucker. Sure couldn't be worse than the D/R coalition.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Did you ever dream that the independents would form the largest group.

    No shock at all. That's where I am after the Dem's drove me away a couple of years ago. When are we going to unite and have a crack at running this sucker.

    When? When more people wake up and realize they are supposed to vote for what is in the nation's best interest and not some political party to which they have surrendered their tribal loyalty. Until then the best we can do is choose the lesser of two evils.

    That's where I am after the Dem's drove me away a couple of years ago.

    My epiphany came after reading Walter Karp's essays and I was persuaded to accept what I always suspected - both parties are corrupt and only interested in their own power and influence. I.F. Stone's essays and my own observations free of tribal prejudices reinforced what Karp taught me.

  • rw (unverified)
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    I do agree with Bodden to a great degree. We have a monolithic system with two arms that stand back to back in the middle. And not much diversity otherwise. The disaffected wax and then they converge again back into the two arms of the one way... and perhaps we are again growing as a great disaffected wave. Still have hopes in the shift represented by Obama - but he WAS chosen... that can't be ignored for what it is.

    On a cheery note: cell phone drivers are on their way out. The legislators stopped short of the science, choosing instead to focus on the obvious, that of hands holding cell phones, instead of following the research that shows that the brain does NOT multi-task, it merely switches focus quickly with more or less success. And so it is we stop short of legislating around distracted driving, as they call it - on the way to at least addressing those monkeys who dial and text and so forth whilst driving. That's progress.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    @ Bill Bodden

    How many reps and senators do the Naderites have in Congress? How many presidents have you elected? Who are you running in 2012, besides Ralph, after he's been rousted out of his mummy case?

    Yup, those Naderites are a real force to be reckoned with. But your purity is intact..................................

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    The reaction over on NW Republican was amusing: The hard-core Pubbies were celebrating, saying "good riddance" and that Specter wasn't a "real Republican" anyway. This might have been just whistling past the graveyard, but my sense is that they really meant it. The members of the Republican "base" have become so hardened in their thinking and so blind to reality that they believe their party is losing elections because it is NOT FAR RIGHT ENOUGH and that enforcing rigid ideological purity is the way to save it.

    "A growing political movement is busy winning converts. A dying political movement is busy purging heretics." Not hard to figure out which category the GOP belongs in.

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    The reaction over on NW Republican was amusing: The hard-core Pubbies were celebrating, saying "good riddance" and that Specter wasn't a "real Republican" anyway. This might have been just whistling past the graveyard, but my sense is that they really meant it. The members of the Republican "base" have become so hardened in their thinking and so blind to reality that they believe their party is losing elections because it is NOT FAR RIGHT ENOUGH and that enforcing rigid ideological purity is the way to save it.

    "A growing political movement is busy winning converts. A dying political movement is busy purging heretics." Not hard to figure out which category the GOP belongs in.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    "The members of the Republican "base" have become so hardened in their thinking and so blind to reality that they believe their party is losing elections because it is NOT FAR RIGHT ENOUGH and that enforcing rigid ideological purity is the way to save it."

    Maybe they should officially change thier name from the Republican Party to the Puritan Party and make their symbol Plymouth Rock....as in hard headed and stubborn.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    How many reps and senators do the Naderites have in Congress? How many presidents have you elected?

    In other words, "winning" is the only thing and if you have to make Faustian bargains, then so be it.

    If you vote for evil, you get evil. Same for the lesser evil. If that is good enough for you, Bill R, and enough people agree with you then prospects for this nation are not much to look forward to. Perhaps, you might enlighten us with your vision for the future of this nation. Continued corruption in government regardless of party? Continued contempt for the people regardless of party? More wars based on lies to support the military-industrial complex regardless of party?

    Look at all the "winners" we have had lately: Nixon, Reagan, Poppy Bush, Clinton and Dubya. Now there's a list to be proud of.

  • rlw (unverified)
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    .... Adolescents and pathologues indulge in black and white splitting BB.

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    Bill Bodden: If you vote for evil, you get evil. Same for the lesser evil.

    This is exactly the kind of thinking I've come to expect from you, Bill. Maybe you can answer a few others:

    1] Is the world divided into people who are 100% Evil and 100% Good?

    2] If not, what do you do when dealing with someone who is 10% Evil?

    3] Is it worth it to support someone who is 90% Good over someone else who is 10% Good? Or should you hold out for 100% Good, 0% Evil?

    4] Who decides whether an issue is Evil or Good? Clearly, you have appointed yourself to that role, but is there anyone else?

    5] Since you know precisely what Good and Evil is, is there any separation between corruption and Evil? In Schindler's list, for example, Schindler used kickbacks to Nazi leaders to keep his workers (jews), alive? Is that Evil?

    6] Are negotiated settlements with people who are, in any way Evil, themselves Evil? Do you see any difference between negotiating with the Taliban and the GOP?

    7] Should a negotiated settlement involve any sort of compromise on the part of the people who are Good, or do you expect them to simply force their Evil negotiating partners to adopt the 100% not-Evil position you have?

    8] Is so, how? (Difficulty: must be Not Evil.)

    9] How does someone who has compromised their principals by negotiating with people who have at least a little Evil in them, wash themselves clean of that Evil? Is repudiating everything they've ever said or done in their life enough, or do they also need to embarrass themselves doing street theater?

    10] I would, at this point, ask what color is the sky in your world, but clearly it's entirely Black and White. So, do you see any shade of Gray in the world at all?

    Just asking.

  • rlw (unverified)
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    Maurer: where were you when I was raising my kid? I coulda used that logic when he went legalistic on me. :)

  • Old Ducker (unverified)
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    From the perspective of a political athiest:

    Both many Democrats and Republicans can see that Government is a revolving door of people from the same backgrounds and worldview regardless of administration. Both deliver the same policies, the only difference is emphasis and rhetoric. What has changed is that the "system" has broken down. It is apparent that the financial oligarchy that controls the governments of the world has led us to the brink of ruin.

    Both Democrats and Republicans who grasp this have the legitimate and correct demand to purge their ranks of "dinos" and "rinos" to restore "we the people."

    I believe that if these "liberals" could recognize that they are correct on most social and military issues but that the "conservatives" are correct on most economic and property rights issues, then a true majority could be created that could restore the American Republic to it's rightful place in the pantheon of nations.

    I'm not optimistic that such will occur, so I'd advise people to stock up on food and purchase a firearm or two if you don't currently own one.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Maurer: I have responded to the simplistic questions posed above before and recycled by you. Apparently, my responses didn't register with you then and probably won't today, but for what it is worth here is the essence of my position.

    I believe in pushing for the best system we can possibly achieve based on high moral and ethical standards. Obviously, perfection will never be reached given the human condition so some compromises must be made, but when it comes to compromise there is a point where we have to draw the line and say enough. That becomes an individual's choice for himself or herself as to where and when.

    For example, Bill Clinton, whom I will assume to be one of your heroes, could be forgiven and tolerated for getting a blow job on the job from someone other than his wife in the White House, but I believe it is a measure of one's humanity as to whether to go along with his continuing sanctions on Iraq that cost an estimated half million Iraqi children their lives. Presumably, you differ with me on this also and have some way of rationalizing this crime against humanity.

    Clinton proved himself somewhat cretinous when he couldn't stand up to political pressure and dumped Lani Guinier for a civil rights position. Kind of shameful, but I could live with that given how politics works, but it is something else to go along with the way he was an accomplice with Wall Street and went along with deregulating the banks that led to our current financial debacle. Then there was "welfare reform" that Michael Moore eviscerrated in Fahrenheit 911.

  • Frank Sturgis (unverified)
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    The "magic bullet" may not have killed JFK, but it did kill Camelot. That's what Arlen Spectre has done for America. If he hadn't been the Warren Commision junior lackey, we wouldn't know his name today. But does a little nit like that bother the Dems?

  • Billy Busdriver (unverified)
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    Egad! Two pages before someone noticed that!

    So how does Chappaquididiq never go away, but complicity in the murder of a President is forgotten?

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    Bill Bodden: I believe it is a measure of one's humanity as to whether to go along with his continuing sanctions on Iraq that cost an estimated half million Iraqi children their lives. Presumably, you differ with me on this also and have some way of rationalizing this crime against humanity.

    When acting as judge, jury, and executioner, in the "world court" that exists in your own mind, you might wish to consider the following facts:

    1) Despite the sanctions, Saddam Hussein had plenty of money to build himself over a dozen massive palaces. That money could have gone to helping the children of his country if the dictator had been so inclined, as everybody but blame-America-for-everything kooks admit. (Saddam was no Hugo Chavez.)

    2) In northern Iraq, controlled by the Kurds, there similarly was no oil money (because they had no oil). Yet they did not have anything close to that level of child death rate. This indicates to any rational person (other than blame-America-for-everything kooks) that the problem wasn't the oil sanctions. It was Saddam Hussein.

    3) The child deaths were nearly entirely concentrated in the Shiite south. Not Saddam's own Sunni tribal areas. Again, this shows exactly what was happening and why. Not that blame-America-for-everything kooks will ever admit it.

    4) The sanctions specifically excluded sales of oil to purchase food and medicine, which blame-America-for-everything kooks always manage to selectively overlook (because then you can't blame America).

    5) Even Saddam's depredations against his own people weren't so bad in a historical context. The child death rate in Iraq during the sanctions period, were nearly half the child death rate that occurred in Pakistan during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's run as PM in the 1970s. No one calls that a war crime (clearly because there was no way for blame-America-for-everything kooks find a way to blame America for it).

    6) Finally, from a moral point of view, if a criminal threatens to kill someone if you don't accede to their every demand (and then does it when you don't), that does not make you responsible for what they did. The U.S. is not responsible for the depredations of dictators who benefit themselves at the expense of their own people.

    You really are an extremist nut, Bill. You know that?

    No, probably you don't.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    This is the latest rightward move by the DP. You could have won in PA with a true progressive, but now you'll support the Liebermanesque candidate, as usual.

    Here's an excerpt from the anti-progressive Specter's statement:

    "My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change."

    (Interesting that DP agents chose to delete this part of Specter's statement, isn't it?)

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    Well, Specter's now in <s>good</s> bad company: he joined 11 other Dems in killing the mortgage "cramdown" bill.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Maurer: As usual your fiction doesn't stand up to reality.

    "Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it."

    Source: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1084

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    As usual, Bodden, you are a sanctimonious kook. There is no evidence that even if the U.S. allowed Saddam to sell as much oil as he wanted to reconstitute his armies, any of that money would have improved the infrastructure that might have improved the child death rate. And a passing quote from Albright that you try to twist into pretending she is accepting responsibility for what Saddam was doing to his own people does not actually make that fact. It wouldn't have done so even if she had errantly accepted such responsibility.

    Further, you don't understand math. Comparing any single event is absurd next to large scale population averages of overall human health.

    For example, the U.S. has an average child death rate of 6.89 per 1000. We presently have 304 million people alive, all of whom were born, so that means that considerably more than two million children have died in the U.S. That's far more than that died in Hiroshima. Oh, but where are the genocide comparisons? The strained mewlings of the anti-American bigots?

    Go away you stupid sanctimonious anti-American kook.

  • Idaho River Journeys (unverified)
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    So, Allbright gets a bye for the fact that, when directly asked by the Tariq Asiz if the US cared if they invaded Kuwait, wasn't acting precisely as described when she said, "No."?

  • Michael Ohio (unverified)
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    Arlen Specter was the source of the ‘magic bullet’ explanation for the assassination of President Kennedy. It was pure bunk and allowed Oswald, the designated patsy, to solely take the blame. For the Democrat party to now embrace him is despicable and shows a horrendous lack of character. Specter is a shameless opportunist and his magic bullet was a lie. He belongs in prison for that and other activities he has participated in.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Go away you stupid sanctimonious anti-American kook.

    Maurer: I trust you will pardon me if I don't get down in the gutter with you and continue this debate. On the other hand, you probably don't have enough class to pardon anyone who offends you, especially anyone calling your bullshit. It takes a good man to admit to being wrong.

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    Idaho River Journeys: So, Allbright gets a bye for the fact that, when directly asked by the Tariq Asiz if the US cared if they invaded Kuwait, wasn't acting precisely as described when she said, "No."?

    Iraq invaded Kuwait during the Administration of George Herbert Walker Bush. Not Bill Clinton. Allbright was Bill Clinton's Secretary of State. His second, in fact.

    Further, even George H.W. Bush gets a pass on this. From the wiki entry on April Glaspie:

    In 2002, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs published a new account of the Glaspie-Saddam meeting by Andrew Kilgore, a former U.S. ambassador to Qatar. Kilgore summarized the meeting as follows:[4]

    At their meeting, the American ambassador explained to Saddam that the United States did not take a stand on Arab-Arab conflicts, such as Iraq’s border disagreement with Kuwait. She made clear, however, that differences should be settled by peaceful means.

    Glaspie’s concerns were greatly eased when Saddam told her that the forthcoming Iraq-Kuwait meeting in Jeddah was for protocol purposes, to be followed by substantive discussions to be held in Baghdad.

    James Akins, the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia at the time, offered a somewhat different perspective in a 2000 interview on PBS:

    [Glaspie] took the straight American line, which is, we do not take positions on border disputes between friendly countries. That's standard. That's what you always say. You would not have said, "Mr. President, if you really are considering invading Kuwait, by God, we'll bring down the wrath of God on your palaces and on your country, and you'll all be destroyed." She wouldn't say that, nor would I. Neither would any diplomat.

    Joseph C. Wilson, Glaspie's Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad, referred to her meeting with Saddam Hussein in a May 14, 2004 interview on Democracy Now!: an "Iraqi participant in the meeting [...] said to me very clearly that Saddam did not misunderstand, did not think he was getting a green or yellow light." However, Wilson also cited a letter signed by President George H. W. Bush that was sent to Iraq a couple of days afterwards, which he described as having a conciliatory tone.

    Wilson's and Akins' views on this question are in line with those of former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who stated in a 1996 interview with Frontline that, prior to the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq "had no illusions" about the likelihood of U.S. military intervention. Similarly, in a 2000 Frontline interview, Aziz declared, "There were no mixed signals"

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    Bill Bodden: I trust you will pardon me if I don't get down in the gutter with you and continue this debate.

    I'll believe that when you start apologizing for all the attacks you have made against others.

    What you really mean, Bodden, is that you can dish it out, but when someone starts pointing out the truth, you pretend as if you're just this poor little innocent victim. Why is everyone always so mean to you? Why does everybody act offended all the time? It's everyone else that's bad, not you.

    Again, go away you stupid sanctimonious anti-American kook.

  • rw (unverified)
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    STEVE! Shame on you! After I lectured Bodden on the outrageousness of his claim that you folks call other folks anti-American! Steve! Have a little pity on me, your fellow intransigent and IRRELEVENT posting peer. I was trying for topical and relevant, dammit.

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    Pretending America is perfect, and that evil done in the name of patriotism should not be corrected, is anti-American.

    Blaming America for the actions of others over which our people have no control is also anti-American.

    Loving ones country means neither possessing unreasoning anger against it nor making unreasonable excuses when we truly err. To perfect our union instead requires that one both admit our faults yet also possess the faith to believe we can correct them.

    To my mind, there is only one political group in this country that possesses both these traits: Democrats. And we have extremists on either side who attack us because of it.

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