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April 29, 2009 - John Stack
Murphy Wins! Yay! Nuff said
And now the Super Majority! Yesterday, long, long time GOP member Arlen Specter switched from GOP to Democrat. The leaders of the GOP responded with typical graciousness – Sen Mitch McConnel saying the switch posed a ‘threat to the country’.- RNC Chair Michael Steele - …’didn’t leave the Republican party on principles of any kind….his left wing voting record’ and Sen John Cornyn ‘the height of political preservation’. And the GOP still wonders why they lost the presidency, the House, the Senate, and the trust of the American public.
Mitch McConnel says the switch posed a threat to the country. He meant that by creating a possible ‘super majority’ there would be no checks and balances on the power of the Democrats. I don’t think many people believe him on either part. Exactly what threat does this pose? I really don’t know. There are no checks and balances? The biggest set of checks and balance rests in the hands of the electorate. The GOP was going to try to run Specter out of office next year anyway. He was a thorn in the side of their far right conservative views for 30 years. If Specter does win the race in 2010, then what will McConnel say? The American voting public is so dumb they are choosing to pose a threat to the country. Maybe. But, the real threat is of course to McConnel and his fellow Republicans. Had they not been power hungry (with sugar plum thoughts of Karl Rove telling them his legacy would be a permanent Republican majority) and disenchanted the American voters, they wouldn’t be in this situation.
Did Specter cause the Senate to fall into Democratic hands? No. Did he lose the presidential election? no. Did he give away the House (of Representatives)? no. What he did was give the Democrats a possible filibuster proof majority (assuming Norm Coleman finally gives up – another reason American hold politicians in such high regard). What this means is that typically, a minority can block a proposal from going to the floor for a vote. There needs to be a supermajority (60%) to override the filibuster. This doesn’t mean the GOP doesn’t get to vote. It actually means the everyone MUST vote on the proposal at hand. Normally, one might think the final vote on the proposal would be preordained as 60-40. But that’s often not the case at all. Many in the minority don’t want a vote because it would expose which way they would vote. Many have districts back home that want a proposal passed, but it is poor within the political party to vote as such. So, they just want to avoid any vote at all. They’d rather be called obstructionists than Socialists.
Now, I am not naïve enough to believe Specter switched parties for the most altruistic reasons. He knew he probably would have lost the Republican primary. But, that in and of itself is a good enough reason to switch. If Specter was to run straight up against his Republican primary opponent, or Democratic opponent, chances are he would win. To deny him the chance to run in the full election would really show the problem with the 2 party system – best in the state, but second in his own party (Remember Joe Lieberman of
I do though never look upon party switches mid-stream with any sense of trust. If I elected a congressman or senator, I expect certain things. If I voted for him or her out of party allegiance (the majority do) and they switched, I would feel betrayed. But, again this is politics and this does happen infrequently. Each side is just glad when it happens to the other guy.
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