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The Specter defection

By Charles Bloomer
web posted May 4, 2009

Arlen Specter, Senator from Pennsylvania, defected last from the Republican Party to become a Democrat.  Of course, the senator’s move elicited a lot of excited coverage by the ink-stained wretches in the mainstream press, most of whom are themselves Democrats and who are thrilled anytime a politician leaves the Republicans to become a Democrat.  The Liberal mavens in the chattering class trotted out their favorite Republican friends to expound on the imminent demise of the Republican Party.  James Carville claims that the Specter defection proves that the Republicans will spend the next 40 years in the minority.  I never realized just how important one RINO could be.

What does it really mean?  Not much.

Specter’s switch is mostly symbolic.  He is widely known as a RINO – a Republican In Name Only – and has never been a reliable Republican supporter.  Most recently, Specter was one of three Republicans to vote for cloture on the $787 Billion stimulus package (Snowe and Collins of Maine were the other two), thereby paving the way for its passage.  But now, Specter is the Democrats’ problem.

With the addition of another potential vote in the “D” column, the Democrats are also facing increased danger.  With the magical filibuster-proof super-majority in the senate (assuming the clown from Minnesota Al Franken gets his seat), the Democrats have overwhelming power to press forward with their agenda.  But without effective opposition from the Republicans, the Democrats now own the success or failure of that agenda.  Failures are now Democrats’ failures and George W. Bush is no longer their scapegoat.

The Democrats will now have to shoulder all the blame for the damage done to the economy by their massive deficits, increased taxes, and huge increases in energy costs.
Despite all the cheerleading by the slobbering sycophants in the mainstream press, the first 100 days of Democrat control of the White House and both houses of Congress have not been especially successful.  Democrat power is presiding over unemployment approaching 9% and a first quarter economic contraction of 6.7%.  Even the Democrat President Barack Obama admits things are going to get worse before they get better.  Obama can claim he inherited the deficit problem all he wants.  Democrats now own the situation, for better or worse.

So, is the Democrat agenda of increased government socialism and nationalization of private industry a sure thing?  Will we see a government takeover of our healthcare?  Will we get draconian regulations to control climate change?  Will America become Europe?  Not necessarily.

There are possibly enough moderate Democrats who remember Clinton’s debacle of trying to nationalize healthcare.  Those moderate Democrats might just realize that the destruction of one-seventh of the American economy by a government take-over will be stamped with a giant fluorescent neon red “D” and that they will be punished by the voters for their participation.  As a result, there may be enough moderates that speak out to nullify Specter’s defection.

Democrats are well aware of studies that show that their cap and trade carbon scheme will cost the average American family an additional $3000 a year for electricity and natural gas.  Are Democrats willing to take the blame for what amounts to an exorbitant energy tax?  Especially when it will hurt middle and lower-class families?  The moderates may think twice about that.
On April 29, the House passed the $3.5 Trillion budget.  Seventeen Democrats voted against it.  Maybe the Democrats’ vision of tyrannical one-party rule is mostly hope and not much change.

Arlen Specter provides the Democrats with their symbolic super-majority, but also with a super-responsibility.  He might be the dark cloud that goes with the silver lining.  With their overwhelming majority, Democrats will no longer be able to hide behind Republican recalcitrance and obstructionism.  Democrats will now be on the hook for every mistake, every misstep and every failure.

Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Are there enough principled Democrats to prevent absolute corruption?

Time will tell. ESR

Charles Bloomer is a Contributing Editor for Enter Stage Right.  His website is Liberty Call U.S. © 2009 Charles Bloomer.

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