28 April 2009

The Specter of Sixty

Coming back from my morning classes, I was treated to some interesting news filtering in from the political side of the internets. Apparently Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is now Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA). Gone is the interesting tid-bit of Pennsylvania being a state with a pro-life Democratic senator and a pro-choice Republican senator. Gone is the Republican primary battle that many pundits say Specter would have lost. Inching ever closer, however, is the fabled number 60, which will give the Democrats (along with their caucus compatriots, "Independent Democrat" Joe Lieberman and "Independent" Bernie Sanders) the theoretical ability to pass legislation without the threat of a fillibuster. Once this mess with Minnesota gets sorted out, the Democrats will finally be able to get that progressive agenda pushed through that they've really really wanted to do for so many years, but have been blocked by those evil Republicans. Finally, we'll get universal healthcare, troops out of Iraq, the right for workers to organise, and equal rights for all!

Heh, okay.

I don't think even the most self-deluded Democrats think this. But it seems like much of the media is portraying Specter's switch as a major coup by the Democrats, and while it may be an important propaganda victory for them on the lines of "moderates leaving the sinking and ever-rightward-moving ship of the GOP," it's not like this will give them another reliable vote on things like, say, the Employee Free Choice Act. That is, if the Democratic Party as a whole is even interested in pursuing that anymore anyway.

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