Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter's Change and the Next Two Years

Arlen Specter, a well-respected Senator from Pennsylvania, has announced that he is switching parties from a Republican to a Democrat. Specter is someone I like particularly, who has been moderate and willing to support our troops. If I was a Pennsylvania voter, I would probably vote for him, not for his party, but on his record.

However, this is still some bad news for an already reeling Republican party. I, as most did, believed that Jim Tedisco would win the special election in Upstate New York, especially after he took the lead in the vote count. However, he somehow lost. Al Franken is also likely to join the United States Senate from Minnesota, after a fishy 'victory' over Senator Norm Coleman.

And now this. The Democrats have large majorities in both houses, as well as the Executive Branch. When Specter switches, and when Franken is seated, then they will have a filibuster-proof majority. Now, this isn't as bad as it sounds. If any defectors jump ship on an imprtant issue, then the Dems can't hold the line. However, on a particularly thorny issue, they can pull party politics and push through some of what they please.

But the news isn't all bad. With 60 votes in the Senate and a majority in the House, the ball is squarely in the Democrats' court. With Obama at the helm and Congress a lock, any major issues that happen in the country will land at their feet. If Congress votes itself a payraise, the Republicans can rightly claim that the Democrats had control. If taxes spike, the same thing. If welfare increases, then the Democrats could get the blame.

But in the world of celebrity politics, it might just take Olbermann and Jon Stewart to offer some faux reason why it's President Bush or Dick Cheney's fault and everyone will fall in line. Who would want to agree with Dick Cheney, anyway?

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