Specter switches

About time. But he still won’t support EFCA or be a reliable vote for cloture. Primary him.

1. Yes, he did it.

2. What took him so long?

3. Specter waited until it became clear that he had no chance against the Club for Growth wingnut in a Republican primary.

4. On the surface, this looks like a unilateral decision rather than the result of a negotiation with Reid.

5. Specter announced right away that he won’t be an automatic cloture vote and that he’s still against EFCA, which he used to be for. Maybe that means he’s hoping to do the negotiation after the switch: a subcommittee and no primary in return for some votes.

6. In Reid’s shoes, I wouldn’t be inclined to deal. The best way to get Arlen’s vote is to make him compete in a Democratic primary. He might well be beaten, giving us an actual Democrat rather than another Ben Nelson or Blanche Lincoln. There’s simply no reason to have a Senator from Pennsylvania who votes against workers’ rights. If Specter were beaten, I can’t see the victor then losing to the Club for Growth guy in November.

7. 59/99 = 0.595959…< 0.6. Even with Specter, the Dems won't be able to break a filibuster against seating Franken without at least one Republican vote.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com