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Specter Switch: What Will Feminists Do?

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Bill Hare
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In the days when monarchies ran nations a term that became notable was that of "marriage of convenience."-

This element occurred when nations decided that it would be in their respective best interests to have prominent families from different nations join forces in matrimony for mutual political convenience.  It was a way of obtaining a geopolitical foothold into an additional nation at the very least and more through formation of alliances.

An alliance of modern political convenience occurred when veteran Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania decided to switch parties and become a Democrat.  

Since Obama's political team was shrewd enough to catapult a junior  senator of four years of a national political career into the White House,  all essential points were covered in discussions with Specter and his team before the veteran solon made his announcement that has left Washington buzzing with speculation ever since.

Specter's party caucus membership would put Obama and the Democrats at a potential strategic advantage in reaching the important 60-seat milestone and with it the ability to cut off Republican filibusters against key legislative proposals. 

Rest assured that Obama was convinced that supporting Specter justified important commitments on his part regarding major issues.

As for Specter, the issue was becoming increasingly clear cut as the days passed.  State polls found him badly trailing former Representative Pat Toomey in the Republican primary. 

Pennsylvania Republican primary voters appeared ready to follow the party trend enunciated by talk show host Rush Limbaugh and others to make the primaries purification rights through purging those not perceived to possess sufficient rightward leanings.

Specter and his board of strategy also analyzed his position should he survive a primary battle with Toomey or any other prospective opponent. 

Not only would he be depleted financially and psychologically from a draining primary; there was the prospect of facing Governor Ed Rendell's well financed, highly active Democratic political machine with the prospect of many angered Republicans refusing to vote or casting a protest ballot for a Libertarian or other alternative choice.

As for the issue of how acceptable Specter will be to Democrats in a general election, Obama and his team obviously decided that with Rendell's team doing the heavy lifting, he was a feasible winner.

Assuredly the prospect of other Republicans entering the Republican contest was considered, including former governor and homeland security director Tom Ridge.  One factor that would weigh against even a more proven electoral winner such as Ridge running in a runoff was the depleted position of Republicans in Pennsylvania compared to the well-oiled Rendell operation.     

There are two issues that have been mentioned.  The first one, Specter's role as a younger member of the Warren Commission Report staff and spawning the "magic bullet theory"- to counter critics of the officially sanctioned single shooter position, this is a complicated issue debated by scientific specialists.  Hence, it is the kind of issue less disposed toward becoming cutting edge in a senatorial campaign.

The issue that would render Arlen Specter more potentially vulnerable would be his strong-armed questioning of Anita Hill during the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas. 

It could be argued that since this activity occurred almost two decades ago, it will have little if any impact on voters in a traditional "What have you done for me lately?"- environment that typifies modern electoral politics.

Another element remains, however, and this is the sticking point, the hurdle that Specter will have to surmount. 

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Began in the journalism field in hometown of Los Angeles. Started as Sports Editor and Movie Writer at Inglewood Daily News chain after working in sportswriting of high school events at the Los Angeles Examiner.

Received a bachelor's in (more...)
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