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Arlen Specter: The Death of Mr. Magic Bullet

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It finally happened. One of the most blatant political opportunists in contemporary American history tried to pull one too many tricks. Except this time, someone was there to call him on it. On May 18th, Arlen Specter's inglorious 30 year reign as a Pennsylvania senator finally came to an overdue end. Except, unlike what he was promised by his odd Democratic partners, he met his Waterloo in the primary election. It wasn't supposed to be that way for the maestro of the Single Bulls**t Theory.

As we reported in April and May, some of the heavy hitters in the Democratic Party had promised Arlen Specter a clear field in the primary if he switched parties and ran as a Democrat. (Click here) As we noted then, this was a dumb decision made by myopic men – Gov. Ed Rendell, President Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Senator Harry Reid. They were so short-sighted that they could not see the forest for the trees. The reason Specter opted out of the GOP was simple: he knew he could not win the Republican primary against Pat Toomey. So the question then became: if he could not beat Toomey in the primary, was he a good bet to beat him in the general election? Probably not, since most Democrats would be lukewarm about the turncoat, and he would have little GOP support after defecting. So from the Democrats' point of view, would it not be better to back a true Democrat who would not have those problems and therefore stood a better shot at beating the well-funded rightwing Republican?

full article can be read here: http://www.ctka.net/2010/specter_loss.html

I happen to agree with Jim that the Dems have been drifting to the right since the '60s assassinations. From where I sit, it is at least partly because the Republicans have been allowed to continually redefine what constitutes centrist positions by simply insisting they themselves are Center Right, no matter how far to the right their leaders or their policies actually are.

This has resulted in the Dems moving along the spectrum to keep the gap between the parties at the same distance. To allow the distance to actually expand, they fear they will look like they're drifting to the "far left". It has almost got to the point now where the Republicans have succeeded in branding anything to the left of ol' Arlen himself as "socialist".

The main factor behind this goes back to the Neocons gaining polical clout in the LBJ administration, and to varying degrees, maintaining it through subsequent decades, whilst similtaneously expanding their influence in the media.

Edited by Greg Parker
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