Implications of Sen. Specter switch

April 28, 2009 8:49:51 PM PDT
Sen. Arlen Specter's switch has nothing less than historic implications in the Senate where the Democrats are inching toward a "you-can't-stop-me" majority with battles looming over health care, energy and education.Staunch conservatives have called Arlen Specter a RINO. Republican in name only but his detractors can call him that no more he's now a Democrat.

Senator Arlen Specter's move to the Democratic Party creates a seismic shift in the political landscape.

"I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy."

"Prior to his switch Republicans could still count on mounting a filibuster when they wanted to block legislation," explained Matthew Kerbel a political science professor at Villanova University.

A filibuster is a political maneuver whereby a senator or series of senators take the senate floor and speak endlessly preventing a vote on legislation.

But Specter's defection gives Democrats a possible 60th vote which can halt a filibuster and thereby allow the Democrats to steam roll Obama's agenda through Congress.

"It certainly sets up the potential for the majority if it chooses to run roughshod over the minority," said Sen. Mitch McConnell.

But Specter has vowed to vote the way he sees it. He says he won't be rubber stamped for the Democratic Party.

"I will not be changing my own personal independence my approach to individual issues. I will not be an automatic 60th vote."

For political heaven to occur for the Democrats Specter still needs to win the primary and the general election. The 29-year incumbent appears to have the support of both President Obama and Governor Rendell which makes him a formidable foe in 2010.

Even with the Specter defection Democrats still need Al Franken to win his fight in the courts for the senate seat in Minnesota but he's expected to do so.

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