View Full Version : Specter: Going, Going, Gone? - The Next Democratic Casualty

01-14-2010, 01:18 PM
By: Stephen Moore
Wall Street Journal - Political Diary

After the retirement announcements of Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan, many Democrats are asking: Who's next? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's ditch of political troubles back in Nevada just keeps getting deeper. The same goes for Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, a state where Obamanomics is highly unpopular. But I'm hearing that the Democrat most likely to call it a career -- and it's been a long one -- is Arlen Specter.

Mr. Specter, of course, tried to save his political hide once already by switching parties following President Obama's inauguration, after he learned that former Rep. Pat Toomey (who almost upset him in the 2004 GOP primary) would challenge him again. As one long-time pollster in Philadelphia who is close to the Senator tells me, Mr. Specter is "a dead man walking. He probably won't win the primary and definitely won't win a general election race in this climate."

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who backed Mr. Specter in his last race, says his former colleague has become "a man without a party" since leaving the GOP, and likely would find it hard to win a Democratic primary despite his move "way to the left." Experts in Pennsylvania politics say the many photos of Mr. Specter with his arms raised with President George W. Bush inevitably will cost him dearly with liberal primary voters. His Democratic primary opponent, Joe Sestak, a liberal congressman from Philadelphia, is already running a campaign calling himself "the real Democrat" in the race.

A December Rasmussen poll had Mr. Specter with a lead, but below 50% in the Democratic primary race against the hyper-liberal Mr. Sestak. Stacked up against Pat Toomey in the general election, Mr. Specter is down 46% to 42%.

But Mr. Specter is nothing if not a political survivor. He's a former boxer and recently endured a tough bout with cancer, and he's been written off before in his thirty-plus year political career. "I just know the political pulse of the Pennsylvania voter," Mr. Specter told me after his 2004 victory. "I'm always up for a tough fight." But a reelection this fall in his new party would likely be his toughest of all. Like those other fierce survivors, Messrs. Dodd and Dorgan, Mr. Specter may finally decide to bow out rather than face a potential ignominious defeat.

-- Stephen MooreSpector isn't the NEXT democratic casualty - his head was on the block long before this - he just managed to squeak in a stay of execution in 2004. Now - all appeals are exhausted and the axe man has his dullest blade. :cool: