HuffPo Wants to Give Specter the Lieberman Treatment

A writer at Huffington Post makes precisely the points I expected they would:

In this past election, we won the fight for a Democratic majority. We now need to win the fight for a progressive majority who will stand up for the interests of the American people over the corporate lobbyists and their millions in campaign contributions…

We don’t need Blue Dog Democratic Senators in relatively safe Democratic states like Connecticut (where Lieberman lost the Democratic primary but narrowly retained his seat only because there was a 3-way race), New York (where unfortunately Gov. Patterson appointed Blue Dog Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate and where there will hopefully be a viable progressive Democrat to oppose her in the Democratic primary in 2010), nor in increasingly Blue Pennsylvania…

The Pennsylvania Democratic establishment, the Senate Democratic leadership, and even President Obama may have seen short-term political advantage in cutting a deal with Specter to support him in the 2010 Democratic primary, and to try to clear the field of serious opposition…

What’s needed in the 2010 Pennsylvania Democratic Primary is a Pennsylvania equivalent of Ned Lamont, who, despite the opposition of the state and national Democratic party establishment, and after starting out with a double-digit deficit in the polls, defeated conservative Democrat Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic Primary. Lieberman only retained his Senate seat by running as an independent in a 3-way race in which he received 70% of the Republican vote and only 33% of the Democratic vote.

If Specter were to lose the 2010 Pennsylvania Democratic Primary to a more progressive challenger, he wouldn’t have the same opportunity as Lieberman to run as an independent in a 3-way race. Pennsylvania has a so-called “sore loser” law which bars the loser in a major-party primary from running as an independent in the general election. If a more progressive Democratic challenger can defeat Specter in the Democratic primary, Specter’s career in the Senate will likely be over.

And there’s every reason why Pennsylvania Democrats should hope for a more genuinely Democratic Senate candidate in 2010 than Specter. Although he’s changed the letter after his name from “R” to “D”, there’s little to indicate that he’s changed his generally conservative views. He joins Joe Lieberman as among the most conservative Democrats in the Senate.

Specter’s first vote as a newly-minted Democratic Senator was to oppose President Obama’s budget. One of his next votes was to oppose the bankruptcy reform bill. Having shepherded the nominations of conservative Supreme Court justices Roberts and Alito through the Senate, he has made clear it that he feels no obligation to support President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Souter, or even to help break a Republican fillibuster…

Do Pennsylvania Democrats really need 6 more years of this kind of “Democrat”? With Specter now a nominal Democrat, the likely 2010 Republican Pennsylvania nominee is the extreme right-wing former Congressman Pat Toomy who now heads the ultra-free market Club for Growth. Toomy’s [sic] Congressional voting record also earned him a 100% rating from the Christian Coalition, an “A” from the National Rifle Association, and a 90% rating from the Chamber of Commerce. A Republican like Toomy [sic] might win a state-wide Senate election in a state like South Carolina or Mississippi. But as long as the Democratic candidate cannot easily be depicted as representing the most left-wing elements of the Democratic Party, just about any credible, moderately progressive, Democrat would likely handily defeat Toomy in an increasingly Blue Pennsylvania.

My question is why Pennsylvania liberals don’t simply nominate Ned Lamont. I mean, he didn’t win, so it’s not like he’s doing anything.

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