When Senator Arlen Specter made the jump from Republican to Democrat last week, the buzz was that the Dems were ever so much closer to that “crucial” 60th vote in the Senate. Well, apparently Arlen isn’t going to be so cooperative. From today’s MTP:
GREGORY: It was reported this week that when you met with the president, you said, “I will be a loyal democrat. I support your agenda.” Let me test that on probably one of the most important areas of his agenda, and that’s health care. Would you support health care reform that puts up a government run public plan to compete with a private plan issued by a private insurance company?
SPECTER: No. And you misquote me, David. I did not say I would be a loyal Democrat. I did not say that. And last week, after I said I was changing parties, I voted against the budget because the budget has a way to pass health care with 51 votes, which undermines a basic Senate institution to require 60 votes to impose closure on key issues…. I did not say I am a loyal Democrat.
I’ve thought for quite some time that the buzz about sixty votes was overblown. Having sixty Democrats in the Senate does NOT mean there are sixty VOTES to enact their agenda. And apparently Arlen isn’t going to be any more cooperative to the Dems than he was to the GOP. You see, Steve Benen identifies the critical issue:
For years, Republicans criticized Specter as a RINO — Republican In Name Only. As is turns out, at this point, Specter appears intent on literally being nothing more than a DINO — Democrat In Name Only. Specter doesn’t want to do any of the actual work involved in being a valuable member of his new team, preferring to vote exactly as he used to, only now with a different letter after his name in parentheses.
This gets more entertaining by the day.