Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Goodbye, Senator Specter

Arlen Specter, one of the Senate's emptiest suits, a careerist who was willing to do just about anything, even change parties, to stay in power, has been booted by the Democratic primary voters of Pennsylvania. I find this to be the most cheerful election result of the past year. Representative Joe Sestak, who unseated him, seems like a reasonable guy to me -- he opposed the invasion of Iraq and supported health care reform, and just that gives me hope that he will be a much better senator than Specter. His personal appeal and clean record also make it almost certain that Democrats will hold the Pennsylvania seat in the fall.

Meanwhile, the Republican voters of Kentucky have gone collectively insane. It isn't just that they voted overwhelmingly for Tea Party hero Rand Paul, who supports the gold standard and promises to balance the budget in one year. They have also turned fiercely against Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader. McConnell supported the other candidate in the primary, and when reporters asked Paul voters about this, many of them said that McConnell was "going along with Obama's agenda" and "not doing enough" to support conservative causes. But McConnell has done a herculean job of keeping his caucus united to oppose absolutely everything Obama has tried to do. Even the most liberal stalwarts have marveled at the discipline that McConnell has managed to instill in his Republican senate colleagues. Short of armed rebellion, what else could he possibly do?

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