Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spector becomes a Dem

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, formerly a Republican, has switched his allegiances and joined the Democratic Party. Doing so is especially beneficial to Specter, who faced strong competition in the Republican primaries next year but faces little challenge now that he's a Democrat.

This event is also beneficial to the Democrats, who, once Al Franken becomes senator of Minnesota, will have a filibuster-proof majority (60 votes) within the Senate.

Ordinarily, though I identify myself as a Democrat, I would be hesitant to believe that unchecked power like this were a "good" thing -- I consider how I'd feel if it were the other way around, and shudder to think how terrified I'd be if the GOP had such power. However, seeing as the direction of the Republican Party is moving markedly more conservative (reactionary, even), the power to disrupt a filibuster is, in fact, a great thing.

And it won't be completely unchecked: there are plenty of moderate Dems who will refuse to vote for cloture simply to pacify party leadership. It will be an unreasonable Republican Party, rather, that is obstructing vote for obstruction's sake, that will unify both liberal and moderate Democrats to end a filibuster.

So, with Specter on board and Democrats in power, I'm positive that the Senate Republicans' use of the filibuster will no longer be an abusive power.

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