Specter Keeps Seniority at Expense of Established Democrats

Politics, like life, is full of trade-offs. As Mick Jagger and Keith Richards reminded us long ago, You Can't Always Get What You Want. But in politics as in life, sometimes you can get what you want, particularly if you're in a superior bargaining position.

Arlen Specter apparently got what he wanted from Harry Reid: retention of the seniority he earned while serving on Senate committees as a Republican. In exchange, Reid got what he wanted: a new Democrat. Win-win? Not for Democrats who might get bumped by Specter's seniority.

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"I won't be happy if I don't get to chair something because of Arlen Specter," said Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who is fifth in seniority among Democrats on Appropriations behind Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (Hawaii), Sens. Robert C. Byrd (W.Va.), Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). "I'm happy with the Democratic order, but I don't want to be displaced because of Arlen Specter," she said.

Politics, like life, isn't fair to everyone. Reid and Specter made a deal that should (if Specter behaves) serve the best interests of the Democratic Party, potentially at the expense of Democratic senators who may have to forgo committee positions they hoped or expected to receive after the next election.

Compromises and deal-making are part of the democratic process. This deal, like the one Reid made with Joe Lieberman, will likely cause some consternation when senators start a new round of musical (committee) chairs. Whether the Reid-Specter deal will create a benefit for the Democratic Party that outweighs the harm done to individual senators is yet unknown, but that's life. And politics.

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    I hope a young gun like (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by hairspray on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 06:25:57 PM EST
    Joe Sestak runs and puts this faux Democrat out to pasture.  Specter was once a Democrat and when it suited his career moves he jumped to Republican. Now he has done it again.  Sounds like staying in the Senate is his life ambition.  Time to go Arlen.  I just hope the Democrats like Casey don't support him over someone like Sestak.

    Put him in charge of the Homeland Securtiy Comm. (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by magster on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 06:44:08 PM EST
    He has more seniority than Lieberman.

    Agree - Give him (none / 0) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 07:11:21 PM EST
    all of Lieberman's committees rather than penalize a long term real Democratic Senator.

    LIEberman holds positions real (none / 0) (#8)
    by pluege on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 09:18:21 PM EST
    Democrats should be holding. So how does giving Specter LIEberman's spots not short change real Democrats?

    Don't view it that way (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 08:32:45 AM EST
    If Lieberman maintains his committee chairs and Specter gets x number of chairs for switching, MORE committees will be chaired by people other than REAL Democrats. OTH, if Specter gets Lieberman's committees the number of committees chaired by faux Dems remains the same.

    Harry Reid (none / 0) (#4)
    by Donna Z on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 07:31:27 PM EST
    is keeping his powder dry. Now will Harry water down Dem. legislation to suit Specter? Of course. The tail wags the powder dog.

    And in spite of all this ass-kising... (none / 0) (#6)
    by lucky leftie on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 08:36:45 PM EST
    ...Specter voted against Obama's budget a little while ago.  Thank you sir, may I have another?  

    Ideology and principles matter. Too bad (none / 0) (#7)
    by pluege on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 08:36:52 PM EST
    Democrats don't have either.

    Lieberman should NOT have any standing with the Democratic Party. Neither should Specter. If they want tocall themselves Democrats fine, but don;t be rewarding them at the expense of actual democrats - that's just creepy.

    The republicans, under their current radical configuration did the right thing forcing out Specter, not putting up with his smarmy lying triangulating stand for nothingness except himself brand of self-promotion.

    Democrats lost more than republicans by accepting Specter with all his seniority.

    Please forgive me for my cynicism (none / 0) (#9)
    by joze46 on Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 11:35:02 PM EST
    Senator Specter has been in the Senate political arena long enough to have similarities such as Ted Stevens of Alaska. Could be a hidden highway to nowhere as far as we know. Mainstream media is in fifth gear coasting with Specter for a long time. Now that Specter is in trouble with being electable, and who knows maybe that Spanish Court to investigate crimes in the Iraq war rattled Specter, and likely others.  

    But if one thinks about Joe Lieberman, Stevens, and now Specter its no wonder a bitter thought permeates the background in what we could call a self centered egotistical collection of stereo typed political hypocrites. All three of these types very much are cultural disappointments rather than grandstanded as great Americans. Obama and Biden should not have placed themselves in this collection and it does not look good. It is the same pitiful plan like saving the banks; they should have just let Specter go belly up to see where the chips may fall.

    What we all realize now is these political types never have had the electorate goodwill in mind. Just the desire to save their own ass. Whats really funny is that union type things Specter wants like seniority bridged across party lines. I don't know what his voting record is, but if Specter votes against union stuff the common union worker will get a dose of reality that Obama just showed us all that these politicals cling to each other adds to that bitterness Obama once talked about.

    Unless Specter will unexpectedly vote for the democratic agenda ninety nine percent of the time offering gratitude to save his ass if it means he knows the Democrats are going to start prosecutions in war crimes against the Republicans. I wonder what Joe Lieberman really has flying in his mind. Lieberman is the perfect model as to why many people could develop hatred for Jews in general.      

    Nothing new (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 09:41:11 AM EST
    Most times Senators have kept their seniority when they switched midterm. All the howling going on now is just mere puffery.