"How does this (Specter) impact the chances of more switches? I've seen speculation about Snowe. Your take?There are two lines of thought on either of the Maine senators switching:
"I don't really think the idea of Snowe switching parties makes much sense. Specter switched because of electoral pressure to do so. Jeffords switched at a time when control of the Senate was in the balance. Neither of these incentives are available to Snowe, Collins, Inhofe or whoever would consider switching."
1) You're right that there is definitely an electoral connection (sorry David Mayhew) here. Michael Steele can talk about targeting Collins or Snowe because of their votes, but how is he going to strengthen the bench in Maine and cultivate candidates to the right of either one of them that could win? That pressure existed with Specter, but not with Collins and Snowe. But...
2) It could be that one or both of them just simply gets sick being a part of a party that is philosophically different from themselves. Specter spoke along those lines, but I don't know that anyone took him too terribly seriously there. His was a move of electoral survival. As I said above, that doesn't really exist in Snowe's or Collins' case.
However, the Democrats are pushing the agenda now and the matters that they bring up for a vote could continually put Snowe and Collins in the uncomfortable position of having to decide between their convictions and their party. The more that happens, the more likely, I'd say, they are to reconsider their positions within the Republican Caucus.
The flip side is the extent to which they are on board with what the Obama administration is pushing. If either was totally in line with Obama, one or both of them would likely already have switched. But again, we're talking about the extent to which they are with Obama. It isn't one hundred percent and it isn't zero either. [I may have to look at some of their votes for a better idea, but that's a job for another day -- or another blogger. Ha!]
Ultimately, I think they'll stick it out (famous last words), but there's no doubt in my mind that they are being asked. The Democrats in the Senate would be foolish not to.
It never hurts to ask. The worst they can say is, "no," or maybe, "NO!" after the one hundredth time or so.
Open Thread: Specter Switch
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