Well, Pennsylvania got slightly bluer today with Arlen Specter's surprising, yet not-so-surprising shift into the Democratic Caucus in the Senate. The way things were going, this was likely the only choice Specter had.
...if he was/is still interested in working in the Senate. Twenty-one points down is twenty-one points down. That's a tough row to hoe when you are talking about an incumbent and a primary polling deficit. Not that Chris Dodd is in an ideal position, but at least his polling deficit is against a potential general election opponent in 2010; not quite as threatening. Specter, I'm sure, saw the writing on the wall.
Here's one: Seth Masket over at Enik Rising sums the move up nicely.
Here's another from Josh Marshall (via Seth): I completely forgot that Pennsylvania is a closed primary state. That certainly would have made Specter's prospects of re-election that much dimmer if he would have continued on that route.
Yet another: Michael Steele on Specter's departure. (h/t GOP12 for the link)
While we're on Specter, let me add a funny anecdote to this discussion:
A couple of summers ago I took a grading gig within the department to help out one of our faculty members. It was an intro to American government class made up completely of incoming freshmen. So this was their first college experience. Following a week of lectures on the branches of government and their attendant checks and balances we had an exam. One of the questions asked was about the checks between Congress and the Supreme Court. We had that week discussed Senate confirmation of judicial appointments and nestled in that discussion was a side note about Specter's role in the Clarence Thomas hearings -- specifically his questioning of Anita Hill and the backlash that created. Now, you have the proper context, but it took me a while in the midst of reading all these exams to figure out who one the students was referring to when mentioning Karl Inspector.
Then the light bulb came on: Oh, Arl-en Spector.
Indiana Sec. of State on 2012 Presidential Primary
There Are Deciders and Then There Are...
"Real" Republicans and the Implications for the 2012 GOP Nomination