Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
I see that Arlen Specter is now a Democrat. Any thoughts on the Senator’s sudden change of heart?

Waffling in Weaverville

Hey Wafflin’,
You know, there are several ways to persuade a politician. You can try a measured, reasoned argument – perhaps through a thoughtful letter or e-mail. You can max out in campaign contributions to the politician and then try a measured, reasoned argument. Or you can show them opinion polls that show if they don’t jump on board, they’re going to get their butt run over.

In the case of the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, I think it was Option C that finally persuaded him. Public opinion polls showed Specter getting trounced by a knuckle-dragging conservative in a closed Republican Party. Of course, now that Specter has aligned himself with the forces of good, he’s going to win in a cakewalk. And really, that’s the name of the game, right? The president is his new best friend. Joe Biden is plugging Specter more often than he does his own hair. Peace is restored to the valley.

But the most heart-warming thing about the Specter situation is the reaffirmation that California is still a political trendsetter. Think about it: The Republican Party cannibalizes its electable candidates, so much so that it drives them away from the party itself. Instead, conservatives succeed in nominating ideologically pure, and totally unelectable candidates to run as sacrificial lambs for the state’s highest political offices.

Hmmm, where have we seen that one before?

The people of Pennsylvania have rejected these candidates in the past. They threw Sen. Rick Santorum out of office. Meanwhile, Democrats have figured out that being a gun-loving moderate is key to survival in the Keystone State. If Bob Casey can figure this out, why can’t the Republican Party?
Of course, I realize this is a rhetorical question. And I also realize that despite the fact that this is a rhetorical question, a lot of unsolicited answers, filled with words I won’t be able to show my grandchildren until they get to be voting age, will also follow.

I’m sure we’ll see this play out in California sometime soon. Looking into my crystal ball, I can foresee incumbent Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado seeking the affirmation from his party, as conservatives spend countless hours and lots of Meg Whitman’s dollars trying to depose him in a Republican primary.

Yes, I said incumbent lieutenant governor. I’m calling a Garamendi victory in CD 10, and a Schwarzenegger appointment of Maldonado. And yes, this means Democrats will get to 27 when Sen. John Laird takes over in a special election, some time in January 2010. Which should make Darrell Steinberg’s life a hell of a lot easier.

Sure, I’m getting way ahead of myself, but you’ve got to be able to look ahead to survive in this business. Just look at Specter. Faced with certain political doom, Specter saw the light and made a change he can believe in. That apparently is any change that’s going to save his political bacon.


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