Sestak Considers Primary Challenge

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 14:25


From Young Philly Politics:

Interviewed on MSNBC, Joe Sestak just said he still might run against Specter.

He wants to see what Arlen Specter stands for. This is hugely important. Time to see what Arlen's plans are. If Sestak is sincere about this, he is doing us a huge favor.

Sestak hasn't been great in the House (158th on Progressive Punch, gave in to the Iraq blank check and FISA re-write on the second go-around of each), but I would go to bat for him in a primary against Specter.

Everyone needs to keep in mind that Specter is significantly to the right of Ben Nelson. This is way, way beyond even Lieberman. Replacing him even with a New Democrat like Sestak would create roughly a 50% shift in voting habits, according to Progressive Punch. No other Democratic primary in the entire country has the same potential for offering even close to such a large shift to the left in voting habits.

Update: Specter just said that he won't invoke cloture on Employee Free Choice. So much for the theory that he would vote against the bill, but allow cloture.

Chris Bowers :: Sestak Considers Primary Challenge

Tags: , , , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

Thats One. (4.00 / 1)
Agreed its a plus, but Pennsylvania deserves better. We need lists.

Thank you so much for this Chris. On the money, on the ball.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


I was answered in the last thread by by: dbeach @ Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 13:09 (0.00 / 0)
And its a good set of facts. Im reposting debeach's point here:

Considering that every Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House delegation except for Chris Carney is a co-sponsor of EFCA, there are ample potential candidates. Both Joe Sestak and Allyson Schwartz have been rumored to be considering the race (especially Sestak, who has over $3M cash on hand). Neither is especially progressive, but I think both would stand a good chance of beating Specter if they had strong labor support.

The only solid progressive in the House delegation is Chaka Fattah, and I think he would face an uphill battle in a statewide race.

I don't know enough about the state-level politics of Pennsylvania to know if there's any leaders in the state legislature who might have the stature to win a primary against Specter.

This lends even more strength to Chris's assessment about Sestak.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
someone needs to offer a good reason not to challenge Specter in the primary (0.00 / 0)
Okay, maybe we get the occasional cloture vote over the next year and a half.

But after that, does anyone honestly think that Toomey stands more than a snowball's chance in hell of winning the state?

Even a moderate democrat... heck, conservative democrat would likely be A LOT better than Specter. We're not talking about small issues here.  


maybe... (4.00 / 2)
but we'll have to wait and see how the next few months pan out. Obviosly Spector has made many allies with conservative lobbyists. That habit may be hard to break but he does need to realign his voting habits to mirror his constituents back home.

It is important to primary him however. That much is for certain. It forces him to realign his voting patterns to the electorate.


[ Parent ]
well.. (0.00 / 0)
we'll see how he votes as a Democrat, as he'll have to answer to a new base. If he doesn't move to the left of Nelson I'll be surprised.



He has already said he will do whatever he can to kill EFCA (4.00 / 3)
That is not OK.

No EFCA, No Spector.

Period


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
okay (0.00 / 0)
Not what I was talking about, but okay.

[ Parent ]
That he has said that kind of baffles me (4.00 / 3)
how the hell does he expect to win a Dem primary in PA without the unions?  

[ Parent ]
easy (4.00 / 1)
secure a guarantee from the national and local party that he won't face a serious primary challenger.

[ Parent ]
You certainly understand PA politics more than I do (0.00 / 0)
But I thought that the Dem infrastructure was pretty indebted to the unions there, and that it's one of the few places where the unions could buck leadership if they were sufficiently pissed off.  

But I could obviously be wrong.  And that certainly doesn't seem to be the calculation that Specter is making here.


[ Parent ]
because... (4.00 / 1)
he'll have a few Democratic machines behind him. Pretty giant ones in fact.

I don't see how he doesn't at least cave on just a vote for cloture. It's utterly stupid to me that he would reverse his long-time position and become a complete dud on the issue..


[ Parent ]
So ALL we've gained... (4.00 / 2)

 ...is a temporary embarrassment of Republicans.

 Without a shift in his EFCA support (or, more accurately, a reversion to his FORMER support of the bill), Specter's switch is meaningless.

 I'm fairly certain the Democrats engineered this switch precisely to AVOID having a pro-labor Senator emerge from PA next year.

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


"the democrats" (4.00 / 1)
Do you mean the Democrats that wrote the bill? The ones that Sponsored it? The ones that talk about every time they can get near a microphone?

Is this just sloppy writing, sloppy editing or sloppy thinking?

If you mean a specific person, or even a group, please name them, and go on to organize primary challenges for them.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
This seems like an excellent moment (4.00 / 1)
press the conservadems on EFCA.  My guess is that a lot of them felt relieved when Specter flipped on this, so that they could drop off and claim that it did not matter.  Since that is no longer true, it's worth revisiting.

EFCA aside, it would be good to have the conservadems see that this means we expect better behavior from them across the board.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


Ack (0.00 / 0)
I misread the update. Please disregard the specific point on EFCA, but the larger point remains. This should mean more pressure on the Ben Nelson's of the world, not less.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Specter speaking live (4.00 / 4)
just said again that EFCA is a bad bill and he will not vote for cloture. Also just said he still opposes Dawn Johnsen

He's not going to compromise on EFCA folks. He needs to be primaried. Sestak is far from my first choice but he's got 3 mil in the bank and could beat Specter with labor backing.

Even Rendell ally Joe Torsella is not dropping his bid. We will have a opponent for Specter.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/...

Another interesting thing to note is Snowe's comments about the switch. From WaPo

Snowe called Specter's decision "devastating news" for Republicans, particularly Northeastern Republicans who have almost vanished in the Senate over the last decade. "Many Republicans feel alienated and disaffected from the party," Snowe said. "It just helps nourish a culture of exclusion and alienation."

And in Politico

But Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), a fellow moderate, didn't seem surprised. On the national level, she says, "you haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words of how [the GOP] views moderates. Either you are with us or against us."

Could Snowe switch?

On a more negative note Specter just said that Reid and Obama have pledged to campaign for him and he also said something about Democrats holding a formal meeting about endorsing him.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


Compromise on EFCA (4.00 / 1)
He's not going to switch again on EFCA... but look for a new version of EFCA that "addresses the concerns [I] had with the previous bill" or some sort of bullshit like that...

I bet that we will get some seriously watered-down version of EFCA that will suddenly become (more) acceptable to opponents in the Dem caucus-perhaps in the vein of the Starbucks/Whole Foods/Costco "alternative"-you heard it here first... (well, maybe not, but still...)

Another win for the corporatist wing of the Democrats...


[ Parent ]
Speaking as someone in the labor movement... (4.00 / 1)
There is nothing wrong with a compromise bill, although that surely should not be where we start from.  After all, there are only two possible outcomes.

1.  Unionization remains as difficult as it is today.  Meaning we just have to grind again and pass EFCA when we have the votes (which we should have in the next congress)

2.  The compromise EFCA makes unionization easier, but doesn't give us everything.  This will mean more workers in unions, meaning higher union density, and more union power.  Which makes the chances for further labor law reform even higher.  

A lot of the compromises being suggested aren't awful - like a 1-2 week expedited election, with no possible legal delays.  Or allowing the union equal time in the workplace to refute whatever the boss is saying in their own anti-union campaign.  

Regardless, there is zero chance of getting something significantly worse - just isn't going to happen with this congress.  So while I'll be let down if there's no EFCA, it's not the end of the world like it would be for many bits of legislation.  


[ Parent ]
Sigh... (4.00 / 1)
Well, hopefully SOMEONE will push him from the left in a primary... I guess then PA will potentially get its own dose of Lieberman-like crap, as he makes dozens of promises in an election to satisfy left-leaners and then simply goes on to break them for 6 years.

Maybe (0.00 / 0)
A primary is all well and good, but it's entirely possible that Specter's voting habits are going to change pretty dramatically now that he doesn't have to kowtow to the Republican base. 2010 is still a ways away, so I'm gonna reserve judgment for a little while on what kind of Democrat he's gonna be.

Still, no reason not to have a contested primary.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


"reserve judgemnt" means what? We are now pressed for time. (4.00 / 2)
A primary means work, and commitment. While I dont have any idea where you live, anyone who lives in Pennsylvania and supports EFCA, for a very primary example, should be contacting others to begin setting up NOW for a primary. What are the dates? Opening for filing, requirements for filing, names lists stakes. The primary would be when? in 2010? That is mere months away.

The deadlines for primaries is months away. Not years.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Well... (0.00 / 0)
I think his point is... sure, lets have a primary... let's make sure Specter is on record supporting/opposing things that are important to Democrats...  Let's see how he votes in the stuff coming up... Once PA voters have that info they can make a more informed decision about who to vote for in a primary.

Of course, that doesn't mean he couldn't just make a bunch of promises and then break them for 6 years, but... well, that's what happens a lot of times (see Lieberman, Joe).


[ Parent ]
Sure (4.00 / 1)
Certainly, I'll reserve judgment.  But who cares, I live off on the west coast.  I expect Specter to slowly meander over to a more liberal senator than he currently is, but he can't look like that is what he is doing on day one.  History suggests that would be the normal result.

But none of this means there shouldn't be a primary challenger.  Of course there should be.  Even if Specter wins (which he probably will) the process will push him to the left.


[ Parent ]
Doesn't support Dawn Johnsen either... (0.00 / 0)
Already proving his conservadem bonafides I see.

Sestak should hit Arlen (4.00 / 3)
over EFCA and Dawn Johnsen.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

Loudly TODAY. (4.00 / 2)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Dem Duplicity on EFCA is now obvious (4.00 / 4)

 Arlen Specter used to be an EFCA supporter. When he flip-flopped, we all thought it was strictly a political move to keep his right flank appeased.

 Well, the right was duly unimpressed, and moved even further away from him -- to the point where Specter was toast in a Republican primary. So Specter switched to the Democrats.

 So now he can start supporting EFCA again, right? Now that he doesn't have to worry about getting primaried?

  Nope. Obviously the Democrats didn't insist that Specter start supporting labor again. So he won't.

  And obviously this indicates that the Democrats' support of EFCA is for show only -- if the bill ever attains a chance of actually passing, it's suddenly a "bad bill". And the Democrats are perfectly happy to keep an anti-labor senator in his seat if it means denying it to a pro-labor senator in a couple of years... because, you know, EFCA might actually PASS if that happened.

  The Democrats use EFCA the way the Republicans use abortion.

   

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


SOB! sob its all hopeless! (4.00 / 1)
I am going to the garden to eat worms. I will never ever work for a political party ever. Oh woe is me.

Look real tears.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Well... (0.00 / 0)
I think he just can't flip flop again so readily... it looked bad enough when he flipped the first time... if he does it again in such a short time span it'd look even worse.  It doesn't make it better, but it is at least understandable from a political standpoint...

I'm hoping that he will end up voting on some "compromise" that's actually not that bad, which he wouldn't have been able to do as a Republican with a tough primary ahead of him.


[ Parent ]
No, a quick flip makes sense (0.00 / 0)
If his viewpoints are now the Democratic ones, why did he shamelessly move right here?

Better to admit his cowardice, say he did it in an attempt to remain within the Republican Party and has now thought better.

Otherwise his words and his actions decidedly do not add up.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
He didn't say his viewpoints are now the Democratic ones... (0.00 / 0)
In fact, he explicitly said the opposite... It's just the the GOP has moved so far the the right of him that his viewpoints are now closer to the Dems than the GOP.  

[ Parent ]
So far (4.00 / 7)
he's said he still opposes cloture, oppose Johnsen, opposes reconciliation and he just added that he still has the same views on cap and trade. He's sponsored a cap and trade bill but it's essentially just a corporate giveaway that does nothing to solve the problem, it was endorsed by the coal industry.

He is unacceptable. He must face a serious primary challenge and lose.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


What's in a name? (4.00 / 1)
It really begs the question... what the hell is the point of switching if he's still going to basically vote as a Republican (aside from, of course, trying to win an election)?  I hope PA Dems are thinking about this...

[ Parent ]
The irony, of course... (4.00 / 2)
He must face a serious primary challenge and lose.

   ...is that this was exactly what was awaiting him if he'd stayed a Republican.

   But the Democrats saved his butt. For free, essentially -- Specter will continue being his wingnutty self. No insistence that he moderate his positions. No insistence that he play ball. The Democrats had a drowning, desperate man right where they wanted him -- and they threw him a yacht.

   And now, instead of waiting out this fossil and replacing him with a young, vibrant, progressive Dem next year, we get to keep Specter's right-wing ass in the Senate six more years.

   Well played, Democrats!  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
One more thing... (0.00 / 0)
He "opposes" reconciliation, but if he votes for cloture and we get Franken in there then we don't need reconciliation... we'll have cloture.

[ Parent ]
But he's said (4.00 / 1)
he won't vote for cloture on EFCA and that he still has the same views on cap and trade which presumably would mean he won't vote for cloture on that as well.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Medicare for All Primary (4.00 / 5)
Sestak supports Medicare for All, so this primary challenge would be a great case for health care.

It seems like Rendell (4.00 / 1)
has some explaining to do.  I'd love to hear him defend his effort to prevent a primary given Arlen's positions.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

"Arlen is my friend"? (0.00 / 0)
Rendell's a machine politician. To the extent that he actually gives a shit about issues, he nevertheless cares a lot more about staying friends with the powerful.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
37% (4.00 / 1)
progressive voting per Progressive Punch.  PA deserves better.

I was waiting to give the guy a chance (although his despicable conduct toward Anita Hill and support of Clarence Thomas makes me nauseous), but today's re-affirmation of conservative opposition to Obama and labor have not helped at all.  I think he will be far worse than Lieberman.  Sestak has my support as soon as he announces.  


Torsella (0.00 / 0)
Joe Torsella should stick in the race. There's a lot of good buzz about him, has likely support from the governor and knows how to raise money, as he proved in the last few months.

likely support from the governor? (4.00 / 3)
Not anymore.

[ Parent ]
Have the unions (4.00 / 2)
in PA reacted yet?  

Here's the AFL-CIO statement:


We look forward to continuing an open and honest debate with Senator Specter about the issues that are important to Pennsylvania and America.  We move forward with the understanding that America's workers support elected officials based on their positions on issues that matter to working people, not political affiliations.


Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

"Unions See Specter Opening, Dangle Electoral Help For EFCA Vote" (4.00 / 4)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

With poll numbers showing Sen. Arlen Specter in dangerous electoral water, union officials have begun presenting what amounts to a "get-out-of-jail-free" card for the Pennsylvania Republican: Recant your opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, pledge to support the labor-backed bill, and we might be able to carry you to reelection.

How this runs now is the political equivalent of street to street fighting.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
One position is all they ask? (0.00 / 0)
I get pragmatism, but how about they add health care. I plenty pro-EFCA, but this moment provides labor leverage that they should use.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Now, that makes sense (4.00 / 1)
I can see him just using this as a way to extract as much as he possibly can out of various demo constituencies.  That sounds very much like the behaviour of a 'moderate'  

[ Parent ]
Sestak 'baaaaa'. But Fattah -wow.. (0.00 / 0)
Just started looking at Fattah.

Wharton School of Business Grad, NO on the Iraq War, Yes on the Assault Weapons Ban.

We could get this guy in the Senate.

Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.


Then when he turns out to be a Harry Reid supporter (0.00 / 0)
you will be mad actblue for giving money to a blue dog.  Why not run a progressive in that race?

This is war hawks running for every candidacy to keep progressives from having a progressive option.

My blog  


USER MENU

Open Left Campaigns

SEARCH

   

Advanced Search

QUICK HITS
STATE BLOGS
Powered by: SoapBlox