So, Arlen, How’s That Switch Working Out For You So Far?

Arlen Specter has been in the Senate since 1980. Additionally, he’s 79 years old and has had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So, he’s had a nice, long run in the Senate.

But, solely because he was on track to lose a primary, he switched to the Democratic Party. That was a betrayal of the Republican voters who supported him in 2004, of all the Republicans who went all out to support him against Toomey last time, and of the entire Republican Party.

He did all of that — the abandonment of principles, the betrayal of the people who voted for him, the sell-out of his friends in the Republican Party who stood by him while liberals and people like me, were calling for his head — and for what? Just a little more time in power. Yet, that sweet, sweet power that Specter loves more than his honor or his friends is already turning sour.

Roll Call reports that the Democrats are treating him like a newly elected senator:

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Despite promises from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) would retain his seniority after switching parties, Specter will be put at the end of the seniority line on all his committees but one under a resolution approved on the floor late Tuesday.

Under the modified organizing resolution, Specter will not keep his committee seniority on any of the five committees that he serves on and will be the junior Democrat on all but one — the chamber’s Special Committee on Aging. On that committee, he will be next to last in seniority.

As a result, Specter — who as a Republican was ranking member on the Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, as well as ranking member of the panel’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education — will now rank behind all the other Democrats, at least until the end of this Congress.

Then there’s the other big promise Democrats made to him to get him to switch — that he wouldn’t have to worry about a primary.

Rep. Joe Sestak, who increasingly has sounded irritated by Sen. Arlen Specter’s power grab in Pennsylvania, said in a radio interview this morning on Fox’s Brian and The Judge show that he is still thinking about running for the U.S. Senate and, in fact, is now more inclined to run.

Rather than step aside for the party-jumping Specter in next year’s Democratic primary, Sestak sounded ready to battle the 79-year-old senator, who has the backing of President Obama and Gov. Ed Rendell in a deal worked out in advance of the shocking announcement that he was leaving the Republican Party.

Who would win in a Sestak vs. Specter primary? It would depend on how well financed Sestak would be (my guess is very) and how much support Specter would get from the Democratic Establishment (my guess is relatively little). If I had to lay odds, I’d bet on Sestak, who would probably get ferocious support from the activist Left.

Then, on the other side, there’s a poll out from Susquehanna Polling & Research that doesn’t look so hot for Arlen either.

In an automated poll of 1,019 households of registered voters taken at the end of last week, announced PBC President and CEO David W. Patti, “PEG PAC found that if the election for US Senate were held today, Tom Ridge could defeat Arlen Specter by a margin of 39 percent to 38 percent. The poll also shows Specter would defeat Pat Toomey by a margin of 42 percent to 36 percent.” The number of undecided voters in the survey is over 20 percent cautioned Patti, and the margin of error is +/- 2.8 percent, so the association leader said the results are not conclusive.

According to Patti, the survey conducted by Susquehanna Polling & Research and sponsored by the PEG PAC was undertaken to give the Pennsylvania and national business communities “a better sense of the new political landscape and a sense of our options.”

42% max for a 28 year incumbent in a head-to-head match-up this early in the game? Those are TERRIBLE numbers. If the polling is roughly accurate, either Ridge or Toomey would have to be considered favorites to beat Specter.

Now, who knows? Maybe Specter will thread the needle. Maybe he won’t get a primary challenge, he’ll win the general after the Republicans have a bloody primary fight, and then in a totally out of character act of charity, the Democrats will allow him to have his seniority….but, the odds will be against him in all three cases — and few people deserve to have the odds against him more than Arlen Specter.

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