Friday, June 26, 2009

Specter On Health

If there were an Academy Award, an Emmy Award (or any other award issued by pretentious, self-absorbed industries) for opportunism, it would go to Arlen Specter. And then retired.

Even after switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, Specter remained opposed to a public insurance plan as part of health care reform, as he reiterated in early May to anchor David Gregory on NBC's Meet The Press. When pressed for clarification, Pennsylvania's senior senator responded "that's what I said and that's what I meant."

Now, Specter is singing a different tune. Referring to health care as "a right," the Senator stated "Schumer has it right about having a public component." (Schumer's public plan would "be subject to the same regulations and requirements as all other plans.”)

This blogger on dailykos believes Specter is a mere "pawn" in a game of chess masterfully played by President Obama. Yes- and I'm a Saudi sheikh.

This post from dailykos proprietor Marcos Moulitsas gives a better indication of the reason that Specter has decided, at least on this issue, to act a little like a Democrat. He links to this poll from Franklin & Marshall College, which reveals that the senator is hemorrhaging suport, though only (sarcasm alert) among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Although he leads likely challenger U.S. Representative Joe Sestak in a hypothetical matchup, 48% of Democrats polled were undecided.

Chris Bowers of reports that Sestak, publicly a supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, received a rousing reception when introduced at a recent United States Steelworkers Legislative Conference in Atlantic City, N.J., a common venue for gatherings of groups from eastern Pennsylvania. Specter had been slated as keynote speaker, but the invitation was withdrawn because of the membership's negative reaction. Now, following Specter's 150 (would be a 180, but Schumer's idea is less progressive than Obama's) on health care and his uncertain prospects in a Democratic primary, could the support of the Pennsylvania senator for EFCA be far behind?

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