The Narrative

Last night I commented on a Greg Sargent Plumline post about the Sestak-Specter race. He said the DSCC should be backing the long-time Democrat in the race, not Arlen Specter.

I noted in the comments that Sestak wasn’t a Democrat until he was recruited by Rahm Emanuel – he was an independent. (Which Sestak explains away as “not wanting anyone to think I was biased,” but whatever. I think it had more to do with being an ambitious man and not wanting a target on his back if administrations changed.)

In fact, I said, if you counted the years Arlen Specter was a Democrat, he’d actually been a Democrat much longer than Joe. (I might have thrown a comment in there about whether Rahm had ever recruited anyone who didn’t turn out to be a Blue Dog – since that’s what Rahm does. On purpose.)

Anyway, I went back to see if Greg corrected his post and … he didn’t. Well, I’m not holding my breath.

Now, the online professional progressives* are pushing hard for Sestak because they have short memories about Sestak and a need to punish Arlen Specter. They’ve written the narrative about their shining progressive champion and they won’t acknowledge anything that contradicts it.

Let me remind you: Online Democrats gave Sestak $685K in donations when he ran for Congress because he said he would vote against the war and against FISA. As soon as he was elected, he voted for both.

Once again, he’s packaging himself (with the help of virtually every progressive blogger) as a progressive, I guess because they like his stand on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Hey, I do, too – just not enough to vote for Joe over Arlen.

And pragmatically speaking, my state’s in big financial trouble. If Arlen stays in, he gets to keep his seniority. Sestak will be starting at the bottom, not far behind our other senator, Bob Casey. We don’t need two junior senators at such a crucial time. You can laugh all you want, but Arlen’s been crucial in getting federal funding for Philadelphia.

Oh well!

*the ones who do politics for a paycheck.

18 thoughts on “The Narrative

  1. I don’t know if I agree 100% with your analysis (spoken as someone who can’t make up his mind, and may well abstain from voting for either man). yes, you have the Trippis and DFA people supporting Sestak (philly for change endorsed him).

    But i’ve spoken to a few of those people, and excitement is tepid, to say the least. And then you have blasts like this one from booman, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, and speaks directly to Sestak’s temper problem and his reputation.

    the problem is that there ain’t too much good that can be said of Specter, who didn’t exactly do himself any favors with the way he jumped ship. That “so i can be re-elected” line is gonna haunt him.

    Sure woulda been nice to have a Pennachio in the running or someone inspiring.

  2. Brendan, when I wrote “professional” political progressives, I meant people who do politics for a living, not regular bloggers.

    I’m going with pragmatism on this one. Specter’s better for Philly. And Booman’s right, that “whisper” thing Sestak does is downright creepy.

  3. Arlen Specter’s Recovery Act cuts cost Pennsylvania about 1.6 billion dollars.

    Joe Sestak has voted with a majority of his Democratic colleagues 97.2% of the time.

    Sestak is the only PA Congressman to have 100 % rating from the League of Conservation Voters, PennEnvironment, and has been endorsed by the Sierra Club.

    Specter scores 32% by The League of Conservation Voters on environmental issues, indicating generally anti-environment votes.

    Sestak’s legislative efforts resulted in Majority Leader Steny Hoyer naming him the most productive freshman member of Congress.

    Arlen’s Specter’s dismal voting record:
    Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore.
    Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy.

    Voted FOR telecom immunity.

    Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Oct 2003)
    Voted NO on redeploying non-essential US troops out of Iraq in 9 months. (Dec 2007)
    Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008. (Mar 2007)
    Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. (Jun 2006)
    Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)
    Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002)

    Specter created a chart which helped derail Clinton health care reforms.

    snip> “Republican Sen. Arlen Specter’s office created the chart, and press reports at the time cited experts or administration officials saying that the chart distorted the Clinton proposal and ignored the greater complexity of Republican proposals and of the existing system.”

    I don’t trust Specter not to switch after being elected.

  4. I don’t trust Sestak to be anything but a Blue Dog. And I’m not moved by litanies of what Arlen did when he played for the other team. He’s a team player, and now he plays for us. Show me something he’s done since he’s been a Democrat.

    By the way, I saw him fighting a lot harder for the public option than Obama did.

    As Brendan points out, I’m not the only one with reservations about Sestak:

  5. By the way, I saw him fighting a lot harder for the public option than Obama did.

    Spector = running for reelection this year with a primary opponent.
    Obama = running for reelection in 2010 almost certainly unopposed in the primary

    I think that if Spector genuinely thought that becoming a pirate would get him another 6 years in the Senate, he’d start giving interviews wearing an eyepatch with a parrot on his shoulder. He is absolutely, utterly devoid of any character or moral consistency, and if he wins in 2010 and the Republicans retake the Senate in 2012, I fully expect him to switch back to the GOP.

  6. That doesn’t even make sense. Why would he? The party’s right-wing base would never allow them to make a deal with him. As much as he’s not a liberal, he’s certainly not a right-wing extremist. His old party doesn’t have room for moderates.

  7. I haven’t voted in PA since 1968, so I’ll defer to your superior ear-to-the-ground knowledge. I don’t have any more illusions about Sestak than I did about Obama.

    But Specter is really a scumbag. Or a pirate, if you want to be nice about it. I really, really was disgusted by his schtick of seeming to agree with moderate positions as head of the Judiciary Committee, suckering the opposition in to believing that a “moderate solution” was possible, then voting for the most revolting position at the last moment.

    In the big picture it isn’t about Republican vs Democrat anyhow. It’s about us vs them. Any member of the Senate is going be one of them. It’s traditional.

    Susie prefers Specter because she thinks he’ll stay bought. I sent money to Sestak because he’s not a proven scumbag, and I think he has a better chance in the general.

  8. to be fair, I may have reservations (and well-founded ones) about sestak’s honesty, but he’s not a blue dog even though he has had plenty of opportunity to join the coalition.

    has Sestak personally identified himself as a progressive? i’ve seen other people do that, but not Sestak himself (please correct me if i’m wrong). I remember good ol’ Pat Murphy telling everyone about his progressive values, and then immediately signing up with the Blue Dogs (part of their nonexistent progressive wing).

  9. Yes, Sestak says he’s a progressive. (At least, when he’s asking us for money, he says he is.) I don’t know what he tells other people.

  10. Since the whole voting scenario is a complete farce now and the entire system is rigged to do corporate bidding via lobbyists and PACs, it won’t matter much who is voted in to the position.

    That said:

    i’ll go with Specter since he’s already established, has seniority and long-standing relationships with many other influential members of Congress, is on powerful committees, will at least listen to what we want, and supposedly thinks for himself (as far as that can be said about any politician).

  11. Sorry,

    Arlen ain’t getting my vote!

    We could go back to Anita Hill and see that the dude has been a total tool for a looooooooooooooooooooong time.

    And I have never been big on former prosecutors.

    Sestak came to a bar and asked for my support quite some time ago. That’s always my tie breaker, if a politician actually shows up, I meet them in person, and they ask for a vote, I typically give it to them.

    I don’t recall Arlen ever showing his face at a Philly for Change meeting.

    –but I am not sure if this means that Brendan has to vote for Toomey since he was drinking with him at a DL?!?!!?

  12. Yeah? I remember Chris Carney coming to Tangier, telling us he was a progressive and asking for our support. Look how well that turned out!

  13. Susie, aren’t you supposed to vote for the Polish-American guy?

    BTW, this seems to be the longest comments thread on SG in a long time. Reminds me of the old days.

  14. you know who was a real freak that used to come to DL and ask for votes??? remember that featherman (right name???) guy–the one running in the GOP senate primary???? that guy was a real trip!

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