A Specter is Haunting Washington

Arlen SpecterI’m a little concerned about this business of Arlen Specter switching over to the Democratic party.

It’s clear why he’s jumping ship — he’s openly admitted it: the Republicans have moved far enough to the right that he can’t expect their support in a primary campaign, so he’d never make it to the general election (which he’d have a decent shot of winning) if he sought the Republican nomination.

And Obama and the Democrats are agreeing to this (and most likely telling him they’ll support him over any other Democratic candidates) because it means that he’ll be a little more cooperative with them over the next year, leading up to the election. They figure a Specter in the hand is worth two potential real progressives in the bush. (How’s that for a shredded maxim?)

Personally, I have my doubts about whether it’s worth it. Sure, if Specter was going to try to get his old party’s nomination, he’d have to take a giant step to the right, and that would mean the Democrats would get just about no cooperation from him over the next year, “independent record” or not. I think he knows that that wouldn’t be enough to convince the party base to keep him. He could pull a Lieberman and declare himself an independent. He may have been one of the three most moderate Republicans in the Senate, but that was still pretty far to the right of your average Democrat. Is this deal going to change any of his votes in the next year?

It seems to me he’s getting a lot more out of this deal than the rest of us are.

And there’s more to it than that. Let’s not forget that this is about Pennsyltucky, a place I’m personally not so quick to trust. Think about some of the people who currently represent the state:

sleestak
Congressman Joe Sleestak, 7th District — that’s him with his son, Joe Jr.

Chaka
Congressman Chaka Fattah, 2nd District

If you don’t see what I’m getting at, maybe this will help:

That’s right — I think Pennsyltucky may be the Land of the Lost. And if that’s the case, it’s unwise to make deals with any politicians from there. When he goes home on a routine campaign expedition, what are the odds that he’ll be eaten by a dinosaur? Hell, the whole state could be swept off to some distant time and place at any moment. What’s the DCCC supposed to do if that happens?

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Google’s Political Connections

No, I’m not talking about relationships between the company and any political figures. I just want to point out something I noticed regarding Google suggesting other searches when I look for information about a politician.

Let’s start with the names of the leaders of the two major parties in the US Senate:

I was planning on writing a post that would serve to mock Mitch McConnell’s minuscule mouth, so I ran a search on his name and then clicked “Images”. What did I see? This:

Google image results for Mitch McConnell

Why is Google suggesting I try searches for Durbin and Lott? And why are they leaving out Reid, who is (at least officially) the most powerful of the four? I doubt it has anything to do with the relative size of their mouths — only McConnell’s is comically tiny.

If I run an image search for Harry Reid, Dick Durbin or Trent Lott, I don’t get a recommendation to look at other people. It’s as if Google is telling me to avoid looking at pictures of McConnell, which is totally unnecessary. I know he isn’t pretty, but I can handle it.

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