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Two Fascinating Political Videos

By Brian | April 29, 2009 | Share on Facebook

Both via Megan McArdle’s excellent blog over at The Atlantic, Asymmetrical Information:

First, we have Arlen Specter, who has announced he’s switching parties, choosing to run for re-election in the Democratic parties, despite a long career as a Republican. This move gives the Democrats a 60-40 margin in the Senate, which allows them to override filibusters (assuming Minnesota eventually works itself out) which is big news, I guess, although I’m sure Arlen Specter wasn’t just in it for the publicity – he must have had some kind of personal gain in mind. Well, as it turns out, he’s happy to tell us what it was:

“I have surveyed the sentiments of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania, done public opinion polls, observed other public opinion polls, and have found that the prospects for winning the Republican primary are bleak. I’m not prepared to have my 29-year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate.”

So, in other words, “I can’t win in that race, so I’m trying another one.” The honesty is, well, shocking.

Second, a rather clever discussion about President Obama’s plan to cut $100 million of spending out of the Federal Budget. I like this, not because of the commentary it makes on the President’s budget cuts – after all, every little bit helps – but because of the point it makes about how casually we throw around words like “million,” “billion,” and “trillion” as if they all mean roughly the same thing:

Topics: Political Rantings | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Two Fascinating Political Videos”

  1. Michael Weinmayr says at April 29th, 2009 at 10:43 am :
    Well, switching parties worked for Lieberman…

  2. Brian says at April 29th, 2009 at 8:30 pm :
    Yeah, Reagan too. But neither one was so brazen with their reasoning, if I recall…

  3. jason says at April 30th, 2009 at 1:03 am :
    Well, he does note that the Republican party isn’t what it used to be…

    From his official statement:

    Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

    Not saying election strategy had nothing to do with his decision, but perhaps he’s not quite as cynical as you suggest.

  4. Brian says at April 30th, 2009 at 10:56 am :
    Fair enough, and I can’t say I’d disagree with him either (except to note that a lot of those Republicans that registered as Democrats did so in order to vote for Hillary in the Democratic primary because they thought McCain had a better chance against Hillary, or at least that’s what the stories were at the time).

    I guess my question is this: assuming he switched (at least partially) for ideological reasons, then why lead off your press conference with “I’ve looked at all the public opinion polls and I don’t want this group of people deciding my fate?” Isn’t he handing his (Democratic) opponents a club to beat him with come primary season?


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