The Specter of Change

Will Senator Specter’s change change all that much?

On the face of it, anyone who changes parties was probably not voting with his party that much in the first place. That was certainly the case in 2001 with Jim Jeffords, and also with Democrats who switched to the Republican party in ’94.

But if he’s caucusing among friends now, he’s likely to be swayed by their positions. And almost all the Democrats are more liberal than Arlen Specter, so he’s likely to move leftward.

For the Republicans, they’ve lost their 41st vote in the Senate. They cannot count on being able to filibuster President Obama’s agenda on energy, healthcare, or education. Instead of relying on political calculations, they’ll have to muster some new ideas in order to compete.

For the Democrats, while this is a victory, it may end up being pyrrhic. They’ve wanted a filibuster-proof majority for a while. But like the dog that chases the car, they may end up wondering what to do with it, now that they’ve caught it.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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