Only two days ago on Meet the Press, Arlen Specter was insisting he was entitled to his seniority in the Senate, a position which would have put him at odds with many longtime Democratic Senators (Senate Dems Are Fuming Over Deal That Let Specter Keep His Seniority). Specter felt it was his due.
MR. GREGORY: I want to move on, though, to the question of what it took for the Democrats to get you. What were you offered? What inducements have you been given to switch parties?
SEN. SPECTER: None.
MR. GREGORY: None.
SEN. SPECTER: None.
MR. GREGORY: You won't retain your seniority, as you move over, on, on key committees?
SEN. SPECTER: Well, that is, that is, that is true. But...
MR. GREGORY: That's not an inducement, Senator?
SEN. SPECTER: Well, no, that's an entitlement. I've earned, I've earned the seniority. I was elected in 1980. And I think that's, that's not a bribe or a gift or something extraordinary. I will be treated by the Democrats as if I'd been elected as a Democrat.
Now, however, a reality check on Mr Specter's rarefied sense of entitlement.
The Senate dealt a blow tonight to Sen. Arlen Specter's hold on seniority in several key committees, a week after the Pennsylvanian's party switch placed Democrats on the precipice of a 60-seat majority.
In a unanimous voice vote, the Senate approved a resolution that added Specter to the Democratic side of the dais on the five committees on which he serves, an expected move that gives Democrats larger margins on key panels such as Judiciary and Appropriations.
But Democrats placed Specter in one of the two most junior slots on each of the five committees for the remainder of this Congress, which goes through December 2010. Democrats have suggested that they will consider revisiting Specter's seniority claim at the committee level only after the midterm elections next year.
And to be honest, simple common sense would have dictated that this pretend Democrat for all of five minutes should not be able to leapfrog over other real Democrats, but it took Specter's own arrogance this past week to finally break the proverbial camel's back:
A Democratic aide said Tuesday night that Specter's fate was sealed by comments he made suggesting that he wanted Norm Coleman to win the disputed Minnesota Senate race and by senior Democrats who were angry at the prospect of losing seniority to Specter.
And to be sure, one would expect a Specter on a much shorter leash is more likely to pass progressive legislation than not. The prospect of regaining his seniority (and committee chairmanships), and surviving a potential primary race, will be the enticement he needs to mend his ways as a "Democrat".