Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell pulled no punches last night on The Ed Show in an enthusiastic pitch job for the new "Democrat" Arlen Specter. Rendell said in a primary challenge Congressman Joe Sestak would "get killed" because the party machinery and even the president are now squarely behind Specter, and that Specter is so well-known in the state while Sestak is not.
"I'm a great admirer of Joe Sestak and worked hard to get him elected and re-elected," Rendell said. "And I'm going to work hard to get him re-elected when he runs for Congress next year. Not for the Senate. Joe should not run for the Senate in the Democratic primary. He would get killed."
And if Sestak does run?
"We will lose a terrific Congressman," Rendell said. "Joe Sestak runs against Arlen Specter, he is out of the Congress after just two short terms. We will lose a terrific Congressman and when he loses to Arlen, he fades into political obscurity."
Rendell was the prime instigator in getting Specter to switch to the Democratic Party, and their history goes way back. Rendell's first job was in the DA's office in Philadelphia under Arlen Specter in the late 60's. (Rendell himself would later be elected District Attorney of Philadelphia in 1977.)
And much of what Rendell is saying is true. Specter "the Democrat" is getting broad-based democratic institutional support, even by Obama himself, where he appeared at a Beverley Hills fundraiser, as well as Joe Biden and Harry Reid. That part isn't surprising.
What is unclear though at this point is how much rank-and-file Democrats will be cheering for this career opportunist should a serious primary attempt be made by a real Democrat in Joe Sestak.