Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a lovely little article titled Senate Dems to Specter: Hello, rookie. I think he has the wrong title. First, the news:
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.
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.
Definitely worthy of a laugh. But it’s worth more than that. Ed swerves near the point here:
If Reid really did make a similar deal with Specter, then his caucus just sent him a message as well, a humiliation that will make Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins think twice before following Specter into rookie status.
And that, to my mind, is the big point. The just told any other Republicans considering jumping that they can’t trust anything Reid says, and that the Senate Dems really don’t want them to cross over.
Specter, Collins, and Snowe used their official “Republican” status to posture, preen, and suck up media attention before voting for the Porkulus. All the other Senate Democrats had to just sit down, shut up, and do what they’re told. Not a position any Senator likes to be in. This is their repayment: “we don’t need you, so you can go get stuffed.”
The Republican Senate leadership should be laughing their asses off right now. Because they can go to Snowe, Collins, Graham and say “look, you have a choice: you can start voting like a Republican, and backing the Republican Party positions, or we can strip you of your committee positions, and you can go beg the Democrats for some scraps.” (“You can see how well that worked for Specter” can be left unsaid. 🙂 )
This move by the Democrat Caucus was a great blow for Republican Party unity. I extend the Democrats who made this happen my sincere thanks.