When Democrats woke up this morning, they had no idea about the double dose of good news they would be getting later today (or maybe they did, and it’s just isolated Dems like me who weren’t in on the memo) – Justice David Souter announced his resignation and Senator Arlen Spector declared he was leaving the GOP for the Democratic Party. Holy cow, it’s Christmas in May for the Democrats! Souter’s departure gives President Obama the opportunity to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court, and he’s only been in office 100 days. I didn’t think this would be happening until a freak accident occurred, like Cheney shooting Justice Scalia while duck hunting. Of course, liberals want Obama to stick it to the conservatives and appoint a super granola-crunching, tie-dying wearing judge to the bench, but knowing Mr. Unity he will probably appoint someone a little left of center. I’m fine either way. Just happy to have an intelligent president who can make intelligent decisions and not pick someone who, say, has never served as a judge and is probably secretly in love with him (Harriet Miers, anyone???).
As for Senator Spector, well, this is just the icing on the cake. It gives Democrats that filibuster-proof majority they need to push through Obama’s policies. I bet Karl Rove is beating his fat little head against a wall somewhere (I hope it hurts). While I understand why Spector switched parties – he is a moderate Republican (an oxymoron, anyways) and felt isolated from his party – at the same time it’s a little disturbing. He based his decision partly on the results of a poll, which showed he would lose against a conservative who is running against him in the Republican primary in 2010. This makes it seem like he signed up with the other team so he could keep winning. That doesn’t quite sit right. Yet I can sympathize with Spector for leaving the GOP if it no longer stood for what he believed in. I’m kind of in a quandary over this, if you can’t tell.
This was something I used to talk about with my students in my Political Science classes. If an elected official conducts a poll, and he follows what most people want, is he obeying the will of his constituents or just doing what it takes to stay in power? I guess in a democracy it is all inter-connected.
I’m just glad Spector isn’t going the Independent route. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But politicians like Senator Lieberman – who ran for vice president with Gore, then became an Independent, then supported John McCain in 08 and the war in Iraq – kind of make you feel like they can’t be trusted. Or that you just want to take a shower after seeing them on TV to wash all the slime off.