The Senate passed SCHIP yesterday with both Pennsylvania Senators voting in the affirmative. This means the expansion of healthcare for children will become law because George W. Bush is out of office. He vetoed the legislation twice. Change has come to Washington and the sooner Republicans realize this the better off they will be. If they continue obstructing important legislation as they did in the 110th Session they will continue losing seats.
Arlen Specter had an interesting week. After railing against Eric Holder and claiming all sorts of outrage he, again, collapsed on his spineless back and voted for confirmation. Then he voted for SCHIP. I’m sure Pat Toomey is watching.
I don’t think for a moment that Toomey will not run a challenge to Specter. He came within a hairs breadth of beating him four years ago and has spent the intervening time spreading money around Pennsylvania with his Club For Growth. You do that for a reason and the reason is usually to curry political favors.
Specter would be more susceptible to a Toomey challenge since there are few moderates remaining in the GOP. People like Toomey have driven them to the Democrats and this makes a strong challenge from Specter’s right a serious success opportunity. Either way the Senator’s serious health issues are an issue. Should a Democrat succeed Ed Rendell and Specter die during his next term (he will be Hodgkins related 80 in 2010) the GOP would lose the seat. This makes a strong challenge even more likely.
On the Democratic side this opens an opportunity for Allyson Schwartz. Senate seats really don’t open often. Incumbents are very difficult to beat and they tend to stay in office until the voters get sufficiently enraged or they retire. Recent elections have shown, however, that voters are fed up with Republicans over Iraq, the economy and their strident obstructionism. Specter was part of the constant filibusters in the 110th and this puts a target on his back.
2010 may be the year for a Congresswoman Schwartz to step to the plat and hit one out of the park. Attacking Specter as part of the GOP obstructionism against Change will play to voters fed up with the continued partisan bickering under President Obama’s attempts to change the tone in Washington. It would be a powerful message IF Specter beats Toomey. If Toomey beats Specter Schwartz waltzes her way to the Senate and doesn’t fight a crowded field again for an open seat.