Specter party switch leaves Senate with no Jewish Republicans
The Jewish Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate evaporated into thin air on Tuesday with Sen. Arlen Specter’s stunning announcement that he is switching parties because “the Republican Party has moved far to the right.”
That represents a huge boost for Senate Democrats, who were two votes short of a 60-vote “super majority” that would make it easier to end GOP filibusters, and for an Obama administration with an aggressive legislative agenda that has been slowed by Senate Republicans.
You can’t blame Jewish Democrats for being jubilant; not only has Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection to their side of the aisle dealt a major blow to Republican efforts to slow down President Obama’s legislative agenda, but it represented another symbolic swipe at a Republican PR effort that continues to insist the party is making big inroads with Jewish voters.
Periodically during his six-month battle to win a Minnesota Senate race a recount showed he lost by 312 votes, former Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, has suggested voters should just do the whole thing over again.
It’s already the longest and most boring senate election in recent history, unless you love legal minutia, and it’s not over yet; a three-judge panel in Minnesota is deliberating whether challenger Al Franken, who got a few more votes, or Norm Coleman, who says those votes are tainted, will be sworn in sometime before the end of the 111th Congress.
It was a day of joyous celebration for the many thousands of African Americans who came to Washington to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but Jews weren’t exactly slackers in the celebration department.
Inaugural events provided ample opportunity for Jewish machers to see and be seen – and for advocacy groups to display their political connections.
In Minnesota, as it turns out, a recount won’t be enough to determine the winner of a hotly contested Senate race. The only thing that’s certain: the winner will definitely be a Jewish guy from New York.