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Arlen Specter's Just Deserts

4:48 PM, May 17, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Arlen Specter abandoned the GOP when it was convenient for him to do so, and now the Democratic White House is showing Specter it can play that game, too. A Quinnipiac poll shows Specter just one-point down, but Bob Schieffer claims the White House is bracing for a Specter loss, and Greg Sargent reports that Joe Biden will not be doing any last minute campaigning for Specter "even though Biden will be in Pennsylvania tonight speaking at his daughter's graduation ... keep in mind that the White House decided against a last-minute visit to Pennsylvania by Obama."

Arlen Specter's Just Deserts

Is the White House merely trying to save face, or trying to let Sestak win under the theory that he's a stronger candidate? Probably a little of both. Sestak could pull off a victory, even if Obama did go to the mat for him this weekend. And polls have shown Toomey easily beating Specter but nearly tied with Sestak. That may change as the general electorate gets to know more about Sestak, but at least there's a chance he might be more competitive than Specter in November.

So the White House simply doesn't have any use for Specter any more. As a lifelong practitioner of transactional politics, Specter shouldn't take it too personally. And, hey, maybe Specter will get as a consolation prize the high-ranking federal job that the White House offered to Sestak in exchange for dropping out of the primary.

For Republicans lamenting the likely loss of an opportunity to beat Specter themselves in the general election, Allahpundit offers some reasons to look on the bright side:

I kind of like the idea of a Democrat taking him out. If Toomey beats Specter, we’re in for the same old media shrieking about “radicals” having captured the GOP. If Sestak beats him, needless to say, there’ll be no corresponding storyline about liberals gone wild or a Democratic civil war. Rather, the narrative will be all about how voters saw him for the soulless, opportunistic slug he is. Works for me. Plus, I dig the Shakespearean quality of watching the ruthless turncoat betrayed in the heat of battle by the enemy king he embraced. Lay on, Macduff! I mean, Sestak!

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