Specter’s a Democrat, But Now What?

Arlen Specter and the Democratic Party leadership cut a deal that makes plenty of sense on the surface: Specter is rescued from a doomed Republican primary campaign that would have ended his 30-year Senate career next year, while Democrats pick up what will be (after Al Franken is finally seated) their 60th vote in the Senate–enough, at last, to kill any and all Republican filibusters.
But it’s entirely possible that neither Specter nor the Democrats will get what they expect.
Start with Specter, who argued in a Tuesday afternoon press conference that he didn’t want a verdict on his entire career rendered only by next year’s Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate, a group that figures to be smaller and more conservative than ever, thanks to a flood of defections from moderates this decade.