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Where In the World Is Arlen Specter?

- May 12, 2009

bq. New Specter will be just like Old Specter, voting with the Democrats sometime and Republicans others, and with a much more even split than most/all other Senators…In short, the Specter switch will matter a tiny bit at most. All it does is shift the filibuster pivot “one person” to the left, and even with an ostensible vanishing moderates problem in the Senate, there are still enough moderate Senators that there just isn’t that much policy space between, say, a Old Specter and a Snowe…My prediction in brief. We’ll see plenty of gridlock — much more than the 100-day-high pundits have prognosticated. Furthermore, if and when major legislation is passed, it will happen via major compromises that make the final product look much more like what Old Specter wanted than what Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid want.

That is Keith Krehbiel, commenting at Nolan McCarty’s blog. Nolan isn’t convinced:

bq. As I originally pointed out, Keith’s prediction that Specter would not move much isn’t really borne out on data from other party switchers.

Nor is it born out by how Specter has voted thus far. Via Jeff Lewis, Simon Jackman posts this graph, which, based on 14 roll call votes, locates Democrat Specter to the left of Republican Specter:


Of course, 14 votes is thin evidence. Time will tell. See more at Nolan’s blog. See also Brendan Nyhan on the as-yet-unmodeled “unprincipled hack” factor.