Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Kitchen Sink Strategy Pays Off

Yes, just twelve short months ago then Sen. Obama and then Sen. Clinton were engaged in an epic primary fight in Pennsylvania. Remember Rev. Wright? Remember Obama's bowling? Remember the stories of Clinton learning how to shoot a gun? Yes, that was the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. It was primary writ large. Two seasoned campaigns going toe to bloodied toe. The end result was a Clinton win on primary night and 200,000 Republicans registering as Democrats to vote in the contest. Clinton's strategy of hoping to discredit Obama enough in Pennsylvania to somehow overcome his massive delegate advantage and take the Democratic nomination failed. However, the so-called "kitchen sink" strategy may have finally paid off in a tangible way.

Yes, Sen. Arlen Specter read the tea leaves today and decided that he couldn't win a Republican nomination rematch against conservative Republican Pat Toomey and therefore he's crossing the aisle. By tea leaves, I of course mean polls showing the incumbent more than 20 points down among Republicans in PA. So, the leopard is changing his spots in order to save his skin. Toomey's sizable lead at this point is largely attributable to the changing nature of Republican politics in Pennsylvania. Those 200,000 Republicans who became Democrats in 2008 were not going to go back to the Republican fold to save Arlen Specter. Without them, the 1 million Republicans who narrowly voted in 2004 for Specter become 800,000 Republicans who don't want Specter. In other words 20% of the vote has disappeared and it seems to have all gone from Arlen Specter. Democrats owe a debt of gratitude to the impossibly stubborn Hillary Clinton campaign today.

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