If President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raise money for Arlen Specter’s 2010 Senate campaign, I can’t really imagine second termer Rep. Joe Sestak running successfully for the nomination. But I’d be curious about the back story here.
The House Democrat said he would look closely at Specter’s policy statements and how he votes over the next few months before deciding whether to take him on.
“What’s he running for?” said Sestak. “There are critical issues facing our nation, from healthcare to how do we take care of education.
“Now, if he’s for the right things we might end up with the right candidate but for me it’s a wait-and-see.”
Let’s play politics. Sestak is the voice of the Democratic base over the next year keeping Specter’s feet to the fire. If the Dems were smart, they’d let Sestak keep a high profile and play the maverick. He likes the role.
Sestak is beginning to position himself as an outsider, a candidate not in lockstep with the wishes of party leaders in Washington.
The lawmaker recalled that when he first ran for Congress, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had already settled on another candidate and tried to stop him from running.
Sestak said he told political strategists in Washington at the time that he did not think he needed their permission to run.
“I think this just comes down to what’s best for Pennsylvanians, and boy are we independent.”
If in a year from now Specter has been more of a problem than a help, Obama and Reid can back off on their pledge to help Specter at all costs.
But I suspect, all they want is Specter’s vote on key issues, like this one.