The Permanent Republican Majority's Specter
Senator Arlen Specter's staff denied queries today that he was turning coats to become a Democrat, denied again, and then confirmed. Politically, the impact will be huge.
Keeping tabs on Specter is not a task which fills my heart with joy, so I don't know when his re-election bid rolls around but would give 3:1 odds it's soon. He is the Senate's 12th most senior member and one of its most powerful. He has chaired the Intel and the Judiciary Committees, as well as Veteran's Affairs. He is one of the people who sit around and decide where the grease goes, and how much of it.
He has lymphoma, just undergoing chemo to control it again last year, so maybe he simply craves having some political relevance again. (See Obama's tactic of making deals to peel off moderates and isolate radicals, two posts previous.) Given Specter's stature, it wouldn't be surprising if this marks the start of a trend.