Smart Chess

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March 13, 2009 9:46 a.m.

Greg Sargent has an interesting little scoop here. SEIU’s Andy Stern is hinting that that SEIU might endorse Arlen Specter next year if he supports EFCA. And reps from the AFL-CIO have suggested the same.

In one respect this isn’t that surprising. Specter has a decent relationship with labor. He actually voted for EFCA back in 2007. And they’ve endorsed him before. But implicit in Stern’s statement is that that they will most definitely not be endorsing Specter if he ends up pulling his support from EFCA. And these are not ordinary times for Specter.

Specter only barely managed to secure the Republican nomination in 2004. And that was with the strong support of a then popular (at least with Republicans) president. The GOP has now taken a hard turn to the right — especially on fiscal policy. And Specter has either made his bed or his grave (depending on your point of view) by providing the crucial vote for the president’s Stimulus Bill. Though he’d probably be the favorite in a general election match-up Specter now faces an uphill struggle to get the Republican nomination. It’s even been credibly argued that switching parties is the only credible chance Specter has to remain in the senate.

So there’s definitely a ‘make your choice, choose sides’ push behind Stern’s comments. If Specter has intense opposition on his right and committed opposition from labor at the same time, it’s really hard to see how he gets through.

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