Progressive's Ultimatum for Specter
The Democrats had a very good chance of electing a moderate-to-progressive Democrat from Pennsylvania in 2010. Pennsylvania is a blue state which has only move further into the Democratic column in the past few years. Senator Arlen Specter was either going to lose his primary or come out of it in terrible shape.
The Democratic leadership encouraged Specter to switch parties. They decided that having a very conservative Democrat now was more important than waiting 2 years and electing a progressive Democrat who would probably hold that seat for a few decades. After a week of doing everything possible to piss off his new Democratic base many are questioning the wisdom of welcoming Specter with open arms.
Specter claims that as a Democrat he is still against the Employee Free Choice Act, even though he supported it only 2 years ago. He recently said he opposes creating a public health insurance option. The public plan was the core principle of Obama's health care plan and would save the average American 30% of their cost of health care. Specter even “mistakingly” said he was still routing for Norm Coleman in his unethical attempt to subvert democracy.
The progressives need to give Specter a strong ultimatum. You may not supporting a single filibuster. Specter can be free to vote against any bill he wants, what he can't do is stand in the way of a bill getting an up or down vote. His vote is not needed to pass important legislation, only to stop Republican obstructionism. If Specter block a public plan and the rest of Obama's campaign promises, he will face a strong primary challenger. Clearly, Specter is a man who responds to election threats.
The progressives should be careful not to fall into the same trap that conservatives did over the last 8 years. The conservatives were so willing to blindly follow their presidential leadership that they ended up selling out their values and crippling their movement. If the Democratic leadership is unwilling to put pressure on Specter, than the grassroots progressives need to.