Dave Davies: Specter’s defeat is not about Obama

    Yesterday’s win by Congressman Joe Sestak over incumbent Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was among the most closely followed races in the country.
    WHYY’s Dave Davies says some national pundits are reading things into the Pennsylvania race that aren’t there.
    One trend widely touted in this mid-term election year is that there is anger with President Obama in the land, and Specter’s demise represents another defeat for the embattled president. It’s true Obama backed Specter, but the voters who ended Specter’s career didn’t do it to rebuke the president.

    Tuesday’s win by Congressman Joe Sestak over incumbent Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was among the most closely followed races in the country.

    WHYY’s Dave Davies says some national pundits are reading things into the Pennsylvania race that aren’t there.

    One trend widely touted in this mid-term election year is that there is anger with President Obama in the land, and Specter’s demise represents another defeat for the embattled president. It’s true Obama backed Specter, but the voters who ended Specter’s career didn’t do it to rebuke the president.
    Pennsylvania is a closed primary state, so only registered Democrats could vote in the Sestak-Specter contest, and primary voters tend to be core Democrats with more liberal views.

    Many were thinking not about the president, but about Specter’s grilling of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings – 19 years ago – or his votes for the Bush tax cuts. Specter’s decision last year to switch parties left him playing on a field that favored an energetic opponent like Sestak.

    It’s likely that Obama saw where the race was heading and chose NOT to come to Pennsylvania just so he wouldn’t be tagged with Specter’s loss.

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