John Tabin has comments, paid and unpaid. I should add that I’m enormously pleased by the eventual results. 51-49 are as close an election as you can get without the other side demanding recounts or staging coups. And the portents are good:
– Specter overcome 11th hour expectations of defeat. Among conservatives – those most likely to hold a grudge against him – he seems like a winner again.
– That he won at all is thanks to the efforts of Bush and Santorum, two conservative favorites. It bodes pretty well for their electoral clout – not ideal, but it’s there.
– The Club for Growth has been losing the races that pit free-market social conservatives against social liberals. They got destroyed in Schwarzenegger-McClintock. They got pipped this time, in perhaps their most high-profile race. But when they throw cash toward more libertarian candidates, or throw it in the way of statists, they do well. As David Mark wrote in a prescient Campaigns and Elections profile, they turned Mark Kirk (IL-10), Scott Garrett (NJ-5), Mike Rogers (MI-8) and Ric Keller (FL-8) into congressmen, and John Sununu (NH) into a US senator. Kirk and Sununu would never pass the litmus test that NRO subjected Specter to. These are the candidates they should back – not wallpaper-dry cultists like Toomey.
– I’m reading John Farrell’s excellent Tip O’Neill biography at present, and there are some great chapters about how O’Neill’s politics slowly, cynically metamorphisized whenever there was enough pressure back home. Most notably, he went from pro-Vietnam War to anti- after constituents pressed him and defeated pro-war state senators in Massachusetts. There’s no direct comparison to make, since Specter would be serving a final 6-year term. But activists shouldn’t write themselves off because he’s their senator. They should use the Toomey organization (whatever it was) and form a conservative pain-in-the-ass group that hounds Specter on the Hill.
I spoke to other issues previously.