This has Democratic sources seething according to The Hill, in two separate stories covering this issue.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) deal to allow Sen. Arlen Specter to retain his seniority after he switches to the Democratic Conference has not been received well by senior senators in the party.
Several Democrats are furious with Reid for agreeing to let Specter (Pa.) keep the seniority accrued over more than 28 years as a Republican senator. That could allow him to leap past senior Democrats on powerful panels
Before getting to the meat and potatoes of those two articles, we look to right before Specter made his highly public "switch."
April 24, 2009 from Rasmussen on the Pat Toomey/Arlen Specter Republican primary:
Incumbent Senator Arlen Specter trails former Congressman Pat Toomey by 21 points in an early look at Pennsylvania’s 2010 Republican Primary. Fifty-one percent (51%) of Republican voters statewide say they’d vote for Toomey while just 30% would support Specter.
Specter is viewed favorably by 42% of Pennsylvania Republicans and unfavorably by 55%, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state. Those are stunningly poor numbers for a long-term incumbent senator. Specter was first elected to the Senate in 1980.
Toomey, who served in the House from 1999 to 2005, earns positive reviews from 66% and negative comments from just 19%.
Specter was getting his proverbial butt kicked to high heaven in the Republican challenge.
All this hype about Specter switching parties and all this anger from the Democrats about Harry Reid offering Specter this deal, will be a moot point by the time the election rolls around because Specter thinks by running as a "Democrat" he will all of a sudden jump in the polls and overtake Toomey.
According to the Rasmussen report, linked and quoted above, 42% of Pennsylvania Republicans viewed Specter favorably, he might have been behind, but he had a base at least.... now what does he have?
No base, his Republican supporters, as they were, gone- and Democrats that do not trust him as far as they can throw him. He is not and truly never was, a conservative Republican, and Democratic voters won't see him as a liberal Democrat either.
Specter should have become an Independent, he might have stood a chance to salvage his politically declining career then.
Toomey was right when he made it clear that Specter's switch was nothing but a political ploy, video below:
The question won't be whether Specter jumps passed senior Democrats for powerful committee seats, it will be whether top Democratic Senators forgive and forget how Harry Reid was willing to sell them out to get that extra body.