I'm watching this press conference for Sen. Specter. The news just made is that he would retain seniority inside the Democratic Party and would therefore be likely to earn a committee chairmanship, maybe not in Judiciary, but perhaps in the Agriculture Committee ahead of Tom Harkin. That's very odd to me, and I suspect that Harry Reid gave up way too much to earn his place in the caucus, considering that Specter was a goner if they refused. Specter essentially isn't going to change, will probably not help too much in invoking cloture on key issues without demanding certain changes to befit his moderate heart. He just announced that he would oppose President Obama's nominee for the Office of Legal Counsel, Dawn Johnsen. He may have an emphasis on some other issues, but basically he's going to be the same. And Washington will continue to revere him. Hell, Obama said today he'd campaign for him.
For his part, Rep. Joe Sestak said he'd still entertain a primary if Specter doesn't hew his views closer to the Democratic Party. Good for him, though he'll have lots of pressure to stay out. Specter needs some source of pressure.
...Specter apparently said on the phone to the President, "I'm a loyal Democrat, I support your agenda." Having some experience with Specter from my upbringing in Pennsylvania (he's been a Senator since I was 7), I am as dubious as Atrios.
First Read reported that Specter will got get a chairmanship in this Congress. That's not at odds with what Specter said. His view was that his seniority would accrue if he won the 2010 election, and he would come into the Democratic caucus as a senior Democrat. Bad idea.
...On the bright side, it is fun to watch Republicans go insane at this news.