Arlen Specter’s party switch gives new life to the old issue of if and when Hutchison should resign her seat. Now that the Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority, she is no longer under any compulsion to remain in the Senate to prevent the Democrats from passing their agenda. She can resign her seat without political consequences, other than allowing Rick Perry to choose her successor. One of Perry’s biggest advantages in this race is that he has been free to campaign across the state and nationally, while she has had to stay in Washington and cast votes. If she doesn’t stay, and misses votes while she is campaigning in Texas, she can be criticized for that. If I were advising her–well, I’d have been fired by now for suggesting that she run as a Democrat–I would say that she has two choices. One is to resign soon; one is to stay to the end. The advantage of resigning soon is obvious. She doesn’t have to cast any more votes (and every vote is a risk); and she doesn’t have to waste time commuting to Washington. The advantage of staying in the Senate is that she can continue to raise money in Washington and she gets to keep that luscious title. I don’t think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It’s better for her to be here.
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