Primaries work

PRIMARIES WORK…. This is the same guy who opposed the public option shortly after joining the Democratic Party.

Single-payer healthcare should be “on the table” in the healthcare debate, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) said yesterday.

Specter made the comments at an AFL-CIO meeting in Pittsburgh yesterday. The convention voted to pursue a single-payer plan.

“Although there’s not a lot of support of single-payer, I believe it should be on the table,” Specter told the audience. “At a minimum, we shouldn’t settle for anything less than a robust public option.”

Raise your hand if you think Specter would be saying anything like this if he weren’t facing Rep. Joe Sestak in a Democratic primary.

I mean, really. In April, Specter was a Republican who opposed progressive ideas in health care reform. In September, he’s a Democrat who wants single payer on the table.

We’ve all seen politicians evolve ideologically over time, but this is remarkable — and entirely the result of a desire to impress the Democratic base.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.