Sen Specter Gets a New Vantage Point

Newly-minted Dem senator Arlen Specter, who left the GOP party earlier this week after decades, will have a new location on the Senate floor to match his party switch when the chamber opens for business today.

His desk was relocated last night out of the sight of cameras, unlike the pomp and circumstance that surrounded Jim Jeffords in 2001 when he changed parties from GOP to Independent. Then, we got an actual photo op of the big event. This time, not even an announcement from Majority Leader Reid's office, merely a note from our Radio/TV Gallery.

Perhaps this echoes the sentiment conveyed by the Leader earlier in the week that "now is not a time for gloating." Bipartisanship is still a stated goal of the White House and Dem party, so it might look a little snarkie to be too joyful over some furniture switching, however historic it might be.

His desk placement reflects his seniority, as if he was a Democrat from the time he entered the Senate in 1980. He's near the middle of the chamber, about midway to the well, between Patrick Leahy, D-VT, and Chris Dodd, D-CT.

The Senate's first vote of the day will come this afternoon on the so-called "cramdown" legislation, allowing bankruptcy judges to modify primary mortgages, which will come as an amendment to a broader housing bill. No word on how the wiley new Dem might vote. He showed his independent streak last night, casting his first vote as a Dem against his new party's FY 2010 budget.

It's possible Specter could check out his new digs at that time, though most senators do not vote from their desk unless instructed, in rare instances, to do so.