While the media are full of hullabaloo re: Arlen Specter's crossover, you can bet the Senate pecking order has been under deep contemplation by ambitious politicans. So many choices...
Especially for one powerful ag state Senator.
But due to the rules of the Senate GOP, Grassley is termed out as the ranking member of Finance in 2010. So there's some question as to what he'll do next. And Arlen Specter's defection potentially answers it. With Specter gone, Grassley could become the ranking member the Senate Judiciary Committee, a spot he's admitted that he covets but hasn't pursued "out of respect for Specter." With Specter gone, he could take it immediately, and hold it for years to come. But it would mean giving up Finance before his 2010 deadline.
Another option is for him to wait until become ranking member on the Budget Committee when Judd Gregg retires. That would be a seamless transition from Finance: He'd make the move in 2010. “From my heart," Grassley has said, "I’d rather have Judiciary than Budget.” But getting Judiciary would mean giving up Finance to Orrin Hatch. Grassley wouldn't lose his seat but he would lose a lot of his power and relevance, and FInance has just about never been as relevant as it is right now. [More]
I think Grassley moving to Judiciary could be be a game changer for ag legislation, assuming efforts to reform ag policy continue. So this change could have more impact than first glance would suggest for farm policy. But only if the "R" side matters on such votes.
Watching the Republican party purge itself of moderates by whatever means available has been mystifying for many of us. A few more losses - which seem likely - could raise them to new heights of irrelevance. At that point, the shuffling of the deck chairs on the Republican side might seem a bit silly.
And they are pushing for this why?