The switch of political parties by Senator Arlen Specter has been big news the last few weeks. Predictably the dinosaur media is using it to bash conservatives by saying that there is no longer any room for moderates in the Republican Party and that the party is now both marginalized and regionalized. Reading between the lines -it's a racist party of the South. That's the subliminal message of the dinosaurs. Of course, the big switch is also heralded as a great victory for the Messiah, aka President Obama.
Such coverage is truly deceitful, not to mention inaccurate. Senator Specter may be many things, however one thing he is not, is a moderate. He is a liberal and like the dinosaur media, he has been pretty deceitful himself about the whole thing. In support, I cite the Senator's own comments since the election about how the 41 Republican Senators need to be appreciated and valued , because they are all that is standing in the way of the Administration and the Democratic Congress steamrolling through any legislation they desire. Curious how these comments have been forgotten, isn't it?
The facts are quite simply these. Senator Specter is, has been, and always will be a liberal. He has simply used the Republican Party for his own benefit. Further, he owes his political life to conservatives who swept him into office in 1980 in the Reagan landslide. He repaid this debt to President Reagan, by constantly blocking conservative judicial appointments and otherwise bucking his Administration at every turn. Before 1980 Specter had won only one election on merit, when he was elected DA in heavily Democratic Philadelphia in 1967. Such a position is basically non -ideological and in his defense the Senator made a fine District Attorney. From there Specter lost his reelection bid in 1971, lost in the gubernatorial primary in both 1974 and 1978, and lost a US Senate primary to John Heinz in 1976. In sum, the man was 0 for the 1970s. He quite simply owes his Senate seat to Ronald Reagan and Conservatives.
Well he sure has a funny way of paying us back, doesn't he. He shilled for Republican votes for years, and many like myself held their noses and voted for him. I knew something was up this year when Specter started running ads against his would be primary opponent Pat Toomey this past February. It was Toomey who came within a whisker of defeating Specter the last time, despite the incumbent's much publicized support from President Bush and former Senator Rick Santorum. Even so, a five term Senator running ads for a primary 15 months before an election! This is unprecedented in my view.
Specter knew he had absolutely no shot to win this primary that he barely won six years ago by 51 - 49%. He also knew that the major reason he was in trouble, was his support of the Stumulus/Porkulus bill which was the last straw for Republican voters. We all remember him being wined and dined at Obama's Super Bowl party, and the self - promoting "Mr. Independent" knew that we remembered.
It's also obvious why he did it. In exchange for Specter's rubber stamp on legislation, the President will see to it that Specter has no opponent in the Democratic Primary next year. Any Democrat who dares to run will be crushed like a bug on a windshield. What is most appalling to me though was the Senator's comment, that he wouldn't let his thirty year record in the Senate be judged by the primary voters. Can you imagine an American politician boldly stating that the voters mean nothing? The absolute arrogance of the man! I guess he feels like most liberal politicians, that he wears a crown on his head and we must be loyal subjects because he knows what's best for us. Not in America, Arlen. At least not in the America I knew before January 20,2009.
I have no problem with Specter leaving, and say good riddance. What I do have a problem with, is the manner in which he is leaving. A true man of principle would have resigned the seat and announced his intention to run next year as a Democrat. Especially given the current numbers in the Senate with the Democrats being perilously close to 60 votes. No one would have any problem with that, even though Governor Rendell would have appointed a Democrat had Specter properly resigned. In fact, I would have been the first to laud the good Senator for his candor. But that's just not Mr. Specter, who always puts himself before the good of the country.
I now look forward to 2010 and a conservative Republican winning this seat. Specter is a smart politician and he could read the tea leaves, but this move won't save him. It will only delay the inevitable by a few months. In the end, he must and will be judged by the voters whether he likes it or not. I think you'll also find Senator, that what the Good Book says is most accurate, pride often goeth before a fall.