The Specter Chronicles
This headline would have been better: "Delco Politicians "Shocked, SHOCKED" by Specter" ala Captain Renault in the movie "Casa Blanca."
As in "We are shocked, SHOCKED! to find out Arlen Specter is a craven politician interested in nothing more than his own political survival."
Let's go through the story a paragraph at a time.
Delaware County Republican Chairman Tom Judge Sr. probably best summed up the announcement Tuesday from longtime Republican U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter that he would become a Democrat.
“It’s a shocker,” said Judge. “I didn’t have any indication that he was going to switch.”
What's this? Specter didn't check in with Delaware County GOP figurehead Tommy Judge about such a momentous decision? Not even a courtesy call? What is the political world coming to?
Judge said he had not discussed the move with Specter by Tuesday afternoon, but expected the 29-year senator would maintain his individuality on Capitol Hill, Republican or not.
Change "individuality" to Specter's prickly, self-importance and arrogance and that probably is close to the truth.
Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman Cliff Wilson said Specter might now be a Democrat in Washington, D.C., but what that means for Pennsylvania remains to be seen.
“There’s the question of how he votes the rest of this year,” said Wilson. “I think to have solid Democratic Party support next year, he needs to be a supporter of (President Barack Obama’s) administration...
Would that have to be "lock step" support, Cliff? Afterall he already crossed Republicans by voting for the Democratic pork-o-podamous spending bill. Does he also need to come out for prosecuting Bush Administration officials for their rough interrogation of terrorists memos? Or will Democrats give him a pass on that one?
... and, frankly, I think it’s fine for him to say the Republican Party has left him, he hasn’t left it...
Frankly, that's a bald-faced lie, but it should be fine with any Democrat for Arlen Specter to lie about his actions. The Republican Party establishment has done everything it could to protect Specter and his seat, supporting him with money and endorsements over upstart principled conservatives. Lot of good it did the GOP. It's the party rank and file, the conservative voters who got sick of Specter's double dealing and double talk. He knew the GOP establishment could no longer protect him from their own base. So off he went to Obamaland. If that's not "leaving the party" what is?
... but I’d also like to hear him say, ‘I agree with this Obama administration.’”
Don't worry, he will. At least enough. As long as it doesn't compromise the phony image he has of himself as an independent and brave statesman.
“I don’t believe for a minute this had anything to do with party,” said state Rep. Tom Killion, R-168, of Middletown. “If it did, he would (not) have done this … in the midst of a heated primary race.”
Had Specter switched parties last year to align himself with Obama, said Killion, he wouldn’t have a problem with it.
“But this I don’t respect and I don’t admire, because it’s just political self-survival and it has nothing to do with political ideology and everything to do with winning a primary election,” said Killion.
Bingo again. As Specter himself noted a few years back the way to do this with integrity is to resign your seat and run in the next election cycle. That's what Phil Gramm did when he became a Republican in Texas. Apparently such integrity is no longer hip in Washington. Not that Specter ever showed he had much of that stuff.
“(Specter) is smart enough to see that when his own party does not appreciate his years of service … then he has to do what he has to do to ensure his political survival,” said state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, of Chester. "I don't see anything wrong with that."
Oh Specter is smart alright. But what he's smart about has nothing to do with his party not sufficiently appreciating his "years of service." He is smart like a rat, another creature who has excellent survival instincts. Of course, Kirkland "doesn't see anything wrong with that." Though, you have to wonder if he might say the same thing about a Democrat who switched parties to give Republicans a fillibuster-proof majority. I'm guessing not.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak, D-7, of Edgmont, said the move might be politically advantageous for Specter, but questions remain about “his commitment to accountable leadership” and the principles of his campaign.
Ha! No Welcome Wagon from the Admiral. No "Glad to have you aboard, Arlen." No wonder. The Admiral just got demoted again, this time by his own party. He was making noises about running for Specter's senate seat. He was counting on Pat Toomey to knock Arlen off in the primary and then beating Toomey in the general. It would have been soooo perfect. But now THIS!
“After 31 years in the military, I learned that you run for something, not against someone,” said Sestak. “Arlen has made a decision to leave a race because he could not win against someone. What needs to be known is what he is running for.”
What's he running for? Why, the greater glory of Arlen Specter. Or as your partymate, Thad Kirkland, put it, "political survival." But what a cruel turn of events for a man who feels the need to constantly remind us of his "31 years of military service." Hey Joe, just remember, Ed Rendell giveth and Ed Rendell taketh away. Get used to it.