May 3, 2009 | 4 Comments
If one didn’t know any better, it would be possible to mistake Arlen Specter for a Bond villain, particularly Bond’s most tenacious foe: Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He has the arch-nemesis’s haircut, he has a penchant for making slippery exits, and he certainly is a deceitful little worm. Give the man a cat and who knows what mischief he might get into next.
It has been five days since Arlen left Olympia and Susan holding the bag at the RINO convention, and it would be so unlike me to let the event pass without comment. My guest blogger has already addressed the situation. (It being the only thing addressed by my guest blogger in four days. What is with these bald Pennsylvanians? I’d fire him but I don’t want to upset the last Republican household in the state.)
I think too much is being made of the magic 60 number. Cloture votes are not carried out simply by party affiliation. Being a Republican didn’t induce Specter to vote againt the stimilus package, and being a Democrat doesn’t seem to make him more likely to vote for card check. Specter will probably prove to be as much of a pain in the ass to the Democrats as he was to the Republicans, and with a general election to win next year (more on that in a minute), he can’t exactly go full-tilt leftist. Does his shifting allegiance make him sonewhat more likely to vote for cloture on minor bills? Possibly, but the end result is that Specter’s shift does not have as much short-term significance as people are making out.
There are three elements to Specter’s switch that do annoy me tremendously. First of all, the Club for Growth is being treated like an organization that is just this side of the Minutemen brigade or whatever whackjob group McVeigh was a member of. It is a testament to the derangement that has overtaken this nation that an organization pushing for lower taxes and minimized spending is categorized an “extremist” group. If the Framers were alive today I wonder if they would be so pigeonholed. James Madison would no doubt be made to suffer to appear on Chris Matthews in order to explain this radical federalism concept of his.
The other aspect of this “extremist” meme being spouted by Specter that perturbs me – aside from the fact that it is completely disingenuous – is that Specter was initially elected to the Senate in 1980. Hmmmm. 1980. That was an historical election, wasn’t it? Some guy named Reagan was elected President. Eh. Must have been a moderate I guess. Surely no Rockefeller-style Republican tried to call the Gipper an extremist, right?
Specter was elected on Reagan’s coattails that night, and for 29 years since then he’s done everything in his power to disassociate himself from the so-called radical right. His gratitude is duly noted. And forgive a side rant, but Republicans please observe how your allegiance to the Specters and Chaffees of the world is repaid.
Finally, as I mentioned, Specter was elected in 1980. I was three years old. I’m 32 now, married, with a two-month old child. In 1980 the Soviet Union was still a decade away from collapse, John Bonham and John Lennon were alive for most of the year, the internet was still mostly a figment of Al Gore’s imagination, and Bill Clinton was just starting to notice even uglier chicks than his wife. One would think that 30 years of Senatorial experience would suffice for most people. Oh, not for ole Arlen. Specter has accomplished so much in his 30 years in the Senate that he could not possibly think of depriving Pennsylvania of its most important citizen. Think of all the signal achievements of the man’s career, like . . . ummmm . . . errr . . . well, you know what he’s accomplished. If Arlen Specter were no longer to serve as the vital cog that kept the Senate running like an efficient machine, the United States would collapse upon itself.
Arlen Specter is, quite frankly, the poster child for term limits, though it’s a poster he would have to share with Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd. These men actually seem to think that they are indispensable to this country. They’re not. Their electorates just can’t seem to be bothered with replacing these dottering fools with anyone remotely competent. Sadly that fact merely serves to condemn us all as equally culpable participants in this farce.