Now that the government and the unions own GM and Chrysler, is anybody interested in buying their products?
Now that the government and the unions own GM and Chrysler, is anybody interested in buying their products?
I find the Post Gazette comments to be interesting. I’m sure they can back up the statement about Specter being a statesman with some set of facts – like what he has accomplished that would be remembered as statesman-like. I’d say these are not the typical legislative successes that every politician can point to – these are things that people will remember an elected official for years to come.
I can’t think of too many positives, that fit that bill. Here’s my list of long-remembered actions off the top of my head:
– On the positive – he did play a major part in discrediting Anita Hill so that Clarence Thomas was approved for the US Supreme Court.
Onto the negatives:
– Borking Judge Robert Bork
– The Single Bullet Theory
– The “Not Proven” judgment during the Clinton trial
– Voting for the Obama “stimulus” legislation
Can anyone else point out “statesman”-like actions/things that we can attribute to Specter? I welcome comments.
The Weekly World News gets the real scoop.
“I love the Republican Party and what it stands for,” Specter told reporters during a news conference Wednesday. “However, the Republican Party we see today is not the same Party I joined when I first ran for Congress in 1980. The face has changed and so have the ideals.”
“I mean, c’mon, seriously, where are the babes? What kind of Party have we become when Bachmann is considered our top tier?”
Specter was referring to Minnesota Representative and supposed “hottie to the max” Michelle Bachmann, who gained notoriety just before the 2008 Election for inflammatory rhetoric on the campaign trail.
“You can’t tell me that’s the best we can do. She looks like the Nanny. Worse, she sounds like her,” Specter continued. “I’ll take a cool, laid back babe like Sebelius over a dolled-up trollop like Palin any day.”
Specter’s about-face and critique of the Party did not go over well with many of his former colleagues. Republican demagogue and talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, was quick to criticize the move.
“Who does this guy think he is?” Limbaugh bellowed on his daily radio show program shortly after the announcement. “Who is he to say that the Republican Party doesn’t know how to attract babes? Have you seen Cindy McCain? Have you seen Sarah Palin? These broads are stone cold foxes.”
“What does the Democratic Party have? Hillary Clinton? Ruth Bader Ginsberg? Just the thought of those women makes me think I’ll never pitch a tent again, if you know what I mean.”
Editor’s Note: Guest Post is a occasional feature at the watercooler… if you’d like to post a piece please email it to me, and I will put post it. Same rules apply as to the cooler contributors. You have to be a real person, no screen names… and it’s got to be watercooler topical. – Ed
Louis R. Petolicchio
Now that US Senator Arlen Specter has finally decided to come out of the closet and embrace his liberal side, it should come as no surprise that the Democrats are playing up the party switch as a monumental victory for the DNC while Republican liberals are denouncing the conservatives of the GOP for chasing out ‘one of our own.’
From the perspective of rank-and-file Republicans, however, the Specter defection means far more than simple political maneuvering by two national political parties.
To begin with, Specter’s decision to switch parties has been a long time in coming, and for many grassroots party members, it is a matter of relief. For years, Specter has been a phantom, fading from conservative to liberal and back again. Since he first ran as a Republican in 1980 (yes, he was a Democrat before running for the US Senate), he has never been able to carry the Republican brand in a consistent manner.
Indeed, one of the first betrayals of the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan was his uniting with liberal Democrats to destroy the name and honor of Robert Bork, who had been nominated by President Reagan to the US Supreme Court.
Second, it cannot be emphasized enough that Specter’s switch is driven solely by political ambition. He had dismissed and denigrated the conservative base of the Republican Party so often, and consistently won the GOP primary, that he took it for granted that he would win re-nomination as a Republican.
Specter never envisioned that he would lose the GOP primary, and was aghast that his primary opponent – Pat Toomey – was not only polling consistently higher than he was, but that he was consistently polling below the 40% threshold expected of a long-term incumbent – even after running a slew of attack ads against Toomey.
Put bluntly, Specter only switched to the Democrat Party as a last, desperate effort to keep a waning grip on an office he has held for far too long. Specter’s switch had nothing to do with conscience or conviction of issues; it was pure political expediency to avoid a primary he was sure to lose.
Third, neither Arlen Specter nor the Democrats who are now rushing to embrace him have any idea what lies ahead. The rank-and-file base weren’t happy with Specter before his switch; now, they are chomping at the bit to see him defeated. The Pennsylvania Republican Party, as inept as it is, has been embarrassed by Specter’s switch-hitting and they need to see Specter lose in 2010 to prove that he made a huge mistake by bailing out on them.
And no one should presume that Specter will just roll over for the Democrat Party agenda. Remember, the biggest thing in Specter’s life is his own ego, and he likes it stroked. Part and parcel of that character trait is the fact that he needs to be the center of attention, and he will do whatever is necessary to be the focus of notoriety – including betraying Democrats. Democrats may see themselves as one step closer to their magical filibuster proof majority, but they do not realize that he is a loose cannon. Just as Specter was thorn in the flesh of the GOP, so shall he be for the Democrats.
And no one should discount the disdain some Democrats will have for Specter. For where Specter has had to defend his “conservative” credentials among grassroots Republicans by pointing out his support of Justices Roberts, Alito and Thomas, he will now have to defend himself against attacks from liberal Democrats on those same issues.
Specter has built a reputation as a middle-of-the-road moderate, but he has never learned that the only thing that happens when one plays in the street is getting hit by a truck.
Arlen Specter’s party switch has thrown the entire Pennsylvania Senate race into a flux, and made it the most interesting in the nation from my perspective (that could be home state bias though). I think that there are several interesting paths that this race could take, and there are things we will need to pay attention to in the coming weeks.
First of which is the state of the Republican primary right now. Toomey now has the field to himself, but I doubt that it will stay that way. NRSC officials see Toomey as too conservative to win in Pennsylvania, a belief that I have yet to see any polling data to back up. Either way, the speculation that Tom Ridge might be pushed into running shows this, although I highly doubt it will come to pass, as NRSC officials will want someone with a solid political base. Ridge has been out of office to long, and his connections have been waning, especially with Bush out of office. The far more likely alternative is Jim Gerlach, and I expect an effort to draft him into the race will emerge in the coming weeks. I have mentioned Gerlach before as someone who might be pushed as a replacement for Specter should he exit the Republican primary before, except that was on the assumption that Specter would retire, not switch parties. Still, a Gerlach v. Toomey race would be a clear ideological battle between the conservative and moderate factions of the party, one where Toomey would have a slight upper hand due to the conservative electorate. Gerlach’s campaign for Governor has given him an excuse to hire statewide consultants and connect with donors, and it is possible that Gerlach has been waiting in the wings for such an opportunity. He certainly has little reason to stay in the House, as his district is one of the first in line for elimination in two years.
The other thing that we must pay attention to is the Democratic primary. The consensus among the political intelligentsia seems to be that Specter’s establishment backing makes him the Democratic nominee, but I am skeptical that Specter will get a clear shot at the nomination. From what I have heard and observed, the operation to get Specter to switch parties was orchestrated from the White House and officials at the DSCC(I include Rendell in this). This is in effect a political cram down on Pennsylvania Democratic voters, and one that many of these voters are doubtful to be happy about. Specter has a bad voting record from a Republican point of view, but from an ideologically liberal point of view he is little better. This operation has also had the effect of cutting off the chances for Democratic congressmen to seek promotions, and members like Joe Sestak and Allyson Schwartz aren’t exactly young and have been waiting in the wings for years for this. Sestak in particular seems to have been preparing for this race for some time, and the 3 million dollars in his war chest is way too much for a congressman in a fairly safe Democratic district. This is his only foreseeable chance at promotion for the next 6 years, and it is hard to believe that he will give up this opportunity to run. Indeed, Sestak hinted at a run most clearly yesterday after news of Specter’s switch became public. Sestak is a left-wing darling, as he was recruited by the Daily Kos wing of the party to run against Curt Weldon in 2006, and rode Weldon’s ethical troubles to victory. Thus he has little obligation to go along with this whole operation, and he is the clearest alternative to Specter for the Democrats unhappy with this cram down. This situation has the potential to become a reverse 2004 for the Democrats, with Specter playing the same role that he did 6 years ago. He will run as the establishment favorite, with the backing of Obama and Rendell, while Sestak will run an anti-establishment campaign, one the he would have a very decent shot at winning(the irony here is overwhelming). Note that Joe Torsella, should he stay in the race, could also play this role, but he has much less of a political base and no existing bank account, thus he would likely lose.
This race is very much in flux, and developments are undoubtedly coming. In the meantime, I have heard polling data may come as soon as this weekend, which should give a clearer picture of how strong Specter is in the Democratic primary. A Toomey v. Sestak general election is now a very distinct possibility, and this general election would likely bring out the partisans on both sides, and it would be much different dynamically than the assumptions thus far. Politically, Specter’s switch was an annoyance to me, but it should make up for it in extremely interesting political theater.
Note: Different speculation about this race is coming in by the hour. After I wrote this, I got something in my inbox about Sestak running for Senate. This should be interesting!
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) are both asking for their money back now that Specter’s a Democrat.
Corker’s Rock City PAC gave Specter $5000. Yesterday, the PAC’s treasurer sent Specter’s campaign a letter requesting a refund.
“On behalf of Senator Corker’s Leadership PAC, I respectfully ask that the contribution made to Senator Specter’s general election account on March 26, 2009 be returned,” Kimberly Kaegi wrote. “The PAC solicit funds to support Republican candidates and because Senator Specter will no longer be running as a Republican in this election, we ask that the contribution be refunded as soon as possible.”
In a statement to the Nashville Post, Alexander indicated he would do the same.
“Sen. Specter said he would return contributions made to him in this cycle, upon request,” Alexander said. “That’s the right thing for him to do, and we will request a refund.”
In his statement announcing the switch, Specter said that “upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.”
Fair is fair. I wonder how many actual Republicans gave the Senator money?
Republicans told Arlen Specter to go to hell. And by all accounts, that’s where he’s going — to an expected filibuster-proof Senate that, thanks to one of the most unprincipled men ever to serve in that august body, now will have carte blanche to further its dangerously socialist agenda.
Tell us what you really think, Trib. They go on to encourage Democrat Jack Wagner to oppose Specter in the primary, hoping for Specter’s defeat.
For Republicans, there might be reason to hope this cold bucket of water splashed in their face — after all, Mr. Specter could have merely turned independent, but instead he went all the way to Democrat — will cause them to think like a real party. And that means realizing that the most votes lie in the center, not on the far right or far left.
For Pennsylvanians, Arlen Specter is a statesman who has served the commonwealth and the country for many years — first as an independent Republican and now as an independent Democrat. As to the needs of the country and the president’s ability to lead it, the new Democratic lineup that includes Mr. Specter is good for the future as well.
We are proud of you, senator. Good decision, good timing.
Clueless as ever, PG. Specter didn’t turn Dem as a matter of principle; he did it to get re-elected. But then, the ultra-partisan PG is just happy to have another Democrat (officially) in the Senate.
I’ve watched with some interest the recent events of these last couple of weeks – Swine Flu coverage, Specter switching parties, Airforce One fly-by, nominations, etc.
All of these things have ended in my mind the same way – more questions than answers. More uncertainty than certainty. More fear than calm (public fear, that is). All that and at the same time, more of the same. The phrase that sums it up for me is – “it just doesn’t feel right.”
Instead of commenting on each of these events individually, I want to take a few moments to talk about some underlying principles.
It is the habit of humanity to live in a state of extrernal, artificial control. This differs from the controls of the universe, atleast in my mind I can see a distinction. When I talk about external, artifical control I mean man-imposed controls on other men. These controls are based on the false idea of “security” – as if what we control has become secure. So often, what we attempt to control ends up creating more devastation than if we allowed nature to take its course.
Most of our history has been filled with tyrants of one form or another – government tyranny, religious tyranny, we have have health tyranny to some degree (one need only look at the currect state of eggs to recognize this – sometimes they are good for you and sometimes they are not depending on how the medical community feels about them at the time). Tyranny surrounds most of our experience. It may not always have a name. It may only be subtle, but it’s there. How much of the day are we told to do this, or do that, or here’s how you do this, or if you don’t do this then… sometimes we are pushed into compliance because we somehow care more for the opinions of others than listen to our principles and our Intention. What does this say about our own self-worth?
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily overflow of what is deemed “news.” In reality, most of it is unimportant to our existence, doesn’t assist us with our goals (if we have even taken the time to set them or be clear about them), and certainly doesn’t provide joy to our experience.
I find that it’s the questions that are important. I fear the day when everything is certain, where the status quo is unconquerable, and no questions arise from experiences. I’ll keep listening to the questions that arise. I may not have the answers, but questions confirm something to me – questions mean uncertainty. These uncertainties are reminders of man’s limit of control. And that uncertainty means that external control of men over other men is unnatural. The more we remember this, the better off we would be.
Written by Roberta Biros
In a press conference this morning, President Obama and Vice President Biden welcomed once long-time Republican Arlen Specter into the fold with glowing references to his “independence” and “courage”. During the LoveFest there were affectionate glances and multiple references to their ‘train-buddy’ experiences. It made me ill.
In local news, The Herald jumped into the story with both feet with a front page feature in this morning’s issue [READ HERE]. They took an interesting opportunity to discuss the party switch with Mercer GOP Chairman Dave King. Now that Specter has jumped ship, King is suddenly a “Specter Hater” (no surprise there, as that is in true Dave King style). The Herald missed a glorious opportunity, however. I would have preferred to see the reaction of Mercer County Democrat Chair, Bob Lark, to the Party switch. A phone call to Mr. Lark would have been far more interesting as I am sure he is giddy with excitement of yet another new Democrat in the Commonwealth.
A quick check into the Herald Forum showed that the same GOP critics were lined up to toss around discussion about the party switch too. As usual, their obsession with Mercer County’s newest political punching bag (a ‘former’ candidate for the office of County Treasurer) had to be interjected into the conversation.
I’ve checked out all of the State and County references to the ‘big news’. I hate to admit it, but one of the most interesting comments came from Mercer GOP Chairman King. In his interview with The Herald, Mr. King noted that he thinks that Specter’s party switch is all just a backroom scheme to neatly place Ed Rendell into the Senate seat. His hypothesis is based on the concept that Specter’s health won’t hold out through the General Election, and that Ed Rendell will simply step in after the primary to take over. The concept is very interesting. Based on the history of the Mercer County GOP and Chairman King’s experiences with ‘backroom deals’, the idea of pushing candidates through the ‘secret backdoor’ might actually carry some weight.
Pardon my obvious disappointment, but in all of this excitement, where are the references to ‘public service’? Once again, it all just looks like politicians serving politicians.
As always, just my opinion.