Howard Rich's Blog

May 8, 2009

Specter Clouseau

From Investor’s Business Dialy

Politics: Arlen Specter left the GOP because he felt he couldn’t win the primary. Stripped of his promised seniority, he might not win the Democratic primary either. If you sell your political soul, read the fine print.

According to the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, Majority Leader Harry Reid did everything but pinky swear that Specter would not lose the perks of service in the Senate since 1980, the year Ronald Reagan swept him into his seat.

“Sen. Reid assured me that I would keep my committee assignments and that I would have the same seniority as if I had been elected a Democrat in 1980,” Specter said when he announced he would leave the party that gave him prominence. “I am confident my seniority will be maintained under the arrangement I worked out with Sen. Reid.”

Well, Lucy has snatched the football away once again, and Specter has found that betrayal cuts both ways. He was stripped of his seniority Tuesday night in a caucus vote that seemed a reaction to recent Specter actions that suggested that he would be as loyal a Democrat as he was a Republican.

Reid read a resolution on the Senate floor Tuesday making Specter the most junior Democrat on four of his five committee assignments. Specter, who once chaired the committee hearing to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, will now have to wait his turn at the back of the line as the Senate considers a replacement for Justice David Souter.

Specter, the lawmaker who wanted to use Scottish law and vote “not proven” on the Clinton impeachment, has a history of making Joe Biden seem level-headed and articulate. The Pennsylvanian recently suggested that if only the Republicans had spent more money on cancer research, Jack Kemp would still be alive.

It didn’t help matters Tuesday when, forgetting which party he was now in, he told the New York Times that he hoped Republican Norm Coleman would prevail over Democrat comedian Al Franken in Minnesota’s Senate race.

Since embracing the Democrats, Specter took positions opposing the White House on the budget, mortgage reform and the appointment of Dawn Johnson to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

And don’t forget the Holy Grail of Democrats — card check and the ending of secret ballots in unionizing elections.

In a heavily union state like Pennsylvania, it might be enough to get Democrat Rep. and former Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak to challenge Specter in 2010. President Obama has pledged to campaign for Specter, potentially pitting both against the unions in an interesting battle.

This man without a political conscience may soon be a man without a party — and a job.

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