April 29, 2009

The Specter of a Problem

Justin Katz

Senator Arlen Specter says it all in just a single sentence:

"I am not prepared to have my 29-year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate -- not prepared to have that record decided by that jury," he said.

After three decades in the federal government, the folks who've labored to keep you in office become less important than the power. Everything is apt to become less important than the power.

So we should all thank Mr. Specter for the reminder that term limits are worth bringing up at every opportunity. (Of course, with centuries of cumulative years of "service" currently sitting in Congress, there's a whole lot of power likely to be brought to bear against such a movement.)

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I didn't exactly break out the bubbly upon hearing this news.
I may be a liberal, but remember, I'm also a Patriots fan, and he burned any goodwill I once had toward him with his whining about how the Pats should've forfeited Super Bowl victories.
Besides, Tom Ridge would probably be a more formidible candidate than anything the Dems would've put up.

Posted by: rhody at April 29, 2009 3:41 PM

In the world of partisan politics within the context of doing what is best to keep your position (and the power associated with it), I understand what he is doing. Joe Lieberman made the same decision when he went Independent. I’d go so far to say that most politicians would do the same thing when put in a similar situation. I do give him credit for being honest in the statement of your post. I believe most politicians would attempt to portray it as an ideological decision rather than acknowledging it is about job retention.

I’m still not sure where I stand on term limits, but Specter’s move is another example of the negative byproducts of the current two-party political process we have. And as someone who supports changing the current two-party setup, I enjoy when someone does an end-around to manipulate the current rules to their advantage.

Posted by: msteven at April 29, 2009 5:09 PM

It's amazing how naturally democrat hypocrisy manifests itself in these situations.

All day long I've heard democrats commending Specter, praising his "principled decision" and saying (paraphrasing) "Arlen Spector will continue his principled independence and be no more of a tool of the Democrat party than he was of the Republican party".

But geez, isn't that exactly why the Democrat party ran Ned Lamont against Joe Liebermann? I mean, with the exception of the Iraq war, isn't Joe Liebermann pretty darn close to Kerry and Kennedy on most other issues?

So if the Democrat party is truly one of principle, then they really ought to run a liberal Democrat - one who'll toe the party line - against Spector in the primary just as they ran Lamont against Liebermann.

Posted by: George at April 29, 2009 6:23 PM

If this doesn't say term limits, I don't know what does.

Posted by: kathy at April 29, 2009 9:15 PM

The real question is this: How often can you can go against the grain, and still be a party regular? As the pro choice dimension is, Tom Ridge is pro-choice.That was a perceived liability putting him a national GOP ticket.
Ridge in a general election likely is the Pennsylvania's GOP best bet to hold the seat or I should say bring back to GOP column.
It is be interesting what Democratic interest groups get behind Specter. Will he have serious Democratic primary competition? Health and age issues can impact this race, and already he is Pennsylvania's ;ongest serving United States Senator.
There are people on the abortion debate on both sides of the issue in both parties. Bob Casey, the junior United States Senator from Pennsylvania is pro-life.
I think both parties need to look at electability and ability in naming their candidates in this race, as well as shared philosophy and other factors.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at April 30, 2009 5:06 PM

Lincoln turned from Whig to Republican. Does that make him a WINO?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at May 1, 2009 2:44 PM
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