Through my whole life Arlen Specter has been my United States senator. Like him or not I was able to hold my nose and vote for him in the general elections. Hopefully next fall I will get a chance to vote him out of office once and for all.
It took many years after I started to develop my political views to form opinions and viewpoints on specific state and national issues and politicians themselves. One of the first politicians that I began to really dislike was, you guessed it, Arlen Specter.
I don’t believe that there are gray areas when it comes down to one’s core political philosophy. Policy ideas not withstanding you can’t have opinions on policy without having core beliefs. That is what most infuriates me about Arlen Specter. I really don’t believe he has core beliefs. He always wants to play both sides of the issue.
I remember during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton he couldn’t even come down on a side. As a Senator he is required to follow and support the United States Constitution. In a move that reeked of playing both sides he cited Scottish law and voted “Not Proven”. His vote, though, went down in Senate history books as “Not Guilty”. So though he probably wanted to vote not guilty he can say he actually didn’t vote against impeachment when he actually did.
During the first term of President George W. Bush he voted against the tax cuts that helped stimulate the economy, with special interest trial lawyers and unions. He used his position as a swing vote to keep Republicans on the edge of their seats. He seemed to revel in his position as troublemaker and swing vote.
When it came to saving his career, though, he always ran home to the GOP. In 2004 when he faced a very tough primary fight against challenger Pat Toomey, Senator Specter relied heavily on the support of President Bush and then fellow Republican Senator Rick Santorum. When Specter needed a boost in the polls he drew on these two important Republicans to help him to a a slim 51% primary victory.
When Senator Santorum was behind in his election bid Specter was nowhere to be found and offered very little support to Santorum who went on to lose his re-election to Robert Casey.
Most recently Senator Specter has again used his position as a swing vote to keep conservatives on the edge of their seats. After voting with Democrats on the stimulus package he rode the fence on card-check until eventually coming out against the bill (for now).
After seeing the writing on the wall he did what all political opportunists do; he jumped to greener pastures.
I say good. I believe that I would rather have my enemies in front of me than false friend behind me. I’d rather be punched in the face than stabbed in the back.
Conservatives like me constantly needed back armor when Arlen Specter was in our party.