As with most of our poster children, he has never held a real job in the private sector. He did spend two years in the Air Force and a couple of terms as district attorney in Philadelphia. Even the worst of the poster children have voted along constitutional lines on some issues. Notably, Specter has been pro-Second Amendment most of the time. The National Rifle Association was instrumental in Specter’s 1% victory over Pat Toomey in 2004 even though Toomey was an active member of the Second Amendment Caucus when he was in the House for six years (he term-limited himself) “to ensure that lawful gun owners were defended in congress.” The NRA tends to back incumbents because of their overwhelming advantages over challengers. The same reason, we suppose, that President Bush and Sen. Rick Santorum also backed Specter. Thanks to them we had Specter in position to make it possible for passage of the so-called Stimulus Bill in 2009.
The Wall Street Journal dubbed them, “Obama’s Enablers in Chief,” –Arlen Specter, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, the only Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats for the lavishly earmarked $835 billion pork bill. It would have failed without their votes. These three are the three most liberal-voting Republicans in the Senate according to the American Conservative Union; the National Taxpayers Union ranks all three as “poor” among both Repubs and Dems in the latest ratings for fiscal responsibility. Nobody knows how far their votes set back prospects for ever achieving fiscal sanity in the US again.
In the long history of Specter in the Senate, this Stimulus bill vote was the low point in that our grandchildren will be paying for and we’ll suffer under the burden of high interest costs, cheapened dollars and an economy like Old Europe’s. There a few other acts of our poster child that should be mentioned but these are only scratching the surface of a way too long career.
An ardent pro-abortion advocate, he voted against the partial birth abortion ban and for embryonic stem cell research funded by FedGov. He voted to give voting rights to D.C. residents in defiance of the Constitution. He voted for gay marriage. He supported numerous bills that reduce individual freedom and give more power to the FedGov: For the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act on behalf of the lawyers lobby; For an expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program further discouraging people to insure themselves and giving FedGov more control over insurance and health care; Against the Central American Free Trade Agreement to protect certain lobbies at the expense of our economy and of the other nations concerned. Just a few of the key votes in recent years.
Teddy Kennedy, the ACLU, pro-abortion groups and Arlen Specter vehemently “borked*” Robert Bork, President Reagan’s highly qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. We got Anthony Kennedy as a result. *To bork" is in the dictionary now –there just wasn’t a word to adequately describe such savage disparagement of a nominee as Specter and Kennedy subjected this good man to.
In 1998-99 Specter thought that Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial wasn’t fair and that he should have received a verdict of “not proven” according to “Scots law.” (I did not make that up.)
Way back, Specter as the ambitious junior counsel to the Warren Commission investigating the Kennedy assassination, was the chief architect of the “single bullet theory.” Implausible, as the bullet would have had to make several changes of direction to be able to hit both Kennedy and John Connally, as Specter posited. But it helped close the file without finding a conspiracy.
We’ll end on his latest flip-flop: Here’s Rick Santorum writing in an op-ed March 26 2009: “Last year, Specter was the lone Republican who voted to end the filibuster of the pro-union legislation. But even with all 51 Democrats, supporters fell short of the 60 votes they needed. Now, with 58 Democrats in the Senate and Al Franken still ahead in the Minnesota recount, Specter's vote would have been the decisive one.
“Few issues unite Republicans more than card check. We all see it for what it is: taking away the working man's secret ballot in order to help one arm of the Democratic Party gain money and power. Team Specter had come under withering attack from conservatives since his card-check vote last fall. His own supporters warned of dire consequences should he be the vote to pass this game-changing partisan power play.
“Message received; Specter announced this week that he would not support the legislation…” But he does insist on a compromise –what that is remains to be seen. So, like all self-serving career politicians, he caves in and when he does the right thing it is often for the wrong reason. He wants to save his chances for reelection. And that is all that matters to our Poster Children for Term Limits. It’s all about themselves. What oath of office? The US Constitution? What has THAT got to do with getting reelected?