Posts Tagged ‘Arlen Specter’
April 2nd, 2012 at 2:05 pm
Good Riddance, Arlen Specter

It’s been a rough re-launch into the public consciousness for former Senator Arlen Specter (R/D-PA) since switching parties and losing the Democratic primary in 2010.

While hocking his memoirs during media appearances Specter has made off-color comments about Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, and Rick Santorum, insulted at least one radio host, and drawn attention to his book’s portrayals of former fellow senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) as a “walrus” and John Thune (R-SD) as looking like a movie star “in or out of clothes.”

The Blaze website has a helpful compilation of Specter’s lowlights during his media blitz, including Glenn Beck’s radio show co-host reading excerpts from Specter’s book; such as the nugget about the time another senator cut in front of Specter to get a ‘free’ (i.e. taxpayer-funded) massage in the Senate gym.  Arlen’s take-away from the experience: collegiality is dying in the upper chamber.

Ronald Reagan once said, “Politics is not a bad profession.  If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.”  In Specter’s case, Reagan’s observation still holds true.

April 20th, 2011 at 2:53 pm
Club for Growth to Lugar: Retire

Roll Call says Club for Growth President Chris Chocola is readying his group for another take-down effort of a moderate GOP senator.

Chocola, a former Congressman from Indiana who served in the House from 2003 to 2007, told ABC’s “Top Line” that his fiscally conservative organization is considering getting involved in Lugar’s 2012 re-election campaign in the Hoosier State. The club has already met with Lugar’s primary opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R).

Club for Growth already helped scare former Senator Arlen Specter into switching parties rather than face one-time CG president Pat Toomey in a primary.  Specter wound up losing the Democratic nomination to former Rep. Joe Sestak.  Toomey ultimately prevailed in the general election.

With Lugar’s (lack of) residency in Indiana and tutelage of President Barack Obama likely to become campaign issues, Indiana just might elect a conservative the rest of America deserves.

July 16th, 2010 at 12:37 am
Arlen Specter Shows Rod Blagojevich How to Negotiate with the White House without Getting Indicted

If only the indicted former Illinois governor could have passed on the chance to be first elected official to do business with the Obama White House political machine he too might be just another “coincidence” in need of rationalizing.  At first, Blagojevich seemed to be a bad Sopranos version of a big state governor.  The hair, leather jackets, and the boyishly insincere claims of innocence made it easy to dismiss him as a buffoon unskilled in the art of negotiating political favors.  (FBI tapes of him dropping f-bombs while daydreaming about running a nonprofit or a cabinet department didn’t help either.)

Then came revelations that Democratic Senate candidates Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff of Colorado were offered varying types of political compensation not to run against Obama’s preferred incumbents.  Now it sounds as if Arlen Specter – the party switching moderate Sestak defeated – is signaling he’d like a sweetheart deal after Keystone State voters refused to renew his contract.

Sources tell ABC News that Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, has informed the White House that he would like to consider remaining in public service after his Senate term ends at the end of this session, and White House officials are keeping an open mind about possible job openings for him.

So, THAT’S the difference!  Blago should have “informed” the White House that “he would like to consider” increasing his public service to include Washington, D.C. – perhaps after the governor nominated President Obama’s friend Valerie Jarrett to fill his Senate seat.

Hey, distinctions are helpful.  They’re also dubious if the following report from ABC News is true about Specter’s motivation:

Some who know Specter say he’s eager to go out with a bang — to have a more majestic career-ender — and not to be known in perpetuity as a party switcher, an inquisitor of Anita Hill, or as a leading advocate on the Warren Commission of the single-bullet theory.

June 3rd, 2010 at 6:23 pm
President Obama Has the Reverse Midas Touch

So far, President Barack Obama is 0-for-everything when it comes to getting directly involved in any campaign other than his own.  In a three month span, he helped lose Democratic campaigns for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, and the special election for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat.

Now, it looks like he picked losers in two Democratic primaries.  Just when it seemed like the Joe Sestak pay-not-to-play offer couldn’t get weirder, the challenger in Colorado’s contested primary confirms that he too was approached about dropping out.  For those keeping score, Sestak beat Arlen Specter and Andrew Romanoff currently leads 60%-40% over the appointed incumbent Michael Bennet.  Whatever happened to the will of the people?

But what should we expect from a chief executive whose only “win” so far in office is a scandalously passed health care industry takeover that may go down as the most corrupt bargain ever brokered between a president and Congress.  The lesson here is that this president is as hapless at electoral horse trading as he is with legislative deal making.

How much longer ‘til 2012?

May 25th, 2010 at 9:47 am
White House Self-Investigates; Pronounces Itself Innocent
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For three months, the White House has refused to say whether it offered a job to Representative Joe Sestak to get him to drop his challenge to Senator Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania Democratic primary, as Mr. Sestak has asserted.

“But the White House wants everyone who suspects that something untoward, or even illegal, might have happened to rest easy; though it still will not reveal what happened, the White House is reassuring skeptics that it has examined its own actions and decided it did nothing wrong.  Whatever it was that it did.” — Peter Baker, The New York Times

That’s about as succinct an explanation of a growing kerfuffle as can be written.  The kerfuffle is growing because the second worst White House Press Secretary in living memory, Robert Gibbs, decided to run a cutesy stonewall when Sestak first made his allegation (when the White House was against his candidacy before it was for his candidacy), and now has escalated it into the annals of political kerfuffledom.

It would take a Special Prosecutor longer to get an office set up than it would to resolve this. 

Someone (maybe multiple someones) carrying a White House briefcase said something to Sestak about a job,  seemingly linked to him abandoning his candidacy.  Couldn’t have been a very long conversation. 

Interview Sestak.  Interview the someone (or someones).  Conclude whether or not there is reason to believe the conversation crossed the legal line.  Conclude whether or not any party interviewed committed perjury during the really brief investigation.  Proceed to grand jury or issue a report.

But hey.  Summer’s here.  Let’s instead have yet another spittle-spewing Washington circus.

April 8th, 2010 at 1:30 pm
The Persistence of Pat Toomey

Six years ago, then Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA) angered the GOP establishment by running against incumbent Republican Senator Arlen Specter in the primary.  Toomey lost, in no small part to conservative GOP Senator Rick Santorum’s support for the very liberal Specter.  Since then, Specter won and switched parties, Santorum was defeated by Democrat Bob Casey, Jr., and Toomey ran the Club for Growth.

Now, Toomey is the odds-on favorite to be the Republican nominee to knock off Specter in this year’s general election while Santorum nurses plans for a presidential run in 2012.  With Toomey outpolling Specter and Santorum counting on conservatives like Toomey to make him electorally viable, it’s nice to see a limited government politician winding up in the driver’s seat.

December 1st, 2009 at 5:21 pm
Arlen Specter Introduces Trial Lawyers’ Bill of Rights
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Desperate to fend off challenges from both his left and right in his campaign to perpetuate a seemingly-endless Senate tenure, Senator Arlen Specter (Fair Weather Party – PA) has introduced legislation amounting to a trial lawyers’ bill of rights.

Last year, the United States Supreme Court issued an important but underreported decision requiring plaintiffs to state a plausible claim in order to proceed with burdensome litigation.  Namely, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority, there must be “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”

That doesn’t sound like too much to ask of a litigant, does it?

After all, anyone who has found themselves individually named in a lawsuit after some ambulance-chasing plaintiffs’ attorney has cast the widest imaginable net in naming potential defendants can attest to the oft-abusive nature of our judicial system.  Even when the likelihood of ultimate liability is almost nonexistent, the sheer cost in terms of dollars, time and emotional energy to defend frivolous suits can be steep.

But even that minimal requirement is apparently intolerable to Senator Specter.  Or, more accurately, to the plaintiffs’ lawyers who can help save his hide from the electoral fire through campaign support.  He has therefore introduced the “Notice Pleading Restoration Act of 2009,” which would require a court to establish absolute metaphysical certainty that a claim won’t prevail before dismissing it.

Specter’s proposed bill is very, very dangerous, particularly at a time when tort reform and restraining unnecessary litigation costs are critical to our economic recovery and national well-being.  But to Senator Specter, that’s apparently a small price to pay to retain Senatorial privileges six more years.

October 21st, 2009 at 10:53 am
Cash-for-Clunkers Could Be Money-for-Make-Work

The last sentence on Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter’s entry on The Huffington Post says it all:

We could all take a lesson from FDR.”

And what, pray tell, might that lesson be? Apparently, that it is the government’s job to put people back to work when the private sector can’t. The key to the Specter Plan is creating an indirect subsidy to out-of-work people via cash incentives to employers for hiring more workers. For example:

A tax credit to encourage employers to create new jobs or extend hours worked is just the kind of direct subsidy that worked so well with the cash-for-clunkers program. That was about cars. This is about jobs and people, an unquestionable priority. The moral imperative to act is aggressively clear.”

Astute readers will notice a disagreement between this author and the Gentleman from Pennsylvania about whether paying one party in order to benefit third party is a “direct” or “indirect” subsidy. Logic would seem to dictate that if one wants to help someone pay his bills, the most efficient way to do so is to skip the go-between and give the man some money. If people need help now – and many do – why not send them a check that covers the cost of bills and requires the recipient to get relevant job training? In today’s credential-crazed economy, the time and money spent earning a Microsoft Office certificate or sales license would go a lot further in landing a job than bribing employers to hire people they can’t otherwise afford.

And what about the alleged success of the cash-for clunkers program? The long-term effects of the program reduced the number of used cars thus driving up the price of those that remained. This FDR-style intrusion into the market decreased the sales of used car dealers and put car purchases out of reach for the poorest families. Now, Specter wants to spend more taxpayer money on jobs that cannot be sustained without subsidies. There may be a moral imperative to act. But like health care reform and the bank bailouts, the only worthwhile government acts are those that get the private sector moving away from the public’s money as fast as possible.

August 13th, 2009 at 12:11 pm
Toomey Leading Specter in PA Senate Race
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Former Representative Pat Toomey is leading Senator Arlen Specter 48% to 36%, according to a new Rasmussen poll.  The election is still over a year away but incumbents who poll under 40% eventually have their titled preceded by “former.”