Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Welcome Senator Spector

I had a feeling Specter might make this move!
by Charlie Leck

"Since my election in 1980, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans." [Pennsylvania Senator Arlan Specter]
A couple of days ago, on National Public Radio, I listened to Pennsylvania Senator Arlan Specter answer questions from listeners out there in radio land. He did not sound like a happy fella -- his political party (of that day and time, anyway) was censuring him for one of his votes and listeners were blasting hell out of him for being either too liberal or too conservative.

The moderator mentioned that his chances of reelection in 2010 were looking dim.

"I'm working on a game plan," Specter promised somewhat pointedly.

"He's coming over," I said to myself aloud, right at that moment, as I sped down a freeway entrance. My dog looked over at me and gave me one of those long blinks of the eyes, as if he understood and agreed with me. We knew it would be that, or that he would declare himself an independent. However, there's too little power in being independent for Specter.

Welcome Senator Specter!

We're glad to have you with us. Let's party!

I agree with so much of what you said, sir, in your statement yesterday. There has been virtually no bipartisan spirit in the GOP. They have moved far, far to the right and seem intent on being the party of the wealthy. If politics as I learned it is true -- that is, that the center is winner -- it will be a long time before Republicans win big again -- until at least that time when they decide to move back toward the mainstream thinking of the American public.

It's been over three decades since the lunatic fringe of American religion began stalking the Republican Party and then finally kidnapped it. It has been holding the party hostage for nearly 20 years now.

This makes it difficult for people of moderation, and for real American conservatives, to associate with what was once called THE GRAND OLD PARTY.

Labor is not going to embrace Specter easily. He has opposed labor's baby, the Employee Free Choice Act (card check), and the unions have been urging a strategy built to defeat Specter in 2010. Specter's position has been that the law would be bad for Pennsylvania. Let's see if he softens on this a bit now.

Women are also going to remind us about Specter's support for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Remember, President Obama has said that Thomas is "the one Supreme Court Justice" he would not have nominated. Progressive thinkers have found Justice Thomas to be an immense thorn in their sides.

Specter has lately acted like a spooked horse, unsure of himself and unable to move gracefully either to the right or left. He's been mighty uncomfortable within a Party represented by the likes of Sarah Palin and George W. Bush. Karl Rove is not his kind of guy and neither is Dick Chaney. Republicans from Texas make him blush with shame. He is a classic guy in the middle and it will be difficult to predict which way he'll vote on any issue that strays very far from the center.

It's been very clear to see that President Obama is intent on not letting his political party be seized by fringe movements on the left and right edges of politics. Strength is in the center as well as victory. Specter (the Lord bless him) is of the same school and is concerned about what is good for the nation and not what is good for any political element.

I think it is good to have him come in out of the cold. Warm your hands and feet, Senator, and then get back to work.

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