Arlen Specter: rePUBLICan Enemy Number One

Tar and Feathers Time
by A.W.R. Hawkins
Posted 02/10/2009

Arlen Specter is an embarrassment to the Republican Party.  He’s a liberal masquerading as a Republican who should be invited to cross the aisle and become formally what he’s been informally for decades:  a Democrat.

While Specter claims to be a Republican, he has only voted with the Republican Party about 44% of the time since the early 1990s. Just imagine if a college basketball player or even a high school quarterback did that: if they passed the ball to members of their team 44% of the time, and 56% to the other team. How long would it be before they were booted out of the arena?

The accumulated damage is too great to measure. But it’s clearly time to boo Specter right out of office. First, after pretending to a principled stand against then-attorney general designee Eric Holder (he of the Marc Rich and FALN pardons, of opposition to Second Amendment rights) Specter reversed himself and supported the nomination of the man who is now our attorney general.

And then, for an encore, Specter is one of the three RINOs who have made a deal with the Democrats to support the Obama-Pelosi phony economic stimulus package.

Consider the setting: the Democrats have both the House and the Senate, so the Republicans can do little more than position themselves to retake seats in one of the two (or both) come 2010. Thus when Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid began trying to ram their socialization-stimulus plan down the throats of Republican legislators, it was time for a goal line stand.

For Republicans, it had been so long since we’d seen our team fight to win that we were blown away when House Republicans stood their ground and stalled the Democrat offensive by unanimously rejecting the socialization-stimulus bill.  As the crowd (that’s you and me) got into the game, public opinion began turning against the socialization-stimulus plan and Republicans began to actually move the ball down the field.

Fans in the arena began to wonder aloud: “What if the Republicans in the Senate stick it to ‘em the way the Republicans in the House did?” Everyone was watching the clock because they knew time was winding down, and the Republicans would have but one shot to win this game.

And, of course, that chance was thrown away. In spite of all the crowd participation (Republicans called their Senators until phone lines were overloaded), quality coaching (from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin), and a conservative playbook that never fails when applied, Specter handed the ball to the other team in the name of bipartisanship.

Note to Sen. Specter: WE DON’T WANT BIPARTISANSHIP – WE WANT VICTORY. But as it now stands, Specter’s bipartisanship is “a victory for the new president,” according to the Associated Press.

What’s so infuriating about this loss is that this isn’t the first time Specter has run the ball the wrong way. As a matter of fact, he’s been the best player the other team has fielded time and again.

In 1987, he opposed President Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork for the Supreme Court. And in 1991 he voted with Republicans in congress only 40% of the time according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Then, in 1996, when Specter was actually trying to secure the Republican nomination for the presidency, he tackled pro-lifers as if they were the opposing team: “When Ralph Reed [the executive director of the Christian Coalition said] a pro-choice Republican isn’t qualified to be our president, I say the Republican Party will not be blackmailed. I and millions of other pro-choice Republicans will not be disenfranchised.”

And although the NRA has consistently ranked Specter high on pro-gun issues, Gun Owners of America argues that that’s because Specter conveniently disappears when a vote arises that could endanger his pro-gun rating: “(Specter) is the reason why the semi-automatic gun ban got out of committee and became law. He left the room so he would not be present to vote.”

Sounds a lot like another prominent politician who had a habit of voting “present” before his ascension to the White House doesn’t it?

National Review Online reported that during George W. Bush’s first term, “Specter was one of only three Republicans who tried to eviscerate the Bush tax cut; he was the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Washington, D.C. school-voucher bill; and he was ranked by the Citizens Against Government Waste as the ‘Pork Spender of the Year’” during one of Bush’s first four years.

Why do we keep re-electing this guy to our team every six years folks? He’s much worse than someone who’s not a team player: he’s always fumbling intentionally to the other team and giving them wins they wouldn’t otherwise get.

In 2004, three-term conservative congressman Pat Toomey challenged Specter’s Senate seat. And guess what? The Republican machine, including then-Senator Rick Santorum, supported Specter over Toomey. This was simply nuts: Toomey would have thrown the ball to his teammates instead of to Democrats and would have supported the conservative movement that Specter mocks.

On Friday, January 6, 2009, Hannity said he feared that Specter would sell us out on the stimulus package and added “that any Republican [Senator] who supported the package needs to be thrown out of office.” Just hours after Hannity made this observation Specter sided with the Democrats and it’s now incumbent upon us to follow through and throw him out of office in 2010.

Whether it’s Toomey that re-emerges to run for Specter’s seat or some other conservative who wants to be on our team instead of against us, we have to commit our monies and our energies to defeating Specter once and for all.

It’s the least we can do against this awful liberal who’s spent decades going out of his way to throw the big games before we can win them.

HUMAN EVENTS columnist A.W.R. Hawkins has been published on topics including the U.S. Navy, Civil War battles, Vietnam War ideology, the Reagan Presidency, and the Rebirth of Conservatism, 1968-1988. More of his articles can be found at

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