The Corner

Cry Me a Specter

Remember Senator Arlen Specter, the long-time Republican and somewhat shorter-time Democrat? He has a new book out complaining that, after he stiffed his Republican colleagues, his new Democrat colleagues stiffed him:

Former Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) writes in a new book that President Obama ditched him in the 2010 election after he helped Obama win the biggest legislative victory of his term by passing healthcare reform.

Specter also claims that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not uphold his promise to grant him seniority accrued over 28 years of service in the Senate as a Republican…

Specter writes that Obama turned down a request to campaign with him in the final days of the primary, because the president’s advisers feared he would look weak if he intervened and Specter lost…

Specter was also disappointed that Biden, who was only a few blocks away at Penn University, did not attend a pre-primary day rally at the Phillies’s Citizens Bank Park — a missed opportunity Specter attributes to a failed staff-to-staff request.

“A failed staff-to-staff request”? Specter could have called Biden directly on a non-staff-to-non-staff telephone, but that would have been totally improper considering Specter’s former seniority to Biden on the powerful senate Telephone, Telegram and Facsimile Machine Inter-Senatorial Communications Etiquette Committee. It gets worse:

Specter believes Reid acted with “duplicity” while managing the party switch. Specter said Reid promised him that he would be recognized on the seniority list as a Democrat elected in 1980, but failed to deliver on it…  

Instead, Reid stripped Specter of all his seniority by passing a short resolution by unanimous consent in a nearly-empty chamber, burying him at the bottom of the Democrats’ seniority list.

Specter found out about it after his press secretary emailed him a press account of the switch. Specter was floored that Reid had “violated a fundamental Senate practice to give personal notice to a senator directly affected by the substance of a unanimous consent agreement.”

Outrageous! Specter had his press secretary take it up with the powerful Senate subcommittee on subcommittees chaired by Harry Reid’s press secretary’s communications adviser’s media strategist’s marketing consultant’s publicity relations director’s intern. But the humiliations continued:

He says Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), now the chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee, declined a request to let Specter take over as chairman at least until the election.

Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) refused to let him move past them in seniority on the Judiciary Committee.

Reid also reneged on a commitment to re-name the influential Energy, Education, Indian Casino Gambling and Northern Mariana Islands Committee the His Excellency Senator Arlen Z. Specter Energy, Education, Indian Casino Gambling and Northern Mariana Islands Committee.

If you buy only one book this year about a man passed over for the chairmanship of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee, make it this one. Unless Tom Harkin has one in the works.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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