The Corner

Et Tu, Arlen

This week’s issue of The New Yorker (April 12th) contains a lengthy

article on the Pennsylvania Senate race, “Fight on the Right” (not

available online), complete with a most remarkable admission from incumbent

Arlen Specter:

“When I came to the Senate, we had a lot of members of the Wednesday Club”

–a weekly gathering of Republican moderates. “You had Lowell Weicker, you

had Bob Stafford, you had Bob Packwood, you had Mark Hatfield, you had

Lincoln Chafee, you had John Danforth, you had Jim Jeffords, you had John

Heinz. Now there are only a few of us (emphasis added).

Jim Jeffords switched from Republican to Democrat in return for a committee

chairmanship and gave Senate control to Tom Daschle (D-SD) in the

bargain. Now Arlen Specter believes he and Jeffords are two of a vanishing

breed. This is not “moderate Republicanism,” but rather self-serving

opportunism — something noted of Specter by the 1990 Almanac of

American Politics:

Specter is respected by other Senators . . . but not well-liked; he is seen

as calculating and self-serving. “They can’t say I’m dumb or crooked,” he

once said, “so what do they say? That I’m calculating or ambitious? I’ve

always thought those were good qualities, to think about what you want to

do and to seek achievement.”

Specter also boasted to The New Yorker that “[w]hen Joe Biden needs

a cosponsor, he comes to Arlen Specter. That kind of balance is really

important for the country.” Arlen Specter, selfless patriot, advancing the

Democrat’s agenda of the moment.

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