The Corner

Squashing Specter

Let’s put aside Sen. Arlen Specter’s cynicism for a moment and consider his policies back home. If he were to lose today, nowhere would the cheers be louder than the State Department.

Specter loved to travel and, like many Senators, he liked to treat U.S. diplomats as his valets. But he went further than most senators: At almost every location he traveled, he demanded that the U.S. embassy arrange squash games for him. In Rome or Paris, this might have been easy, but at more far-flung posts, diplomats would have to cease giving their attention to commercial, military, or political work in their host nations in order to make arrangements. Specter’s staff would also make it clear that their boss expected to win.

In my book, whether as a Republican or a Democrat, Specter has been #1 in abuse of power and, for that reason alone, he deserves some humbling.

(As for #2, on behalf of all those who were in the customs line in Dulles just after Snowpocalypse this past February, only to have Sen. John Kerry cut to the front . . .)

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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