The Campaign Spot

Doesn’t Anybody Want to Listen to Arlen Specter?

Campaign Spot reader Paul noticed this line in the fourth paragraph of a story on ABC News:

Specter kicked off a day of appearances in and around his home city of Philadelphia at a rally at a sprawling cargo terminal along the Delaware River, which is being deepened to allow the entry of larger ships in a dredging project for which the former Republican has led the fight over much of his 30-year Senate career. It is expected to create an estimated 125,000 jobs.

“The job’s not finished, and I need another term in office to bring these 125,000 jobs to this region,” he told reporters just before speaking at a windy, riverfront rally that attracted about 100 union members.

Really? The longtime incumbent comes out to a Democratic stronghold, two days away from the primary, and only 100 union members show up? That seems like a giant red flag.

Yesterday I got to hear a bit of Specter’s debate with Democratic primary rival Joe Sestak*. Obviously, I’m not a Democrat, but if I were, I think I would prefer Sestak; he kept bringing up Specter’s ties to the Bush administration and other Republican efforts.

Specter, for his part, mentioned at least four times that he stood up to “the Tea Party Gang.” Besides making critics of the health-care plan sound like a Dick Tracy villain, no one made much out of the fact that Specter was bragging about standing up to his own constituents.

The good news for Republican Pat Toomey is that the two Democrats spent the debate trying to out-liberal each other; each one insisted that he was more opposed to extending the Bush tax cuts, more supportive of gun control, etc. That may sell in a Democratic primary, but will be a much tougher sell in a general election, particularly in a year like this.

*I originally wrote Stupak. Of course, if Specter wins Tuesday, it means this was a terrible year to be a Rust Belt House Democrat with a last name that starts with “S” and ends with “ak.”

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