Category Archives: Arlen Specter
Last nights election results were interesting but not ground-shaking. Specter got his pink slip from the Democratic voters in PA. From the Daily Beast, we get Margaret Carlson’s thoughts on why Specter lost:
In the end, Specter turned out to be a double incumbent in a year when it is better to be an incumbent of no party at all. Sestak held his fire until the end. By the weekend, Specter was begging for White House help and he got none, despite Obama being next door in Youngstown, Ohio and Biden in his backyard speaking at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. By late afternoon Tuesday, NBC reported that the White House let it be known that “Arlen came to us, we didn’t go to him.”
It was mutually assured seduction and it failed. Specter did not go quietly into that good night, conceding in the shortest of speeches with no kind words for Sestak. He could have gone out gracefully but so few do—because losing is a little like dying for some. A few years back, Specter underwent extreme rounds of chemotherapy that left him gaunt and hairless. Senator John Sununu shaved his head in solidarity. But he never missed a vote. Most of the time Specter was a reliable Bush partisan, voting for his tax cuts and his war, which Pennsylvanians remembered Tuesday night. But he also fought Bush to get stem-cell research passed. As he did, he put an hourglass on the committee dais considering the legislation to remind each of us that our days were ticking by. And so have his.
Adios Arlen, don’t let the door hit ya where the good lawd split ya dude. 🙂 Of course Sestak still has to face the Rethug Toomey which probably won’t be a walk in the park.
His statement is here. But I will also provide it below:
April 28, 2009
Statement by Senator Arlen Specter
I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.
When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.
Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.
I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.
I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.
I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.
I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.
I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.
While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.
My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.
Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.