Senate 2010: Snarlin' Arlen Wants Another Six Years
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 11:52:08 AM EDT
The race for the Senate in the 112th Congress (yes, that far out) is already beginning to ramp up with an aging blue state Republican announcing that he will seek reelection in 2010 -- and that he is already raising funds for his campaign. Kimberly Hefling has the story for the AP.
Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, a moderate who has often clashed with the Bush administration and his fellow GOP lawmakers, plans to seek a sixth term in 2010.
Specter, 77, will formally begin his re-election campaign April 4 at a Philadelphia fundraiser, Scott Hoeflich, a Specter spokesman, confirmed on Monday.
Hefling wrongly buys into the Specter spin that he is "a moderate who has often clashed with the Bush administration and his fellow GOP lawmakers." For those who have been watching Specter over the past two years -- or, heck, since he became Clarence Thomas' most ardent and important supporter more than 15 years ago -- it is apparent that Specter is willing to shed his coat of moderation at any time if he believes that it is politically advantageous to him. One need look no further than the beginning of the 109th Congress when Specter caved to the demands of the Bush White House in order to secure his position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a move that has led to the confirmation of two virulently anti-choice justices to the Supreme Court and to the insertion of language into the renewal of the Patriot Act that granted the administration to replace United States Attorneys indefinitely without Senate confirmation.
Now I won't lie to you. There was a time when I liked Arlen Specter, when I fell into the same trap as Hefling. I believed that Specter actually would stand up for the values he so often spoke of. I believed that he would follow through, as Senate Judiciary Chairman, with his quasi-call not to confirm anti-choice jurists to the Supreme Court. If you want a portrait of my naivete, look no further than this post from just a year and a half ago. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's something I'll admit to. I fell for Specter's nice-sounding rhetoric more than one too many times before being greatly disappointed in his knee-jerk support for the Bush administration and its radically conservative view of government.
The good news is that Specter's reelection in 2010 is far from assured. Although Specter won reelection in 2004 fairly handily (his renomination was tough to come by, though not his reelection), Pennsylvania is a different state than it was even two or three years ago. Last fall, Democrats picked up four congressional seats in the state -- more than in ay other state -- won an extremely expensive Senate race by 18 points, and a gubernatorial race featuring a much-touted Republican candidate by an even larger margin. Simply put, Pennsylvania is a more Democratic-leaning state than it was even a few short years ago and, what's more, it seems to be trending even more so in that direction.
The Democratic bench in the Keystone state is fairly deep, and I don't know too much about the big players in the state, whether they be in statewide elected office, in the House of Representatives, members of the state legislature or something else. So I put the question to you: Who should be the Democrat to step up to the plate and offer Arlen Specter the challenge he so greatly deserves?