Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dead man walking: Stick a fork in Specter

He's got no one to blame but himself for how badly his approval numbers are tanking in Pennsylvania. He bucked his party, and voted for the Pork-A-Palooza. He's the idiot who lashed out at Laura Ingraham over the fact he was literally lobbied by President Barry. He's the one who jumped on the doom and gloom bandwagon claiming the nation doesn't know just how bad the economy is. It's even been speculated that he might jump parties to save his political hide. But the latter point might not even help him in 2010. Captain Ed takes note of a piece written by Dave Weigel where Mr. Weigel observes that Specter might be done like dinner:

Five years ago, after Pat Toomey conceded a photo-finish Republican primary to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), his eastern Pennsylvania grassroots organizer Ted Meehan took him aside.

“Specter won with 51 percent of the vote,” said Meehan in a Monday interview. “I told Pat, if he’d had all of Specter’s advantages — had he raised 10 times as much money, and gotten endorsed by [former Sen. Rick] Santorum and President Bush — I don’t think Specter would have gotten even 25 percent of the vote.”

Five years later, Meehan was one of the people Toomey called to inform them that he would probably enter the 2010 race for Senate and face off, once again, against Arlen Specter. The former congressman and current president and CEO of the Club for Growth had repeatedly, and recently, denied interest in a rematch. But activists in Pennsylvania and across the broader conservative movement are now urging Toomey to get into a race where, for a number of reasons, he might be the frontrunner.

The looming Toomey candidacy is a product of multiple, interlocking factors that have altered the Republican Party inside and outside of the candidate’s home state. Specter’s brand of liberal, pro-labor, pro-choice Republicanism has become less and less tenable in the Republican Party; indeed, many conservatives blame the party’s Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) for hurting their brand and paving the way for Barack Obama’s victory. This has happened in part because of the fundraising and organizational strength of conservative political groups like Toomey’s own Club for Growth, which has defeated two moderate Republican congressmen in primaries since Toomey took charge in 2005. And in Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 of the moderate, pro-choice Republicans who made up Specter’s victory margin in 2004 have responded to this by switching parties.

“These moderate Republicans are gone,” said Jim Lee, the president of Susquehanna Polling and Research, in a Monday interview. “They’re just gone. That’s made matters very difficult for Arlen Specter.”

Lee’s polling firm, based in Harrisburg, Penn., has been the source of some of the worst news for Specter — some of the news that has Toomey’s supporters brimming with confidence. Its latest survey, conducted from February 23 to 29, found what Lee called “topsy turvy” numbers for Specter. While 38 percent of all voters said they’d vote to re-elect the senator, only 26 percent of Republicans agreed. Most Democrats and most voters in Philadelphia supported Specter, but in traditional Republican strongholds his support had cratered — 35 percent in rural southwest Pennsylvania, and less than 30 percent in central Pennsylvania. Majorities of self-identified liberals and moderates supported Specter. Only 26 percent of conservatives would say the same.

“There’s been a substantial drop-off in support for Specter,” said Glen Beiler, Jr., a Republican committeeman in Lancaster County, on Monday. Beiler recalled the February meeting of state party members, where “nobody talked about Specter,” and where the senator did not attend or send a surrogate. “People are feeling betrayed. Here’s somebody they’d been supporting for years, and he’s turned his back on them.” ...

The 2004 race also galvanized Pennsylvania’s conservatives who, in their telling, had bristled under decades of waning leadership by moderate Republicans like former Gov. Tom Ridge (R-Penn.). One of those conservatives was Chris Lilik, then a 25-year old law school student, to launch Toomey Blog, a churning site with traffic numbers that occasionally surpassed the campaign’s official website . When the campaign ended Lilik launched, with a group of fellow Toomey veterans, the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania. In the 2006 primaries for state legislative offices, YCOP and former Toomey activists played a role in ousting the Republican president and majority leader of Pennsylvania’s state Senate-both men had voted for a pay raise, and both were moderate. Both were beaten by under-funded challengers who got backing from the Pennsylvania Club for Growth-and from Pat Toomey.

“I don’t think that those races would have gone our way if not for Pat Toomey,” said Lilik in a Monday interview. “Toomey revitalized the conservative movement in this state. We built up networks that had never existed.” ...

Pennsylvania conservatives are increasingly confident of their chances in a one-on-one race against Specter. The new worry whether the senator might short-circuit a primary by switching parties. Last month, at an event promoting the economic stimulus package, Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. Ed Rendell (D) ribbed Specter about his party problems and told him to switch his registration. The joke was obvious, but it hasn’t stopped Republicans from gaming out a Specter party switch scenario or looking for clues that he might join the Democrats. On Monday, Lilik noted matter-of-factly, Specter was making a joint appearance with Rendell. “To get an 81-year-old incumbent with numerous health problems to switch parties,” said Ted Meehan, “you’d need to offer him a real sweetheart deal.”

“He’d definitely have a better time next year by switching parties,” said Jim Lee, “but I don’t think that will happen.” But conservative activists outside Pennsylvania, fed up with Specter’s enabling of Barack Obama, are ready to cut him loose. “I think Specter, [Sen. Olympia] Snowe (R-Maine), and [Sen. Susan] Collins (R-Maine) make it very difficult to rebrand the party for fiscal discipline as well as smaller government,” said Ed Morrissey, the Minnesota-based blogger for HotAir.com. ...

Pennsylvania conservatives are aware that the task of ousting Specter has become easier because the party has shed so many registered voters in the eastern part of the state. As of March 2009, that doesn’t bode well for their chances in the general election if they nominate Toomey. But local Republicans suggested that it was impossible to predict what would happen by November 2010, and that this could be a banner year for conservatives. “It is difficult for conservatives to win here,” said Bailey, “and yet Rick Santorum did it twice.”

Toomey, who still lives in Allentown, Penn. and commutes to Washington, was not commenting on the race on Monday. Club for Growth spokeswoman Nachama Solovcheik would only say that the group had been inundated with calls about a Toomey-Specter rematch.

“You can see it in the polls,” she said. “There’s definitely a lot of buyer’s remorse.”

Buyer's remorse? That's an understatement. Specter has ticked off conservatives in the Republican party for years. When the GOP had control of the Congress, Specter was constantly hounded, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for not pushing President Bush's nominated judges through the committee quick enough. Bear in mind that Specter was part of the Gang of 14 deal, as well, which REALLY pi$$ed us off because it threw seven perfectly competent judges overboard because the Democrats didn't want to abide by Senate rules. And when we had the chance to crush their unconstitutional filibuster over these nominees, Specter linked arms with McCain, Snowe, Collins, and the now unemployed Lincoln Chafee to screw the party.

Specter's time has come. His days are over. It's time he joins the moderates on the unemployment line. The party's base wants conservatives abiding by conservative ideals, and governing in the way that spurned the Republican revitalization in the 1980s. And from a personal point-of-view, I'm pretty sick of these doddering old fools that have made a career in the Congress. That wasn't what the Founding Fathers believed. They wanted people to be elected to Congress to serve a term or two, then go home and be elder statesmen. Spending a career in the Congress isn't an accomplishment. It's an entitlement in the eyes of do-nothing congressmen like Specter.

The assessment about him switching parties is an interesting take, but for those who might be worried that he could get President Barry to come to Pennsylvania and campaign for him the way Bush did and win, don't worry. It won't happen because Barry could care less about Specter. And in 2010 when the economy doesn't turn around, Toomey is going to make Specter own the fact he was the 60th and deciding vote on the Pork-A-Palooza. If not for him, the bill would have floundered, the Democrats might have been forced to actually include Republicans in on the negotiations, and we might have actually gotten a bill that did stimulate the economy. Specter didn't want to do that. He wanted to make nice with the Democrats so they wouldn't say mean, nasty things about him.

When you capitulate for adulations, then you really do lack the courage of your convictions.

Publius II


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home