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June 4, 2013 | 55 comments
Ties prove fatal for one-time Republican once assured of an easy GOP renomination.
(Page 3 of 4)
Standing in front of microphones in the Senate press gallery in Washington, the man who had won his first Senate election as a Republican on Reagan’s coattails in 1980 said this of his support for the Obama stimulus:
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.
And with that, whether Specter understood it or not when he chose to cast his vote as he did, Barack Obama had taken his first political casualty as president.
Only months earlier Arlen Specter was poised for an easy re-nomination to a sixth term as a Republican. There was no one of any real stature on the horizon on the Democrats’ side seen as capable of beating him — Pennsylvania Democrat Congressman Joe Sestak included.
But going out on a limb for Obama was a limb too far.
By August, Specter was making his usual round of town hall meetings across the state. These events had historically been quiet affairs over the years, a scramble by Specter aides to fill rooms on hot summer days and nights when most Pennsylvanians are on vacation or working or would rather watch the Phillies or the Pirates with a cold beer.
Now, all hell had broken loose.
The meeting in Philadelphia, with Obama Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at his side, had erupted on television screens across the nation. This was Philadelphia — Arlen Specter’s home turf, his base, a town filled with Democrats — and the cameras showed angry Philadelphians yelling and shaking indignant fists. They were furious — this time not just over his stimulus vote but his support of ObamaCare.
Not long afterwards, on August 11, the Senator came to bucolic, nearby Lebanon, the epitome of small town Pennsylvania. I drove over to see the spectacle. And it was that — a spectacle. There was no way to get inside his town meeting — the line stretched literally around the block. An astonished local cop told me there were at least 1,000 — that’s one thousand people in the streets of this small town. I had no doubt.
A flashy red convertible that reminded of Stephen King’s Christine, the novel about a car possessed by the forces of the supernatural, slowly made its way through the main blocks. Taped to its sides were huge sides that read “Dump Arlen” or some such. The driver was greeted as a conquering hero to thunderous applause. All morning he circled, getting huge applause upon every re-appearance.
Homemade signs bobbed everywhere, including one directed at Speaker Nancy Pelosi that read:
I am not a Nazi
I am not a Mob
I am not a Wacko
How dare you…
I walked the streets, tape recorder and video camera in hand. The accusation was flying, beginning with Pelosi, that the presence of crowds like this one was nothing more than “astro turf” or rented crowds. So I asked. Were you told to come here? No, came the answer, repeatedly and emphatically. No, no and no again. The very question they found insulting, with one sign making the point clear: “If it’s Astroturf why are you trying to mow it?”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?