The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, June 30, 2003  

Sen. Specter’s Contribution to the Era

The National Constitution Center opens in Philadelphia on July 4. Situated just south of Independence Hall, the Center took 17 years and $138 million to complete. Several days of special events are scheduled to coincide with the opening, including visits from President George W. Bush and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who, get this, will receive the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, which comes with a $100,000 honorarium.

To mark the occasion, the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday published a 14-page supplement, “Building on the Words.” Included in that section was a feature bearing the title, “What would we change about the Constitution?” The question was posed to several local notables, including Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Here’s the core of Sen. Specter’s response:

States, cities[,] and municipalities are required to balance their budgets, and the same should apply to the federal government.

A balanced-budget amendment would compel Congress to make hard choices on spending and tax cuts so that, as a nation, we would live within our means, just as each of us must do.

Who is he kidding? This from the man who has supported virtually every one of the Bush administration’s budget-busting tax cuts? I thought the much-vaunted balanced-budget amendment was an idea that had long since been relegated to the back shelves of the bowels -- and I mean that -- of Congress. Ah, but Sen. Specter is facing a primary challenge from the right, so I suppose it’s time to dust it off again.

No, Sen. Specter’s not kidding. He’s just unserious.

[Post-publication update: I’ve been told President Bush will not be in Philadelphia on Friday. I’m so disappointed.]

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