The Rittenhouse Review

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

Friday, November 19, 2004  

Inquirer Slams Sen. Specter

The editors of the Philadelphia Inquirer today take Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to task for his tk in Washington this week. In "Arlen Specter: Survival at What Cost?" the editors write:

Sen. Arlen Specter -- what's left of him -- has weathered the storm of conservative protest to secure the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Anyone who has followed his career should have bet on his survival. But Specter may have paid for this coveted post with his presumed independence. [...]

Specter has pledged since then not to stand in the way of President Bush's judicial nominees. Following two days of closed-door meetings with colleagues whose support he needs, the pro-choice Specter delivered a written statement yesterday that he will not impose a pro-choice "litmus test" on candidates and will give them prompt hearings.

As a practical matter, Specter has yet to give up much. Pledging to support the President's judicial nominees is no shift from his record of the last four years. Specter has voted to approve all of Bush's judges to date, pro-choice or not. [...]

[I]n principle, his pledge to look favorably on all the President's nominees is an abandonment of his self-professed independent streak. [...]

If the upshot of the last two weeks is to guarantee confirmation of all Bush nominees, why bother to hold hearings? Just send black robes to the lucky winners via overnight mail.

It's a shame the Inquirer's editors didn't see fit to remind voters that in endorsing Sen. Specter's reelection in November these same people wrote:

The Inquirer believes Specter should get another six-year term. Preserving the legality of abortion plays no small part in this decision. Sometime in the next four years, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee will very likely find himself in the pivotal role of scrutinizing at least one new Supreme Court nominee. Assuming that Republicans are in charge of the Senate, it would be better to have the chairman's seat filled by Specter, who says Roe v. Wade is "inviolate" as the law of the land. If Specter loses, next in line among Republicans to be chairman is Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, who opposes abortion rights.

And, pinning hopes on a wing and a prayer, the editors added this about Sen. Specter:

[His] moderate streak ought to show up more often in the new year.

Happy now, NARAL, Humane PAC, and Michael J. Fox?

Like they say, be careful what you wish for.

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