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AP Says Specter Died ‘Fighting For Moderation’

From the Associated Press:

Centrist Sen. Specter died fighting for moderation

By MARC LEVY | Mon October 15, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Arlen Specter, a pugnacious and prominent former moderate in the U.S. Senate who developed the single-bullet theory in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and played starring roles in Supreme Court confirmation hearings, lost a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma at a time when Congress is more politically polarized than anyone serving there – or living in America – can remember.

The headline of this AP article almost makes it sound like the conservative Republicans killed Arlen Specter. But the AP is using Specter’s death as a way to decry the lack of moderation in today’s politics.

And never mind that Specter rejoined the Democrat Party when it was as far to the left and as intolerant as any political party has ever been in history. (Cf. the fate of Joe Lieberman.)

Specter, 82, died Sunday, after spending much of his career in the U.S. Senate warning of the dangers of political intolerance.

For most of his 30 years as Pennsylvania’s longest-serving U.S. senator, Specter was a Republican, though often at odds with the GOP leadership. His breaks with his party were hardly a surprise: He had begun his political career as a Democrat and ended it as one, too.

And never mind that Specter moved back to the Democrat Party, when it was as far to the left and as intolerant as any political party has ever been in history.

In between, he was at the heart of several major American political events. He drew the lasting ire of conservatives by helping end the Supreme Court hopes of former federal appeals Judge Robert H. Bork and the anger of women over his aggressive questioning of Anita Hill, a law professor who had accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

As if these two actions were morally equivalent.

He even mounted a short-lived run for president in 1995 on a platform that warned his fellow Republicans of the "intolerant right."

How come we never hear any warnings about the dangers of being too tolerant?

Specter never had his name on a piece of landmark legislation. But he involved himself deeply in the affairs that mattered most to him, whether trying to advance Middle East peace talks or federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. He provided key votes for President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishments, the health care and economic stimulus bills

Proving once and for all that he was never really a Republican.

Intellectual and stubborn, "snarlin’ Arlen" took the lead on a wide spectrum of issues and was no stranger to controversy.

He rose to prominence in the 1960s as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia prosecuting Teamsters officials for conspiracy to misuse union dues and as counsel to the Warren Commission, where he developed the "single-bullet fact" in Kennedy’s assassination, as he called it.

He came to the Senate in the Reagan landslide of 1980 and, as one of the Senate’s sharpest legal minds, took part in 14 Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Mr. Specter was so ‘sharp’ he even knew the importance of Scottish Law.

Specter lost his job amid the very polarization that he had repeatedly attacked: He crossed political party lines to make the toughest vote he had ever cast in his career when, in 2009, he became one of three Republicans to vote for President Obama’s economic stimulus bill

Mr. Specter lost his jobs because he constituents finally realized that he was not representing them. Which is supposed to be his job.

Specter… believed in the political middle, and often lamented the disappearance of moderates who had the courage to buck party leadership…

Which is preposterous since for most of Specter’s career the Republican leadership was as moderate as could be. It was the courageous conservatives who bucked it.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, October 15th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “AP Says Specter Died ‘Fighting For Moderation’”

  1. I’d like to quote one of Specter’s recent exchanges with a conservative citizen who just wanted a straight answer to a simplle question…. Ah-hem, “Now wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE!” Makes you appreciate the complexity of thought demonstrated by the common parsnip.

  2. GetBackJack

    Was it a Magic Condition which got him in the end?

  3. canary

    He only changed party’s to better his chance at winning.

  4. Mithrandir

    So, he left the democrat party sniffing opportunity.

    Then left the Republican party sniffing another opportunity.

    Finally, the democrats threw him out of office for good.

    And after all this, the Republicans still look like they did all the damage to him, when all they did was tolerate him for 30 years.
    A) he did the damage to himself and
    B) the democrats finally stuck a wooden stake in him

    Those dang Republicans! (shaking fist in the air!)


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