Thursday, May 20, 2010

Say Goodbye To Arlen


Arlen Spector, that political chameleon and survivor, lost the election. Yup! The man who I once said was one of the "few Republicans that I actually liked" lost the election. I heard a lot of pundits saying that this was a "message to Obama from the American people" or, at least a message to incumbents from angry voters. Oh, poppycock! That's right, I said it... Poppycock! It wasn't a message to either. If anything, it was a message to Arlen and the message is, people don't like turncoats or people that seemingly go whatever way the tide is popular at the moment.

Do you want to know what hurt Arlen Specter the most? Arlen Specter. Congressman Joe Sestak's people ran ads ad nauseum with Arlen Specter saying... "If I change parties now, it will help me get elected." Arlen Specter was shown in an old ad from 2004, being praised and backed by George W. Bush. Now, in 2010, he's being backed by Barack Obama. To the man on the street, that looks like he just jumped on the band wagon of the winning team. Of course, I know that things maybe a lot more complex than that, but you know what they say... "If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, chances are it's a duck. And, in this case, a lame duck.

If you're from this area, you know that Arlen Specter is and has been, a larger than life figure in American politics for the last 50 years. There has never been anyone quite like him. Remember his "Scottish Law" standard during the Clinton impeachment trial? Specter not only devised and defended the single-bullet-theory to explain the assassination of President Kennedy, but went on to a political career that in many ways took on the same aspects of improbability as his famous assassination theory.

Think: The Jewish son of a junkyard owner from Russell, KS moves to Philadelphia and becomes the first person ever to serve five terms in the Senate from Pennsylvania and he does it as a Republican from Philadelphia, one of the most Democratic cities in the country. And, with no accomplices, Specter irritated everybody. His supposed "upset" loss on Tuesday tells us more about Arlen Specter and the last 30 years in Pennsylvania politics than it does about President Barack Obama and the next six months of this campaign season.

To the extent that there is an anti-incumbency mood, it is a reflection of what is happening inside the two political parties than in the country at large. Activists in both the Democratic and Republican Parties are disappointed at their leaders for not doing or being sufficiently aggressive on their party's traditional agenda. This is a in-house cleaning, more than anything else... mostly Democrats beating up on Democrats and Republicans beating up on Republicans.

Of course, Arlen Specter is a special case. His loss will always be tied to his controversial party switch from Republican to Democrat, just a year before the primary election. It has already been noted that the voters are in no mood for hypocrisy and opportunism in their politicians and that Specter may have become the poster child for this type of foolishness.

So, while President Barack Obama and his administration should be concerned about the mood of the the American voters and the outcome of this fall's elections, I wouldn't use Arlen Specter’s case as a measuring stick. Just for the record, I voted for Arlen... but, in this case, Arlen's worst enemy was himself.

10 comments:

Toni said...

I voted for Sestak..It was time for something ,someone new.

Angie B. said...

I voted for Sestak...I couldn't get past that- "If I switch parties,I'll be able to get re-elected." statement.

Sunflower said...

Hey Keith, I wanted to vote for Sestak...but like you I pulled the lever for Arlen..I decided to go with the devil I knew...I'm not surprised though that he lost...That soundbite killed him.

Brenda said...

You were absolutely right Keith...Arlen was his own worst enemy!

Cheryl said...

Forgive Me Keith,I didn't make it to the polls...but had I of went..I would have voted for Sestak...Arlen Spector has always seemed kind of smarmy to me.

Lisa said...

I voted for Sestak....It was time for a change.

Halo said...

Another good post Keith..You've been on a roll lately, I gotta catch up.

Vanessa said...

I missed this election...but I'm not disapointed with the results.

James Perkins said...

I gave Arlen the nod...but I kind of knew that this was his last hurrah!

Arlene said...

Hey cousin, I'm with you. I voted for Arlen too (and not just because of the closeness of our names and ages-lol). But I disagree with the conclusion that the vote was a message to our president from the people. This vote was a message to politicians: Don't count on African Americans voting on RAINY days. Arlen lost because of the weather. The turnout was so low that the winner and loser were separated by just a few percentage points. That's a slap to the face of the Philly electoral power structure, the mayor, democratic party system and organized labor. Arlen stood tall for labor in this city. Even as a republican, he always knew where his help came from - voters. Philly didn't turn out to vote. The "union" backed candidate for governor, Jack Wagner, lost. Arlen suffered and Tony Williams suffered because black folks are "scared" of rain. We are our own worst enemies!




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