April 29, 2004


Specter victory credited to Bush (MICHAEL P. BUFFER, April 29, 2004, The Express-Times)

When U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was giving his primary election victory speech about 1 a.m. Wednesday, several supporters of Lehigh Valley Congressman Pat Toomey watched Specter on a TV set in a lobby at the Holiday Inn in Fogelsville.

One upset Toomey supporter said something like this: President Bush dragged Specter's lousy rear-end across the finish line. His remark was a little less family friendly.

"It's not arguable that Specter owes his victory to President Bush," Franklin & Marshall College pollster G. Terry Madonna said. "His appearance with Specter (in Pittsburgh on April 19) was noticeable. We caught it in our polling. Wayward Republican voters came around to Specter. The appeal that the party needs you, the president needs you, proved to be the difference."

Once again the President put his own political capital and credibility on the line for the sake of the Party and once again he won. You'd have to assume that the next time he really needs the vote of Senator Specter or another congressman in a similar situation he'll have it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2004 3:24 PM

I'd like to think so, but I have my doubts. First, Senators just have big egos. They hate kowtowing and soon forget that they owe anyone anything. Second, why shouldn't the lesson be that Specter refused to help the party and the president in key spots, and yet the party and the president helped him? Third, Specter is never going to run for anything again, so, other than gratitude (as to which see point 1), why reasons does he have to vote against his beliefs when the President asks him.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 29, 2004 3:35 PM

Please don't forget that last-minute NRA endorsement of Specter. Guns rule in Pennsylvania. Specter has been sound on gun control as long as he has been in politics.
He was speaking at my college during one of his campaigns in the 1960's. When he fielded my question on gun control he knew he was at a college campus and not a sportsmen's club, and he still gave a strong pro-gun answer about criminals getting guns illegaly and honest citizens having a right to defend themselves. Remember, for gun people, guns trump everything.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 29, 2004 3:43 PM

Agree with David. Already there are reports that Specter is distancing himself from Bush on tax cuts, vouchers, abortion, and stem-cell research. My hope is that Bush helped Specter not cause he didn't like Toomey but that he felt he needed to support an incumbent. I disagree with Bush here in that I think Toomey would have won the general election and kept the seat in GOP hands. And as David notes Specter probably won't face the voters again and therefore will probably drift even farther to the left.

Posted by: AWW at April 29, 2004 3:45 PM

You'd assume wrong.

Specter will be the Zell Miller of the Republicans once he's re-elected.

Bush and Santorum just blew a chance at getting a team player.

Bush's coattails would have been enough to get Toomey the seat. Concerns about motivating Dems to head to the polls to vote against Toomey pale in comparison to the vitriol here in Erie against Bush economic policies.

Those people are ALREADY motivated. Why not give us PA conservatives a chance to vote for principle instead of expediency?!

Most people I spoke to (and tried to convince to vote Toomey) said they were going to do what the President wished. Be careful what you wish for!

Posted by: Jack Sheet at April 29, 2004 3:47 PM

Bush should try to have the best of both worlds -- having helped Specter get re-elected (which I doubt will result in any gratitude from Specter), he should then throw some red-meat to the conservatives by making sure that Specter does not get the Judicial Committee Chairmanship.

Posted by: jd watson at April 29, 2004 3:54 PM

This says more about Bush than anything else. If forced to choose between conservatism and the Republican party, he chooses the party.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 29, 2004 4:19 PM

Actually, strike that last comment. That's not exactly what I meant to say.

OJ's first sentence is right. His second sentence is a non sequitor.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 29, 2004 4:21 PM

I agree with everybody above.

OJ's second comment about expectations. I hope.

Pa. Republicans need to make sure that Specter is re-elected. It's no time to be thinking for themselves. Get with the program.

Posted by: h-man at April 29, 2004 5:04 PM


He's a Republican. No one ever built a better party by stabbing members in the back.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2004 5:05 PM


That's when they're speaking, but when it's time to vote even a Moynihan goes right down the party line. Specter can say whatever he thinks he needs to get elected, so long as he's the 60th vote on filibuster breaking.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2004 5:07 PM

If Republicans get a 55-45 breakdown in the Senate does anyone know what the Judiciary Committee breakdown would be.

Posted by: h-man at April 29, 2004 7:23 PM

I never understood the high esteem some on the right held for Moynihan. Sure he'd sometimes say things that made sense or went against the trends of his party, but every single time he had to vote, he always made sure his party won. Is it too much to ask the Specters and Snows and Collins and Chafees and McCains to do the same, or is that a dispensation only available to hypocrites on the Left?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 29, 2004 7:32 PM

Monyihan, Lieberman, Feinstein, and Byrd (at least) should have voted to convict Clinton. Specter should have, too. More than his vote against Bork, that vote defines him as weird (which is exactly what he accused Bork of).

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 29, 2004 7:46 PM

At this point, don't we have to thank G-d that Clinton wasn't convicted?

Posted by: David Cohen at April 29, 2004 8:03 PM


There were never 67 votes against him - but it would have been proper to get about 55.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 30, 2004 8:12 AM

Good point.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 30, 2004 9:40 AM

>If forced to choose between conservatism and the
>Republican party, he chooses the party.

Don't the Dems insist on absolute blind loyalty to The Party? (Remind you of another Party that ended its 70-year winning streak about ten years ago?)

Posted by: Ken at April 30, 2004 12:35 PM


No, hardly any of the Democrats are loyal or there'd be none, starting with Tom Daschle.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2004 3:40 PM

Capital Briefs: The Real Specter Returns

The Associated Press reported April 29 that no sooner had President Bush helped liberal Sen. Arlen Specter defeat a conservative opponent, than Specter staked out his opposition to much of what the President hopes to achieve. "Less than 12 hours after defeating conservative challenger Pat Toomey," said the AP, "Specter touted his efforts to trim tax cuts; retain overtime pay for workers; resist school vouchers; and expand embryonic stem-cell research--all in opposition to President Bush's agenda."

From Human Events Weekly Wrap-up

It sure didn't take Specter long to show his gratitude. I expect his announcement that as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee he will block the approval of any pro-life judges.

Posted by: jd watson at April 30, 2004 5:39 PM


Why? He never has before. Clarence Thomas is only a justice because Specter took down Anita Hill.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2004 5:52 PM