Archive for the ‘Arlen Specter’ Category

The elephant in the closet

September 15, 2007

(From The Spin)

In the midst of the Larry Craig scandal, I never anticipated Arlen Specter coming out of the closet.

The Democratic Party’s closet, that is.

To recap: in June, Larry Craig, the Republican senior senator from Idaho, plays footsie in a Minnesota bathroom with the man in the adjacent stall. That man is an undercover police officer. Craig pleads guilty to disorderly conduct and vehemently denies being gay. No one believes him and his Republican colleagues call for his resignation, which he turns in September 1.

Case closed, right? Not quite. Just as it’s dying down, Arlen Specter rekindles the scandal by publicly encouraging Craig to fight the case and reconsider his resignation. To the dismay of his Republican colleagues, Craig listens and files to withdraw his guilty plea, ensuring that the controversy will remain in the headlines for months to come. Democrats and the media rejoice.

It’s a move so damaging to the Republican Party that there’s only one possible explanation:

Arlen Specter is not a Republican at all.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that Specter isn’t right. He was a prosecutor, and he knows the law as well as anyone. You can definitely claim that Craig didn’t actually do anything illegal. You can posit that Craig’s arrest was unconstitutional. You can say that Craig’s guilty plea is invalid because it was made under extreme emotional duress. All these arguments are legitimate, but they’re all tangential to the key issue.

By defending Craig, Specter has betrayed his party. And by encouraging Craig to withdraw his resignation, Specter has initiated a process that will haunt the GOP when elections come a year from now. Along with the presidential race, 34 Senate seats are up for grabs. 22 of those are currently held by Republicans.

If Larry Craig has found a friend in Arlen Specter, so too has the Democratic Party.

Just come out of the closet, Arlen. We know.

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