Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010

     Arlen Specter is a Democratic senator from Pennsylvania who used to be a Republican.   He's 80 years old and, after 30 years in the Senate, he's running for a sixth term.  (I'm 79 and cannot imagine running for anything - the Senate or a bus.)  "A grizzled survivor," Politico magazine called him, "of bare-knuckled Pennsylvania politics, two bouts with cancer and five terms in the Senate."  His string may have run out.
     Speaking at a recent Democratic event, Specter twice thanked the "Allegheny County Republicans" for their endorsement.  "I think it's not unusual for anybody to misspeak from time to time," he said afterward.  When you're eighty, it's the kind of thing folks notice.  And it doesn't help that some Pennsylvania Dems think he switched parties a year ago for tactical reasons--to get reelected, not out of conviction.
     His opponent is two-term Philadelphia Congressman Joe Sestak, a fifty-something retired admiral. He talks about Specter's party switch a lot, predicting that Specter, the new Democrat, would support Barack Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court even though Specter, the old Republican, opposed her appointment as Solicitor General.
     It also doesn't help that Specter is not stylish nor glamorous nor lovable.
    And President Obama is apparently not going to visit the state to campaign for him.  Well, he didn't do much for Jon Corzine, who used to be governor of New Jersey, or Martha Coakley, who hoped to be a senator from Massachusetts, so maybe that doesn't matter.
     You'd have to say, though, it isn't easy being Arlen.  

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