Monday, November 08, 2004

Arlen Specter and the Senate Judiciary

Regarding the current campaign to block Arlen Specter from becoming Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hugh Hewitt is right, and the guys at the Corner are wrong. I’m no Arlen Specter fan, but the campaign to deprive Specter his chairmanship should be called off. I think Hugh offers the best reasons for this, but I’d like to add a few of my own.

Senator Specter is not a beloved figure in the Republican Party. But he is one of the most powerful Senators in Congress, and he didn’t get that way by not understanding how the game of politics is played. Specter is not going to stand against Bush’s judicial nominees on unflinching principal. He is going to jockey for position and toss his weight around to see what his support is worth. That’s politics. The flip side of that is that he will make one scary opponent should the GOP turn against him in this matter. A spurned Senator Specter would perhaps pose a greater threat to Bush’s nominees than anything else.

In 2000 my number one reason for supporting President Bush was for the sake of Supreme Court nominations. In 2004 the War on Terror became my number one reason, but the Supreme Court remains a close second. I trust the president’s judgment as evidenced by his effort to re-elect Senator Specter that he will be able to work with him to get his nominees confirmed.

And there is another angle on the matter that I wish more Republicans would consider. The support of the party is not confined exclusively to pro-life voters. In 2004, without the support of many pro-choice voters, we’d be talking about President-elect Kerry today. Those voters were able to look at the Republican Party and see – in prominent cases like Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzeneger - that there was no pro-life litmus test in the Republican Party. Bonking Specter over this matter will call that into question no matter how good the reasons truly are.

Speaking as a strongly pro-life Republican, I know very well that this is not an easy thing to swallow. Politics is messy business. Please try to remember that we do not have a conservative majority in Congress. We have a Republican majority. If we insist on acting like we have the former, we will endanger the latter.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Specter shouldn't have tried to publicly neuter the President on this. He should be taught a lesson. Bush won a clear mandate and it sounds like he is willing to use his bully pulpit. Political foes have underestimated GWB his whole career and they have all paid a dear price for it. Specter should be no different.

Army of Dad

4:02 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

No argument that he needs to be taught a lesson, AOD. Just what form the lesson should take, and who ought to deliver it. I think the president will take Specter aside behind closed doors and let him know where things stand. Specter has actually been very well behaved toward all of Bush's nominees so far. I think Bush knows how to use this guy and still get things done.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still think he shouldn't be given the committee chair even though he was crawfishing on the Hannity radio program yesterday. Maybe the public drubbing he has already taken will be considered to be enough by Bush while he holds the sword above his head for the next two years?

Army of Dad

11:44 AM  

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