I am certain that in the echo chamber Arlen Specter has constructed over the last forty years or so he is a hero today. Yesterday he announced he is now in favor of the American Free Choice Act, a little piece of labor legislation that, if enacted, could precipitate the second economic Armageddon in three years. For those that have read any history, this legislation is a repeat of the Wagner Act of the 1930s. Wagner can be credited with sparking the second collapse of the labor market during that decade and adding five percent to the already high depression era unemployment rate. But none of that apparently matters to Arlen, now a Democrat again after forty years as a Republican, or Demublican, or whatever. His echo chamber is so impervious that he now apparently believes the working stiff will scatter roses before him as he strolls the halls of Washington. Forget the recent seven months when he purportedly opposed the legislation, life is all about now.
Far be it from me to try and take the shine off his apple, but it is time someone described him as he really is: the least principled senator of this era. Yes, less principled than the gaggle of politicians making a profession of cheating on spouses, funding Acorn, and dancing the pay to play mamba. Arlen, for personal gain, is in the process of trading away our future in a time when there is no balance left in our system, a time when Democrats have ruled the legislature for sixty-one of the last seventy-seven years. Even the communists fully controlled Russia for a shorter time.
Arlen turned his back on his own donors and constituents this year when he switched parties as soon as it became apparent he would lose his party’s primary. In comparison, Joe Lieberman became an independent to stand for re-election rather than a Republican to open the safety deposit box. Our least principled senator is again turning his back on us because he will be challenged in his new party’s primary, a party whose most important special interest group is made up of union bosses with fat political wallets. He therefore must support this terrible bill in order to keep campaign donations flowing. Interesting that on the day of his announcement President Obama finally came to a Specter fundraiser. Should we suppose Arlen mistook that the shiny welcoming smile the Democrats gave him as he betrayed his constituents as an actual welcome? Crocodiles have shiny teeth, too. It is sad in a way that a man with such a high sense of self worth should be reduced to indentured servitude in order to hold onto the last vestige of his power so late in life.
So poor Arlen has had to change positions again and convince himself it was on principle instead of self preservation. He now gets to join the long line of politicians offering unlimited free lunches instead of leadership through hard choices and adherence to our founding principles. Unfortunately for us, his mercenary change of position relates to one of the three most important debates of modern times in this country. Debates that will, after seventy-seven years, possibly determine whether or not we abandon our democracy and begin a final slide into socialist mediocrity and calcify permanently the hegemony of our central federal monolith. Debate about the government’s role in the environment, in your healthcare, and labor is reaching a fever pitch. The democrats would have us believe that turning over the rest of our lives to the central government is our only moral choice. This, despite the fact that spending on government has increased from nine to thirty percent since 1932. The Democrats want you to believe that for a few more dollars government can achieve what all the money so far has not.
For the last eight years, a large percentage of editorial pages and the entire left side of the political aisle portrayed the (ironically) left-spending republicans as buffoons who preferred to burn books rather than read them. The opposite is now apparently true. The left now appears bereft of anyone who has read The Federalist Papers or a second grade math book. For example, please tell me how the Baucus plan to spend $100 billion more per year on healthcare saves money.
At a time when we need thoughtful leadership, Arlen has proven that a vote for Arlen is a vote for Arlen, without regard for the consequences bequeathed to our children and grandchildren. For those of us who think that our elected representatives are serving us, Arlen is the terrifying reminder that they serve, but not the people.
© Edward Hunter and Thanks for the Laughs, 2009