Senator Arlen Specter (D.PA) is the kind of politician who makes one’s flesh crawl, whatever one’s particular political philosophy. There are several reasons for this reaction. First, Specter is one of those old, decrepit, chronically sick, octogenarian politicians who cling onto office as best they can until the Grim Reaper finally drags them off the stage. Second, he is a man without any principles to guide him save the basic instinct to cling onto office, by taking any political position expedient to that goal. Third, he is a man without any loyalty to colleagues and friends, ever-ready to exploit them for political gain, to abandon them whenever the grass momentarily is greener. In short, the man is an utter cad, who quit the Republican Party on April 28, 2009 simply because he could not stomach a tough Republican primary challenge in 2010
Joe Sespak, by comparison, is something of an American hero. Graduating second in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Sestak rose to the rank of three-star admiral. He served as director for defense policy on the National Security Council during the presidency of Bill Clinton, and, after 9/11, he served as the first director of ‘Deep Blue’, the Navy’s anti-terrorism unit. Elected to the House as a Democrat in 2006 to represent Pennyslvania’s 7th district, Sestak easily retained his seat in the 2008 elections.
Since President Obama’s election to the presidency, Sestak has been one of his most loyal supporters. He supported the February 2009 economic stimulus legislation, he supported Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists. He voted for Obama’s health care reform legislation, and he strongly supports the Employee Free Choice Act. What more, one might one ask, could Obama want from this virtual policy clone?
Well, plenty actually. President Obama definitely did not want Representative Sestak to pursue a bid to join the United States Senate, since such a bid might displace the re-election expectations of his beloved Arlen Specter, the turncoat who had helped to deliver the 60th vote to the Democrats (if only for a brief moment) in the U.S. Senate.
Allegedly, in the summer of 2009, the White House attempted to interfere with the primary election – a felony if the allegation turns out to be correct – by offering Representative Sestak a high-ranking federal job, should he drop out of the race in favor of Arlen Specter. In February 2010, Sestak, then trailing Specter in the polls, disclosed this intervention to a Philadelphia-based cable host. In the event, Sestak refused the offer and wiped Specter off the political map in the May 2010 Pennsylvania primary.
Now that Sestak is the official Democratic candidate running against a strong Republican competitor, one can imagine that both the President and Joe Sestak wish that the issue would disappear. That is unlikely to happen in the partisan atmosphere of Washington, D.C. in the middle of an important mid-term election.
No doubt the White House will be able, with increasing memory loss on the part of Sestak, to avoid the felony charge. But the thought that remains in my mind is why ever a United States President would try to support a disloyal low-life like Arlen Specter against an American hero like Joe Sestak, who shares his every dream and has never displayed disloyalty to any of his colleagues.
“Curiouser and curiouser”, said Alice.