Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The evil Arlen Specter won his Republican primary in Pennsylvania (against an actual conservative) by a margin of something like 17,000 votes out of more than 1 million. It was the toughest challenged he's faced.

One can't help thinking that Specter would not have retained his 2 percent lead if President Bush (whom Specter has opposed on almost everything important) had not actively campaigned for him in Pennsylvania.

Timothy P. Carney in today's NRO makes it clear:
Canvassing voters on Tuesday leaving polling places in Lower Paxton Township and Newberry Township, almost all of the Specter voters cited Santorum's and Bush's endorsements as the reason for their votes.

One dentist in Lower Paxton calls himself a conservative and a pro-lifer, but Bush's relentless campaigning made the dentist think Bush needed Specter if he was going to win the November election. This reasoning is faulty, but local media parroted it, and it pervaded the state enough to push Specter over the top.

Conservatives such as Schantz believe Bush and Santorum backed Specter reluctantly. But this ignores the facts. Bush visited Pennsylvania with Specter many times, endorsing Specter not only for reelection, but also for Judiciary chairman. Bush came to Pittsburgh again eight days ago for a fundraiser and said, "I'm here to say it as plainly as I can: Arlen Specter is the right man for the Senate."

There can be no doubt about it: Bush and Santorum won this election for Arlen Specter, and that is exactly what they meant to do.
If I were a Republican living in Pennsylvania, I would honestly vote for Specter's Democrat opponent in the general election in November. It would be infinitely better to have the Republicans lose their Senate majority (with which they've done precisely nothing anyway) than to have Specter chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee. We're talking about the man who led the "borking" of Robert Bork leading the committee that is already obstructing all of the excellent judicial nominees it faces.

A president who won by the narrowest margin in history is evidently intent on alienating the base that elected him in favor of "moderate Democrats" who will never, under any circumstances, cast a vote for him. That third party is beginning to look more and more attractive all the time. Never has a party squandered more capital on nothing than the Republican Party has done with its control of the presidency, House, and Senate.

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