A Republican Specter
Republican Sen. Arlen Specter has undergone his trial by fire, having survived intense attacks from conservative republicans. Slated to become the next head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter publicly recommended to Pres. Bush (after his re-election) that he choose his judicial nominees carefully
, in light of possible filibustering on the part of democrats. Conservatives took this to mean that the pro-choice senator would vote against any judge who was pro-life; they responded by declaring him unsavory and unfit to head the committee.
The conservatives campaign against him has failed, and Specter seems
to have won. But at what cost
Specter had been meeting behind closed doors with members of the committee and with Republican leaders in an effort to allay concerns about whether he would support the president's nominees and make sure they get quick action in the Senate.
To gain the seat that he was next in line to win, Specter had to put his assurances to conservatives in writing and then read them aloud to the public.
While Specter hasn't come out against abortion, he has done something much worse in a way - he has repudiated his own principles. Specter, who is well known as a moderate republican for his pro-abortion stance, has made it clear that he is now
no threat to the theocrats. Publicly recanting
, Specter said:
I have not and would not use a litmus test to deny confirmation to pro-life nominees.
I have voted to confirm Chief Justice Rehnquist after he voted against Roe v. Wade. Similarly, I have voted to confirm pro-life nominees Justice Scalia, Justice O'Connor, Justice Kennedy. And I led the successful fight to confirm Justice Thomas, which almost cost me my Senate seat in 1992.
Specter's capitulation here is disgusting. Whether or not conservatives really
have taken control of the Republican party remains to be seen; but the fact that they have scared Specter into appeasing the anti-abortionists is dismaying and worrisome. What is clear is that Specter's "victory" is pyrrhic; far from counteracting the religious right, he will now facilitate it's growth.
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:19 AM