Posts Tagged ‘Toomey’
Prediction: Romney will win Arizona by double digits and also win Michigan next Tuesday. That will give him momentum going into Super Tuesday in which he will win more delegates than Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich and continue to lead the delegate count on his way to the Republican nomination.
Here is my problem with Rick Santorum, and it’s personal. I took vacation time in 2004 to work on Pat Toomey’s Senate campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter. Rick Santorum, to the surprise of many conservatives, endorsed and cut ads for Specter, as did President George W. Bush. The argument at the time from the White House was that if Specter was the Republican nominee, Bush would be able to win Pennsylvania. The counter argument was that if Specter was the nominee, the base Republican voters in Pennsylvania would be unmotivated to turnout and vote.
As a result of Santorum endorsing Specter, Specter won the primary in 2004 by one vote per precinct over Toomey and then Bush went on to lose Pennsylvania to Kerry in the General Election.
I can’t forget Santorum supporting Specter, who not only voted counter to Bush in the following years, but eventually switched to Democrat and was the deciding vote on Obama’s health care bill.
The spectacle of Arlen Specter (R D – PA) switching from Republican to Democrat to save his political hide is an example of politicians gone wild.
The boys at Liberty’s Apothecary have a great treatment of this whole episode – complete with quotes from Specter a few weeks ago promising that he was not going to leave the Republican Party.
Specter has been a black mark on the GOP for years. He only acts and sounds like a Republican in election years, and has ended up creating more problems for Republicans that he is worth. It is no secret that I have never been fond of Specter, and this turn of events has me feeling vindicated. With friends like these…
Here is a look inside the mind of Specter as he wrote his statement:
I have been a Republican since 1966. (Well, I’ve been a Republican in name, at least) I have been working extremely hard for the Party, (trying to make it more liberal, and less like Reagan and Goldwater) for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. (Unless those points of view include lower taxes, more individual responsibility and freedom in general) While I have been comfortable being a Republican, (because I’m comfortable being a fraud) my Party has not defined who I am. (Because I’m not really a Republican and never have been) I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation. (At least in the cases when it was also best for me)
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. (Because fighting for freedom is a really wing-nut thing to do) Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans. (Especially since Democrats are in control of the Senate and I really miss being a Chairman)
When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing. (I mean, who really believes all this “free market” crap anyway?)
Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. (Because polling is the most important guidepost to what I do) It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. (For some reason, people think that more government is part of the problem – they’re so small-minded) On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. (I’m such an experienced politician, that I shouldn’t have to follow the rules, laws and I can’t tolerate been held responsible for my actions by people so out of touch with reality that they actually VOTE in a Republican primary) I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania. (At least the liberal elite people of Pennsylvania)
I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary. (The polling shows that I’d get killed by Pat Toomey in a Republican primary, so I’m freeing myself of the party of freedom so I can say what I really believe and Democrat voters will like me for it)
I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election. (I have to sound tough, but I really, really hope Toomey doesn’t run against me)
I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. (I’m sorry they are so close-minded that they don’t understand that I’m too important to have to actually defend the votes I’ve cast. Don’t they know who I am?) I can understand their disappointment. (I don’t really understand it, because my training includes Scottish Law) I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. (Those ingrates should love me! The lobbyists in D.C. love me, why don’t Pennsylvania Republicans love me?) It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance. (I need to mention a couple Republican leaders to make this whole joke of a statement sound more serious and sincere. The truth is, those guys are suckers. They totally bought my statement last month when I said I wouldn’t leave the GOP. Ha!)
I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. (I’m sure there are lots of important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate, but no one would hire me to work on any of them) I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy. (I’ve got so much seniority in the Senate I can earmark better than Jack Murtha, and do it so it doesn’t look like corruption)
I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. (I’m not ready to actually campaign and explain myself to voters) Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle. (I may wait until 2011 to return those contributions, but it sounds good to offer to return them)
While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. (I don’t want to actually work to do anything that is in line with the Republican platform!) The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. (If I say that enough times, they’ll eventually buy it. Why do we even have two parties anyway? This whole issue of having to stand for election every six years is so 18th Century. Don’t they know that I have been anointed?) And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.
My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. (Unless they promise me lots of good stuff) For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change. (Trust me)
Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America. (As long as it is best for me)
Arlen Specter should announce retirement. He has done more damage to this country than we deserve, and he needs to go.
And he also is willing to say anything to cover his tracks. As one of the three Republicans who voted both for cloture and then for final passage of the “de-stimulus” bill, he claims that he will take a look at the bill, “find problems… and cure them.” Uh, Mr. Specter, the whole bill is one giant problem, and the cure is to vote NO.
What Specter was talking about specifically was an issue I blogged on yesterday – about a “National Coordinator of Health Information.” He forcefully said, “We are not going to let the federal government monitor what doctors do.” I feel so much better already. Specter says so, so it must be the case, right?
Think again. This is a guy that played kissy-face with President Bush in his 2004 primary race against conservative stalwart Pat Toomey. Bush’s folks were warned that they better be prepared to be thrown under the bus if Specter won that primary. Sure enough, the DAY AFTER the primary election, Specter was proudly talking about how he differed from Bush on stem cells, judicial nominees and the Patriot Act.
If you are interested in some of the history on the 2004 primary, this is an article in the New York Times right before the primary election. Tim Carney, from Evans and Novak, wrote a blisteringly honest piece for National Review the day after the 2004 General election. You can’t read this stuff without your blood pressure rising.
Sens. Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow have cut a deal with Democrats to pass a “stimulus” bill in the Senate.
As you may know, in 2004, I spent the last two months of the campaign in Oklahoma running the grassroots, Victory and GOTV effort to elect Tom Coburn to the Senate. We only had four kids at the time, so it wasn’t as much as a burden on my wife… uh, honey… wait, come back… I meant… oh boy, it’s a good thing I got the kid’s playhouse drywalled and painted… (The Washington Post did a profile story on my wife in Dec. 2007 on families of political hacks like me, and the challenges they face and in it she said she was totally on board…really).
Sorry for the diversion.
What you probably didn’t know, is that in April of 2004 I was working to help Rep. Pat Toomey (now the head of the Club for Growth) beat Arlen Specter in a primary. Out of sheer desperation to help in any way I could, I hatched a plan to get conservatives across the country to use their cell phones to call into Pennsylvania and help get out the vote. I figured that most people had free weekends and we could get a lot of calls made, since Pat was creating a lot of buzz with conservatives across the country.
We also organized a phone bank in Phoenix and called around to get people to help. On election day, me and Rob and Marne Haney and a handful of others were there calling away. (Yes, Rob and I have been both in the same trench and in opposite trenches in many a battle).
In the end, we organized and produced about 25,000 phone calls into PA from out of state for Toomey.
But here was the killer. The Bush folks insisted on campaigning for Specter. And I don’t mean the casual fly-in, tarmac visit. Bush went into Pennsylvania at least four times in the last few weeks and also did a TV commercial. The White House argument was that Specter as the nominee gave Bush a better chance to win PA. I argued (vigorously) that if Specter was the nominee, conservatives would be deflated and Bush would lose PA. (Which ended up happening).
In the end, the President’s help made the difference and Toomey’s grassroots army (both in-state and out-of-state) couldn’t overcome it… but they came darn close. Toomey lost the primary to Arlen Specter by one vote per precinct.
So, the next time someone says that one vote doesn’t matter, tell them that it was “one vote” that gave us a nearly $1 Trillion “stimulus” package.
Thanks President Bush.