But for the wrong reason. Arlen Specter is worthless.
Last week, I took off from work a little early to go watch the Teabagger Traveling Freakshow that set up shop to "protest" President Obama's visit to our greene countrye towne to fund raise for Arlen Specter.
If you don't know who or what the teabag "movement" is, you're luckier than I am. They're the fringy little group that thought Grampa McCain and the Crazy Lady were the better choice for the 2008 election, and they've been busy whipping themselves into a frenzy of stupid ever since. They believe Barack Obama is simultaneously a Nazi and a Communist. They hate socialized medicine, but love Medicare. A surprising number of them actually believe the president is the anti-Christ. Tell them the sky is blue, and they will insist that it's plaid -- and believe it.
Obviously, I have long since stopped trying to deal with these people with anything other than mockery and derision. To the oblivious elderly woman holding a sign reading "socialized medicine makes me sick," I shouted "At your age you HAVE to be getting Medicare! Socialized medicine is keeping you ALIVE!"
To the brain-free white guy -- they were all white -- holding the sign reading "government isn't the solution, government is the problem," I hollered: "Why are you defaming those nice policemen who are protecting your right to free speech? You should apologize to them!"
He didn't get it.
Another held a sign saying "Keep your laws off my grandparents," which made no sense at all. So I yelled: "What if your grandparents rob a bank or drive drunk?"
One thing I did share with this ship of fools throwing a tantrum across the street was a general dislike for Arlen Specter, albeit for very different reasons.
I'd been a little testy about the budget standoff in Harrisburg, which for the moment seems to be over. When nonprofits don't get paid -- and payments came to a standstill during the crisis -- all sorts of people suffer: the elderly, abused children, foster families, people with mental health problems, and kids with special needs. Forcing Philadelphia to its knees, making the city more dangerous and ugly, and ruining the business climate here wouldn't just be bad for Philadelphians, it'd be a disaster for the whole state.
Guess what? It turns out tons of the budget standoff was Arlen Specter's fault. After all, back when he was still a Republican, he worked to have $100 billion cut from President Obama's stimulus package -- all the better, supposedly, to prove his fiscal hawk bona fides to GOP primary voters. Only problem: Up to $1.6 billion of that money would've come to Pennsylvania.
And yet there was President Obama, yappin' away about his new buddy, calling Specter an "exceptional" senator who deserved credit for passing the stimulus package.
Whatever. Arlen dropped the "fighting people who sent him to Washington" like a pile of steaming dung when he realized they wouldn't vote for him is he ran for dogcatcher -- but not before making sure, on behalf of his former party, that the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania wouldn't get the funds he needed to lift the state out of its hole.
This is the guy the Democrats are getting behind? I guess so, because when I called Senator Casey's office, his staff members actually argued that Arlen Specter has always enjoyed the wide support of Democrats, and in fact that it was Democrats who helped him win the 2004 election.
"Really," I asked? "You really believe that?"
"Absolutely," said Casey's staffer. "In fact the very first time I voted in Pennsylvania, I voted for Arlen Specter. And so have my mom and dad, and my grandparents. And we are VERY loyal Democrats."
I resisted the urge to point out that voting for Republicans isn't exactly the best expression of party loyalty, and instead reminded the staffer of the massive push that Bush and Santorum made for Specter in 2004 when he was already losing a base that preferred Toomey.
Look, I understand that U.S. politics is largely an incumbency protection racket. That's why you see people like so-called San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi going all out to save corporate whore Al Wynn, and initially supporting common criminal William Jefferson. This is nothing new.
But it sure looked ugly, when the city of Philadelphia was narrowly avoiding layoffs and closed libraries, that the very guy who helped starve the state of much-needed budget relief was celebrated and feted in the very city that contributes the most and which stood to get hit the hardest.
And Barack Obama, Bob Casey and Ed Rendell want Pennsylvanians to swallow another six years of this garbage.
Cut and run
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