Speculating on Specter

Forget Karl Rove, what’s up with Arlen Specter? The man who explained the magic bullet theory to the Warren Commission – my favorite piece of sketch comedy after “Who’s on first?” - the Senator who savaged Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings (Yes, I know he’s pro-choice but still, he’s always been too Orrin Hatch-y for me) has in the past few weeks declared his ideological independence. On Monday, he suggested Bush appoint Sandra Day O’Connor Chief Justice. The next day, he castigated Kenneth Tomlinson for politicizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“What gives?” I asked my dog.

He said, “Cancer. Specter’s dealing with a life-threatening disease.”

Which just goes to show you how stupid this dog is. I’ve had cancer and sure, it’s a transformative experience - before the doctor said “It’s cancer,” I thought the two scariest words in the world were “Everybody sing!” - but it’s not that transformative. I didn’t suddenly start dialing up Rush Limbaugh or join the NRA.

So here’s my theory. The former attack dog for the right found out what it’s like to be the subject of a right-wing attack when he ran for re-election in 2004. The Conservative Christians, for whom Spector’s pro-choice stand marks him as an apostate, ran their own candidate against him and savaged Specter as a “Moderate”.

The good news is – the strategy backfired. He didn’t become a less angry man, it’s just now he’s angry at them. “You think I’m moderate? I’ll show you what moderate looks like. Go ahead, make my day.”

That’s why I’m beginning to think progressives should get on the Gonzalez band-wagon. Yes, he’s been a White House flunky, yes, he’s approved torture, but sic those Christian conservatives on him and maybe he’ll do a Specter and turn on them.

…Unless of course, the whole Christian conservative attack on Gonzalez is a Karl-Rovean ploy to make someone like me will come up with that idea.