Friday, November 19, 2004
The New York Times > Washington > Judiciary Panel Backing Specter as Its Chairman
Sigh. I am particularly frustrated by the Republican committee members' quick commitment to Arlen Specter as Judiciary Chairman. The atmosphere of 'collegiality' that I so despise in the United States Senate is very much alive and well.
I know the arguments for Specter: he has supported Bush's nominees, he opposes judicial filibusters, yadda, yadda, yadda. I also recognize that, theoretically, the Republicans could remove Arlen from the Chair if he stabs a Bush nominee in the back. I find those arguments unconvincing. They ask us to trust Specter to act in conservatives' interests when he has a long record of fighting those interests. Specter votes conservative values only when he has an upcoming election that requires him to secure the Republican base. That impetus no longer exists.
Some say the prospect of being removed from the Chair will secure Specter's loyalty, but I find that unlikely, too. It is simply too disruptive and would cause too much bad publicity (the mainstream media would have a field day with stories of Republican intolerance, etc.) to do so. Once he is in power, he is in power. End of story.
Next time my Senator, John Cornyn, is up for re-election, I fully intend to vote for his primary opponent as a protest vote (cetera parabis). I have no illusions that Senator Cornyn will lose the primary, but I want to send him a message: he ignores the political philosophy of conservative voters at his peril.
If qualified candidates like Charles Pickering are blocked from the Supreme Court and Arlen Specter is in part responsible, then I'll vote for Cornyn's Democratic opponent. I'd rather have someone who is openly against conservative desires in office than someone who merely says they favor conservative positions, but caves in to peer pressure (and let's face it, that is what the 'collegiality' bit really is) when it counts.
If I seem embittered, well, perhaps I am. I recognize that blocking Specter from the Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee was going to be a difficult fight to win; however, I think Cornyn's commitment to Specter at this early date is unwarranted and unwise.