Did the No Labels folks read Arlen Specter's speech?
The No Labels website links to the farewell speech by Sen. Arlen Specter (D/R/D-Pa.). I guess they must search for the word "civility," but next time they should actually read the speech before offering it as a model of public decorum.
Specter, nicknamed Snarlin' Arlen, lived up to his nickname. First, he insulted the Supreme Court:
Congress should act to try to stop the Supreme Court from further eroding the Constitutional mandate of separation of power. The Court has been eating Congress's lunch by invalidating legislation with judicial activism after nominees commit under oath in confirmation proceedings to respect Congressional fact finding and precedents. The recent decision in Citizens United is illustrative. Ignoring a massive Congressional record and reversing recent decisions, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito repudiated their confirmation testimony and provided the key votes to permit corporations and unions to secretly pay for political advertising - effectively undermining the basic democratic principle of the power of one person/one vote. Roberts promised to just call balls and strikes and then moved the bases.
You'd never guess that the court's opinion was rendered in scholarly tones by Justice Anthony Kennedy on First Amendment grounds.
Next up for a tongue-lashing:
While political gridlock has been facilitated by the Senate rules, partisanship has been increased by other factors. Senators have gone into other states to campaign against incumbents of the other party. Senators have even opposed their own party colleagues in primary challenges. That conduct was beyond contemplation in the Senate I joined 30 years ago. Collegiality can obviously not be maintained when negotiating with someone simultaneously out to defeat you, especially within your own party
The nerve of them -- campaigning! No word how switching parties to better one's own primary chances figures into that.
Then we have this gem:
Senator Lisa Murkowski lost her primary in Alaska. Congressman Mike Castle was rejected in Delaware's Republican primary in favor of a candidate who thought it necessary to defend herself as not being a witch. Republican senators contributed to the primary defeats of Bennett, Murkowski and Castle. Eating or defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism. Similarly, on the other side of the aisle, Senator Lieberman could not win his Democratic primary.
Well, there is one way in which Specter represents the spirit of No Labels. Never having a conviction greater than the desire for his own re-election, he distinguished himself in a body full of opportunists and managed to annoy and disappoint both sides of the aisle. Hey, he's out of a job -- maybe he can head up the No Labels group and help them preach about civility, but only for everyone else.
| December 23, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Categories: Senate Democrats, Senate GOP
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