I concede that Arlen Specter is a political charlatan. I understand why Olympia Snowe and Ben Nelson can aggravate both far ends of the political spectrum. I have to ask though whether the political realities of the world require both of these sane people to do what they know is best for their state and their nation. The fact of the matter is that most states do not allow politicians to run as an independent after losing a primary. I personally think these laws are awful because they have been created by people on the political fringe. The partisans and the crazies who often vote in primaries and scream RINO or DINO should not be allowed to hijack our democracy. Why should such a small portion of the electorate be allowed to dispose of a U.S. Senator who has served this nation in the Air Force, as a D.A. and a U.S. Senator for decades?
The people who secretly want to radically change this country hate America as it stands today and the concept of hard work to earn things on the left. The people on the fringe right want the Constitution to be read as if it were the 1700’s. They should NOT be allowed to hijack our democracy. The people on the far left have recruited Joe Sestak (who doesn’t agree with their agenda, but has chosen to play the part because he likes the power as anyone would)
Then we have the Tea Party crowd who simply seem to hate America as it stands today because we won’t reverse the social programs of the 1930’s and take America back to a much smaller, more sensible government in their view. These people are represented by the likes of Pat Toomey. Pat Toomey does NOT represent the majority view in this country and neither does Joe Sestak. Pat Toomey kept Arlen Specter worried about his far right flank for the last six years; he shouldn’t have had to worry about that and just focus on representing ALL of Pennsylvania. This means he will have to cast votes that both sides hate and many people back home hate, but you weigh the issues and cast a vote. Sestak has now forced Arlen Specter to worry about his left flank and thus vote for a BAD piece of health care legislation that simply creates more bureaucracy without giving people more private sector choices when it comes to health care. However, I applaud the creators of the bill for allowing portability and eliminating pre-existing condition discrimination among other qualities. I can write six essays on the good and bad parts of the health care bill, but no one will pay me to do so. I have come to the conclusion that this is a bad bill after talking to several small business owners in Iowa.
The fact of the matter is that Specter could have improved this bill if he did not have to worry about his left flank and Joe Sestak. He could have offered amendment allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines, but the extremes on the left said NO. The extremes on the right would have said NO to making health insurance companies subject to anti-trust laws because it would have ruined their concept of good capitalism. Monopolies are not good for capitalism and they are not good for America. Just in case anyone is going to say Ron Paul is the answer, he’s not. There would be even more monopolies and thus fewer employers if Ron Paul were in charge. The man lives and dies by the sword of a purist view of capitalism, the man is a radical in my view and hopefully a sensible Democrat in the Blue Dog mold of Shane Sklar will defeat that radical purist one day. Kucinich and others on the other end of the spectrum ought to just form “The We Will Tax and Regulate You to Death Because We Secretly Hate All Forms of Private Enterprise Caucus.” Kucinich and Paul are good for comedic impact, but they are not good for sensible, centrist debate. Rome will not burn unless we give the matches to the lunatics, be that the Tea Party crowd, Daily Kos, or any number of lunatics on the left.
Goldwater was wrong. Extremism is a vice in the defense of liberty and people like Arlen Specter are the only ones left who truly want to defend the sensible center any more. Liberty is in danger, but I will touch on that in Part 2. This is not Europe and we do not have a parliamentary democracy. We do not accept political extremes. I do not want robot legislators who just cast a vote without considering the consequences or reading at least key portions of the legislation.
For those who say that a few Senators from small states holding up a health care bill does make the U.S. Senate a Confederate body are wrong, yet well intentioned in their mind. They are wrong because if the U.S. Senate passes a good bill and it is signed by the President it becomes federal law and is something the entire country almost always has to abide by.
The laws are set up in an unfair way so that sensible people cannot run as independents in an easy fashion, if at all. People who want to scream term limits at the top of their lungs just want to see an extremist get elected instead of Arlen Specter. They can’t beat Specter so they have to take a shot at the man about him wanting to stay employed at a certain gig. The only person who should step down because he can no longer serve to full capacity in the United States is Robert Byrd and maybe both Senators from Hawaii who simply should not have run for re-election in all three cases because they are all so frail. Term limits is not the answer, it comes down to admitting your own mortality. There would be no need for term limits in the U.S. House if they got rid of the highly partisan gerrymandering system and quit packing so many liberal or conservative voters into a district so no one else can compete. Partisan politics is what will kill America; sanity and centrist politics are not likely to win out.