Friday, July 10, 2009

Arlen Specter's Stupidity Knows No Bounds

After playing the staff of another party switching jackass in softball, I checked my phone to see this message from Arlen Specter on Twitter:

Is this the record of a "true Democrat," @JoeSestak?
You read that correctly. Things get even worse when you click through to the linked article:

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter's campaign on Thursday seized upon U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak's voting record prior to his election in Congress three years ago, saying Sestak didn't pull the lever during 23 general elections between 1973 and 2002.

Sestak's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. We'll add comment as soon as we get it.

Sestak has been on the attack for weeks, casting Specter as a "flight risk" since his defection to the Democratic Party in April. Sestak has argued that he is the only "true Democrat" in the race for the party's nomination for U.S. Senate.

Specter has sought to respond to that by arguing that Sestak wasn't even a registered Democrat until 2006, when he ran for office for the first time. Sestak has told the AP that he registered as an independent during his career in the Navy because he didn't think it was appropriate to be affiliated with a political party.

“Congressman Sestak is a flagrant hypocrite in challenging my being a real Democrat when he did not register as a Democrat until 2006 just in time to run for Congress," Specter said in a statement. "His lame excuse for avoiding party affiliation, because he was in the service, is undercut by his documented disinterest in the political process."

The man who thought that coming out strongly against the Employee Free Choice Act would save his ass with the Republicans might have made an even dumber political move.

Where do you even start with something like this?

I guess you could begin by questioning why Specter is attacking his opponent with something that will immediately bring up his own biggest weakness. I can't fathom what braintrust decided to push the "Lifelong Republican calls Democratic isn't enough of a Democrat" line of attack, but I'm sure glad the aren't working for my candidate.

But besides violating the general rule of thumb that "Hypocrites shouldn't call other people hypocrites", his attacks on Sestak's "lame excuse" are pretty amazing. Chris Bowers:

Of course, Sestak was an Admiral on active duty until only a couple months before February 2006. So, what Arlen Specter is really doing here is criticizing Sestak for not being partisan enough during his time as an Admiral.

Lots of officers, including Colin Powell, do not register with a political party when they are still in the military. The basic idea is that you don't want to politicize the military leadership.

Would Arlen Specter rather that all Admirals and Generals state their political preference for the whole county to see? I'm sure that wouldn't cause any problems at all.

Now, I am a partisan, and I argue that more Democrats should be active partisans. However, it also strikes me as Honduran-ly obvious that high ranking military personnel should most definitely not be partisans while they are still in the service.

Further, to call a veteran a "hypocrite" for only becoming a partisan after he left the service is to deny all veterans the right to fully participate in American political life. Once you leave the service, you should be allowed to become as much of a partisan as you want, free from charges of "hypocrisy" simply because you served your country in a non-partisan way.
I'll add something else that Bowers didn't mention. Regardless of the fact that Sestak was in the military, should Specter really be bringing up how people voted in past elections? Does he realize that most Democrats would gladly take Sestak's record over someone who voted Republican, endorsed Republicans and WAS AN ELECTED REPUBLICAN SENATOR for each of those 23 elections? Is this really the conversation he wants to be having?

The fact that he responded so strangely shows that:
a) He's nervous.
b) He's not very good at this.

Frankly, why should he be good at this? He's a Republican politician running in a Democratic Primary!

With Sestak as a serious challenger and Specter incoherently flailing around, this race keeps looking better and better for the (actual) Democrats.

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