Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Santorum's Specter of Defeat

What if.

What if Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and therefore a front line player in the Supreme Court dustup which is approaching like a voracious tornado, somehow manages to step on the toes of those who are seeking a "true believer" on the bench? It could happen. Specter is an odd duck these days; a somewhat less than crazy Republican, who, it seems, does not tie his entire political past, present and future to Biblical prophesy. Arlen is also suffering from serious health issues, having been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease some months ago. A life-altering diagnosis such as that has a way of clarifying your thoughts.

What I find fascinating, however, is how all this could impact Specter's junior colleague, Sen. Rick Santorum. Rick is a far right-wing idealogue, who brooks no variation from the Fundie playbook. He defines himself and sets his political compass not by what is best for our nation or for the State of Pennsylvania, but by what he thinks is best for his family. In other words, he has a personal religious, dominionist philosophy which all residents of PA are supposed to adopt -- or go to Hell. Literally.

Santorum's problem is that he, in a very public way, endorsed Specter over super-conservative Pat Toomey in the last primary. It did not make Rick's base happy. As is so often the case with such intensely Christian and understanding people, they whined and screamed and threw tantrums. And they didn't forget.

So now, if Specter doesn't put his feet in the strirrups, swing both legs over the Bush nominee and straddle that person for all it's worth, Rick may be the one who pays the price. Arlen, good or bad, ill or well, is serving his last term. And if this doesn't go the way Santorum hopes it does, he may be also.