The non-story of the Century.

Is this really the story of the century or just another BFO (blinding flash of the obvious)?

Was anyone on the right really surprised to hear that Arlen Specter jumped ship to become a Democrat? My answer would be only the na├»ve. Given Specter’s voting record and middle-to-left stance on most of the issues conservatives hold dear, this should come as no great revelation.

Specter is only formalizing what has been suspected, finally acknowledging the 300 pound donkey in the room so to speak. Any serious examination of Specter’s voting history would have revealed that he was a liberal sympathizer at best and a closet liberal at worst.

Let’s take a look at his voting history in the hopes of finding some clarity:
(The following information was obtained from

On Abortion:

Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP. (Mar 2008)

Voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (Mar 2008)

Voted NO on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)

Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)

Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)

Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)

Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)

Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)

Voted NO on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)

Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)

Voted NO on banning human cloning. (Feb 1998)

Rated 21% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)

Expand embryonic stem cell research. (Jun 2004)

Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance. (Dec 2006)
Protect the reproductive rights of women. (Jan 1993)

On Budget and Economy:

Voted NO on paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness. (Mar 2007)

Voted YES on $40B in reduced federal overall spending. (Dec 2005)

Voted NO on prioritizing national debt reduction below tax cuts. (Apr 2000)

Voted NO on 1998 GOP budget. (May 1997)

Voted YES on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment. (Mar 1997)

Maintain & enforce existing spending caps in the future. (Sep 1998)
On Civil Rights:

Oppose gay marriage but support civil union. (Oct 2004)

Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)

Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)

Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)

Voted NO on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)

Voted YES on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)

Voted YES on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)

Voted NO on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)

Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)

Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)

Voted YES on Amendment to prohibit flag burning. (Dec 1995)

Voted NO on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds. (Jul 1995)

Require 90 day delay for compliance before ADA lawsuits. (May 2002)

Limit interstate class-action lawsuits to federal courts. (May 2002)

Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)

Rated 67% by the HRC, indicating a mixed record on gay rights. (Dec 2006)

Rated 32% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)

On Immigration:

Voted YES on continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities". (Mar 2008)

Voted YES on comprehensive immigration reform. (Jun 2007)

Voted YES on declaring English as the official language of the US government. (Jun 2007)

Voted NO on eliminating the "Y" nonimmigrant guest worker program. (May 2007)

Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)

Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program. (May 2006)

Voted YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security. (May 2006)

Voted YES on giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship. (May 2006)

Voted YES on visas for skilled workers. (May 1998)

Voted NO on limit welfare for immigrants. (Jun 1997)

English immersion over bilingual education. (Jul 2001)

Rated 16% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance. (Dec 2006)

There’s more but no sense in reproducing it all here take a look for yourself. Truthfully his voting record is a bit schizophrenic, at times leaning right and others left and even at times apparently contradicting earlier stances (for example being rated simultaneously pro-life and pro-choice).

It seems that he voted with the Voted with Republican Party 67.1% of 322 votes but I would argue that it is a case of quantity versus quality. His most recent votes seem to be more of note. Voting counter to the Republican majority on issues such as the stimulus.

It may well be that somewhere deep in his soul he is slightly more conservative than liberal but that seems to take a back seat to his desire to remain in office. It is likely that his change is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to be reelected in a state that he perceives as being more Democratic. I’m hoping he is wrong and gets thoroughly hammered for his lack of principles.

Who knows if his ploy will be successful? It is better to have him counted among the opposition as opposed to acting as a sleeper cell among our own ranks. The name change matters little if it was his intent to vote with the Democrats anyway. The semantic shift affects the balance of power little considering his recent voting record.

I say good riddance to Arlen Specter RINO extraordinaire. Now if we can just get rid of the rest of them (starting with Snowe and Collins) we can begin to build a party that conservatives can once again be proud of.

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