Specter's Visit to Pittsburgh: Admits to Not Reading Stimulus
Specter's Visit to Pittsburgh: Admits to Not Reading Stimulus Plan
On April 17, 2009, Specter visited the Pittsburgh Golf Club to give attendees an update on the happenings in Washington D.C. and to field questions and comments. I attended this meeting hoping to get explanations for some of his actions in Congress. There were approximately 25 people in attendance and Specter arrived 20 minutes late.
Arlen Specter attempted to preempt any comments and questions about the wall street bailout and stimulus plan by first addressing them. He began by saying that he did not want to vote for the wall street bailout under the Bush administration, but was asked by Cheney for support so that Bush wasn't seen as another Herbert Hoover. I did not quite understand the logic behind this statement because Hoover, towards the end of his term, pursued legislative actions to combat the troubles of the economy, which were the gateway to FDR's New Deal. Was Cheney implying that Specter needed to help set the stage for new "New Deal" programs under the incoming presidency? Nevertheless, Specter reaffirmed his allegiance to the Republican Party rather than to his constituents whom overwhelmingly opposed this bailout.
Specter then spoke about the 'Obama Stimulus Plan'. He stated that something had to be done to prevent the U.S. from entering a depression. He stated that his choices were to do nothing or to support the stimulus plan, and he ultimately chose the lesser of two evils. Specter was asked several questions about the stimulus plan. When asked whether he read the entire stimulus plan, he admitted that his staff read it and provide him with a summary report. The answer is no, he did not read the bill. A young woman stated that she was very confused by his siding with the Democrats in support of the stimulus plan, and was concerned that she would never be able to retire. She asked Specter to further explain himself. His response was two-fold. First, he attempted to offset the stimulus vote with the Democrats with the occasions when he voted against the Democrats. He brought up the Card Check legislation several times as if this would somehow dampen the harshness of creating hundreds of billions of dollars of debt. Second, he would quite shockingly admit that he had no idea if the stimulus plan would even work, but he had to make a 'judgment call'.
I kid you not. These words actually came from the mouth of an elected U.S. Senator.
There were several other questions about the recent report released by the DHS about 'right wing extremists', health care, Somalian pirates, and growing the Republican Party. He expressed outrage towards the DHS report, and said it was a disgrace to veterans. I can't recall the health care question or response. His response to the pirate problem was to 'use force when necessary'. When asked how the Republican party could be grown, he indicated that the party should be like an umbrella, e.g., the Reagan era, and include anyone consistent with the fundamental principles of the party. I almost silently laughed hysterically when he stated that one of the principles was the ideology of a 'small government'. Specter has never been about small government.
Specter wanted to talk politics. He spent a majority of the time talking about his 2010 campaign. He attacked Toomey on multiple occasions, which was not surprising. However, what was surprising, was his sales pitch to support him. He basically said we should support him because Toomey had no chance of winning the general election and that Republicans needed to hold onto that seat to keep the U.S. Senate filibuster proof.
Specter is neither independent or principled like he proclaimed. His allegiance is to the party and not to his constituents. His only concern is staying in office. Specter confirmed what I already knew of him. I gave him a fair chance of making his case, but he instead made a case to support Toomey. Bye bye Specter.