Should President Obama dump Joe Biden as his running mate and replace him with Hillary Rodham Clinton?
Arlen Specter was asked that hot-potato question, circulating in some Democratic circles, in a meeting Tuesday with the Inquirer Editorial Board.
His answer showed that the former 30-year senator hasn't lost his knack for blunt talk – nor, perhaps, his bitterness over what he feels were slights from Obama during his own failed 2010 reelection campaign.
He suggested that maybe Obama was the one who should be dumped.
“That's the second-best alternative,” he said of replacing Biden. “A better alternative is to make Hillary the [presidential] nominee. As long as we're talking about dumping, let's go to the core problem.”
As I read through the whole story, a few paragraphs jumped out at me:
A Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat again, Specter had harsh words for a Republican Party in Washington that he said has taken over by tea partiers and right-wingers.
He declined to answer when asked if Rick Santorum, his former Senate colleague from Pennsylvania, was a viable candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.
And the article notes that, in the book Mr Specter is hawking, he was annoyed that President Obam
a didn't do much to help him in the 2010 Democratic senatorial primary against then-Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA), a race he lost to Mr Sestak, who then lost the general election to former Representative Pat Toomey (R-PA)
The ingratitude displayed by this very bitter man is amazing. Then-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and President George Bush went to bat for Mr Specter in his 2004 primary campaign against Mr Toomey, a race he narrowly won. Yet now, he hasn't a kind word to say for Mr Santorum, who went out on a limb for him. After he got help from the Republicans in office in his 2004 primary campaign, and then betrayed their trust and confidence by switching to the Democrats, he wonders why President Obama wasn't more of a help in the 2010 Democratic primary; the idea that people don't normally help those with a record of betraying a trust to others doesn't seem to have occurred to him.
Of course, there might be another reason, too: President Obama and the Democrats never saw Mr Specter as anything more than a temporarily useful tool. In a contest with a newly-turned Democrat and an unquestioned Democrat, perhaps the Democrats in office actually did favor the long-time Democrat. Whether they did or not, the Democratic voters in Pennsylvania certainly did.
The Republican voters of Pennsylvania had given Mr Specter thirty years in the United States Senate, a trust he eventually betrayed, and yet he actually sees himself as the victim; nobody was faithful to him, nobody helped him.
Your editor is proud to say that he never voted for Arlen Specter. In the 2004 Republican senatorial primary, I voted for Pat Toomey. When the 2004 general election came along, and it was clear that the Senate race was not going to be close, and I wouldn't have to hold my nose to vote for the Republican candidate, I voted for Jim Clymer, running as the Constitution Party nominee.