Arlen Specter | Democratic Party | News | Philadelphia | Republican Party

Gay Sex Stings Played Role in Arlen Specter's First Switch, to the GOP

Arlen Specter was originally a Democrat who was wooed by the Republican party in 1965. Specter explains he had an interest in being Philadelphia DA. At the time he was an attorney who had been investigating corrupt judges.

Specter Explains Specter in a C-SPAN interview: "They went after gays. They had a theater called the Family Theatre on east Market street where gays assembled and the vice squad would go and arrest them and take them before magistrates who would extort large sums of money to discharge them or then if they didn't pay off, to hold them, and I had convicted quite a number of magistrates in this probe and the head of the Democratic party didn't like that because these were a lot of very powerful political leaders."

Specter was then wooed to run on the Republican ticket.

Watch the interview with Book Notes, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via ben smith)

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Comments

  1. Interesting, very interesting! There just may be hope yet.

    Posted by: Mr. E | Apr 29, 2009 12:13:32 AM


  2. I noted that in his speech today, Sen Specter mentioned "civil rights" among the issues that were important to him. This paints a clearer picture, just as it sparks my curiosity about the man.

    Posted by: Rafael | Apr 29, 2009 12:59:11 AM


  3. Interesting indeed, if a little dated.

    Posted by: PM | Apr 29, 2009 5:19:14 AM


  4. Very commendable...in the mid-'60s at that!

    My other observation is how WEIRD it is that so many politicians switch parties for reasons other than their core beliefs not meshing with the party in which they currently find themselves. Like with Specter, he became a Republican and embraced many of its tenets because he was butting heads with Democratic party leaders on issues that had nothing to do with the party's platform. His new switch seems much more ideological (if also practical, since he would've lost a Republican primary).

    I wish we could get rid of Ben Nelson, though. It's great having close to 60, but would be greater to have close to 60 who were truly on our side.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Apr 29, 2009 7:27:40 AM


  5. Don't be fooled

    He switched in 1966 because the only opening was on the repub ballot the dem ballot had an incumbent. he switched so he could run for office

    Specter is an opurtunist. A poll came out a few days ago showing he will loose a repub primary to toomy by 21% so he switched.

    he is a schmuck who happens to slightly benefit dems in the short term . He said he can not be counted on to be the 60th vote = dems better slip him favors under the table if they want his 60th vote to break repub filibusters

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Apr 29, 2009 8:30:47 AM


  6. PS

    Penn has a sore looser law which prevents primary loosers from running in general as an indi. If the poll held true and he lost repub primary by 21% he could not do a Joe Leibeman. His only chance at 6 more yrs and retiring with FULL senatorial retirment benefits was to switch and hook his wagon to Obama's 63-69% aproval ratings. You better believe that if Obama eats a puppy on live tv and all american thus turns against dems the schmuck will switch back to repub faster than you could even imagine

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Apr 29, 2009 8:36:14 AM


  7. So he left one bigoted homophobic party for the most bigoted homophobic party. He's just another rat deserting the sinking ship.

    Don't buy the hype. Once a Republican, always a Republican. Here's hoping the Dems run someone viable against him in the next primary so we can get Specter's ass out of politics altogether.

    Posted by: Roscoe | Apr 29, 2009 9:16:08 AM


  8. Of course half the towleraod commenters would approve of those magistrates arresting gays for having "public sex."

    Posted by: KevinVT | Apr 29, 2009 9:16:19 AM


  9. roscoe

    part of the deal was the official dem party will not run anyone against him in the dem primary


    BUT that leaves room for the Unions to threaten to run an indie because of EFCA and splitting the votes specter would get as a dem. That would be great if the Unions tell him flat out they will not do such if he suddenly finds religion on EFCA and has a conversion.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Apr 29, 2009 9:39:38 AM


  10. Heterosexual police/ judges/ lawyers were falsely arresting/ entrapping gay men back then and continue to do it today. Yet we have a lot of dumb as rocks gay people believing everyone is arrested for "public sex" when in reality it's only gay men. LEARN! Stop listening to heterosexuals about anything other than heterosexuality because they don't know what they are talking about. Heterosexuals want you to believe they don't discriminate and that everyone get arrested. Wrong. Think on your own.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 29, 2009 10:22:21 AM


  11. ROSCOE,

    in 1965, IN LOCAL POLITICS, the Republican Party may have been more progressive than many local Democratic Parties. If I had to guess, maybe a third of all black folks and many liberals in Philadelphia may have been Republicans in 1965. Goldwater, Nixon & Reagan had completely taken over the party of Lincoln at that time. There was Republican corruption, of course, but the local Democratic machines in New York, Philly, Newark, Detroit, Chicago, etc were no friends of blacks or homosexuals.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 29, 2009 10:42:06 AM


  12. Arlen Specter is a snake. If the Democrats had any class and balls, they would tell Specter "thanks, but no thanks." Whatever one thinks of the Republicon Party, they did support Specter when he was on the ropes against his Republican challenger, gave him funds for his reelection from national campaign coffers and the choicest seat in the Senate, the chair of the judiciary committee. What does Arlen do? He sees a tough primary challenge from one of his former party's rising wing-nuts and he runs. To me it's about loyalty. Remember, Specter first defected from the Democratic Party to the Republicon Party back in the 1960s. Like I said, the guy's a snake.

    Posted by: mike | Apr 29, 2009 2:18:45 PM


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