Arlen Specter Hub

Arlen Specter, Sen. Who Backed And Then Opposed DOMA, Dies At 82


Arlen Specter spent nearly three decades in the U.S. Senate, and before that he made a national name for himself as part of the Warren Commission that investigated John Kennedy's assassination, eventually helping pen the "single-bullet theory" that claimed Kennedy and then-Texas Gov. John Connally were hit by the same bullet. Today Specter's son confirmed that the former Senator, defeated during the Tea Party rise of 2010, has died of cancer, a disease he has battled since 2005. He was 82.

Specter was always a divisive personality in Washington, particularly toward the last few years of his career, like in 2009, when the Pennsylvania senator left the Republican Party after 44 years to become a Democrat. It was that same year that Specter came out in opposition of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal ban on marriage equality he himself supported in 1996.

"Enacted 13 years ago when the idea of same sex marriage was struggling for acceptance, the Act is a relic of a more tradition-bound time and culture," he said at the time. "Connecticut, Iowa, and Massachusetts have already passed laws recognizing same sex marriage and other states are moving in that direction. The states are the proper forum to address this divisive social and moral issue, not the Federal Government with a law that attempts to set one national standard for marriage."

Specter also supported the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and urged Congress to pass an LGBT-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

In 2010, Specter ran in the Democratic primary to retain his Pennsylvania seat, but was defeated by Joe Sestak. In the years since, Specter has spent his time helping Philadelphia University sift through his extensive archives and personal records to help form the basis of what will be The Arlen Specter Center for Public Policy at Philadelphia University, a center where the long-serving senator's often complicated and always intriguing legacy will live on.

Sestak Defeats Specter in PA; Rand Paul Gives Tea Party Win in KY

Rep. Joe Sestak ended Senator Arlen Specter's three-decade career last night, defeating him in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary despite strong support for Specter from the party.

The Hill reports: Sestak  

"Specter switched his party allegiance last year to salvage his career, but the Democratic primary electorate preferred Rep. Joe Sestak as its nominee. With 65 percent of precincts reporting, the two-term congressman had 53 percent of the vote to Specter’s 47, according to unofficial results. The Associated Press called the race for Sestak, according to MSNBC, which also projected that Sestak will win. Sestak's win over Specter is all the more surprising because it came despite the Democratic establishment going firmly for the senator. President Barack Obama helped him raise money, appeared in his TV commercials and lent his voice to a robocall. Vice President Joe Biden also campaigned for Specter."

The WaPo notes that Sestak followed the same path that allowed Hillary Clinton to win the Pennsylvania primary over Obama.

Margaret Carlson in Salon credits a campaign ad for the Sestak win

"His late surge owes a lot one of the most brilliant ads ever made, one vividly showing Specter's double life being warmly endorsed by two presidents of opposite parties. In it, we see Bush calling Specter a team player he could count on, clasping his hands; Sarah Palin and former Sen. Rick Santorum have cameos. In the other ad, we see Obama shouting out the love and intoning, "You know he's going to fight for you." ... In the end, Specter turned out to be a double incumbent in a year when it is better to be an incumbent of no party at all. Sestak held his fire until the end. By the weekend, Specter was begging for White House help and he got none, despite Obama being next door in Youngstown, Ohio and Biden in his backyard speaking at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia."

In other news, Rand Paul defeated Trey Grayson in the Kentucky GOP Senate primary:

"Paul, the son of former presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, on Tuesday gave a tea party activist a key win in a statewide election that could embolden the fledgling political movement in other states. With 43 percent of precincts reporting, Paul was leading with 60 percent to Grayson's 36 percent. 'It's just a tremendous mandate for the tea party,' Paul said. 'It cannot be overstated that people want something new; they don't want the same old, same old politicians and I think they think the system is broken and needs new blood.'"

Senator Arlen Specter: Repeal DOMA, Pass ENDA, Rescind DADT

In a piece in the Huffington Post, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) calls on Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

Specter "Connecticut, Iowa, and Massachusetts have already passed laws recognizing same sex marriage and other states are moving in that direction. The states are the proper forum to address this divisive social and moral issue, not the Federal Government with a law that attempts to set one national standard for marriage. Prohibition showed just how difficult it is to enforce law establishing standards of personal behavior or morality. Coercion, whether civic or legal, in matters of this kind rarely works. It certainly won't halt public controversy surrounding the issue."

Specter also spells out his thoughts on hate crimes, ENDA, and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #555

ARLEN SPECTER: Calls GOP a "party of obstructionism" on this weekend's Fox News Sunday.

MONOGAMOUS: The latest video from NYC downtown band Whore's Mascara.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Anti-gay NJ gubernatorial candidate loves GWB: "There's no mystery to the fact that I was appointed to this job because, in part, I had a relationship with the President of the United States. Anybody who receives a political appointment -- I am a political appointee -- there's going to be some measure of politics involved with that appointment."

SWINE FLU: Bill Maher questions vaccines. Does this make him an anti-evolutionist?

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Joe Wilson Speaks About 'Liar' Outburst; Obama Accepts Apology


Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) talked to the press about his outburst at Obama during last night's joint session of Congress. 


Since the outburst, angered Americans have raised nearly $150,000 $450,000 for his opponent Rob Miller. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she considered gaveling the congressman out of order "but decided against calling out the South Carolina Republican in front of a national audience," according to Politico. Some wingnuts are trying to argue that Wilson's outburst was provoked by the stress of having four kids in the military.

Senator Arlen Specter has called for the censure of Wilson.

Obama said he has accepted Wilson's apology: "I'm a big believer that we all make mistakes."

Watch Wilson's and Obama's interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Joe Wilson Speaks About 'Liar' Outburst; Obama Accepts Apology" »

Arlen Specter Health Care Town Hall Nearly Gets Physical

Specter1   Specter2

A health care town hall hosted by Senator Arlen Specter nearly got physical when a participant began shouting after he wasn't one of the 30 chosen to ask a question. Yelled the man: "One day, God's gonna stand before you. And he's gonna judge you and the rest of your damn cronies up on the Hill -- and then you will get your just desserts."


Continue reading "Arlen Specter Health Care Town Hall Nearly Gets Physical" »


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