A star is about to be born. Emerging from the shadows of a re-election that came entirely due to the intervention of George W. Bush and Rick Santorum, Senator Arlen Specter is poised to become the latest darling of the Old Media (in fact, we may soon be subjected to John McCain crooning another Streisand standard: "You don't send me flowers anymore").
Specter, without waiting for the dust to settle from the election, has served notice that, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he will oppose President Bush's Conservative Judicial appointments.
To describe Specter's action as ungrateful understates the case. Specter is a world-class jerk. But surely Bush and Rove knew that before they statergerized to help him fend off Conservative challenger, Pat Toomey, in the GOP Primary Election. If they didn't know, it was not for want of Conservatives telling them so.
Now, Specter has the opportunity to bask in the adulation of the Old Media, and to be sought after by Liberal news shows as a font of sage pronouncements. Specter's Sunday Morning schedule won't have been this full since his days as an Altar Boy.
But, there is one more election that Specter has to win, before being coronated as "the conscience of the Republican Party." In the next few weeks the GOP Senators will meet to choose their leadership. If the Republicans have finally pinched themselves and realized that they are actually in the majority, they will behave like it and smack down Senator Specter from the Judiciary Chairmanship he covets. If Specter promises not to make too big a fuss, the Republicans should let him keep his Veterans Affairs Committee Chairmanship.
Enforcing some Party Discipline with Specter would not only serve the immediate interest of moving the President's Judicial nominations to confirmation, but remind renegades like Collins, Snow and Chaffee, that there's a new sheriff in town.
I long to see the following press release issued by Bill Frist, after the Republicans meet to choose their leadership:
"the Republican Senate caucus, recognizing the need to bring a divided nation together, has decided on a plan of Power-Sharing in the upcoming session. Our Republican Senators have chosen Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama to Chair the Judiciary Committee, so that power in the national government will henceforward be shared as follows: federal judges will decide cases, based on the laws passed by the People's elected representatives, who will in turn have the sole authority to pass laws. The People's elected representatives will refrain from deciding court cases, and the judges will refrain from making laws. Our caucus feels that this novel arrangement will help to heal the wounds of a divisive and sometimes bitter election campaign."