The Truth About Specter

Everything they say about Sen.

Everything they say about Sen. Arlen Specter is true. I know this because Arlen Specter's 1998 reelection campaign was my first full time job. Staffers say he's a bastard. True. But in a good way—like a drill sergeant. After working on that campaign, I was ready for anything. The Specter alumni network includes thousands who have gone through the political equivalent of Parris Island. Conservatives say he’s not one of them. True. Let me say it more clearly than he did in his speech: Conservatives, Arlen Specter does not care about you. He does not like you, and he considered you a necessary evil in maintaining his Senate seat. Pennsylvania liberals think he may be in for a hard-fought primary, but that's unlikely. Democratic Gov. Rendell will ensure he gets a relatively safe ride through primary season. One of my jobs during the 1998 race was to advance different video shoots. Rendell, then Philadelphia's mayor, was filmed for one of Specter’s TV spots, which later helped him easily beat Democratic state Rep. Bill Lloyd. Don't expect Pennsylvania's junior senator, Bob Casey, to be an impediment. His dad, former Democratic Gov. Bob Casey, had a deep, lasting friendship with Specter, one that transcended politics. In 1998 another Casey son, Pat, ran for Congress, and I had strict instructions not to help his Republican opponent, Don Sherwood. National Republicans are rejoicing at the opportunity to replace a liberal Republican with a conservative Republican. These are mostly people who either (a) prefer to be a minority party rather than governing majority or (b) do not understand Pennsylvania's changing demographics, particularly in the four voter-rich swing counties outside of Philadelphia. In the end, we all get what we want: RINO-haters get to nominate a conservative. Democrats get a safe U.S. Senate seat. And Sen. Arlen Specter gets to add another six years to the nearly 30 he has served the public.Jordan Lieberman is president of Political World Communications, LLC, which includes Campaigns & Elections' Politics magazine, its training and political networking events and related properties.

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