Commentary on the present and future of culture, politics, economics, and social values................... "At any given instant/All solids dissolve, no wheels revolve,/And facts have no endurance." W.H. Auden.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


It is fascinating to watch grassroots democracy at work: it is one of the results of the 2004 election. The opposition to appointing Senator Specter as chairman of the Senate Juduciary Committee is a case in point.

It is clear that the opposition was not satisified just to express opposition. Its campaign is continuing and growing - and it is having effect. Radio ads have now appeared opposing Specter, adding to the email, telephone calls, and faxes that have poured into Senators' offices.

And the opposition is widening to issues other than Specter's stand on abortion. His voting record shows that he opposes tort reform, a major feature of President Bush's agenda for his new term. Fearing that he would use the position of chairman of the Judiciary Committee to derail tort reform, conservatives have mounted an even more strenuous effort to stop his appointment.

Senator Specter wants the chairmanship badly, and he is willing to go to humiliating lengths to assure he gets it. He is meeting with Senators privately to try to reassure them on the question of a litmus test on abortion for judicial appointments. He will be asked to make a public statement to that effect, and expect him to do so. Texas Senator Cornyn said it clearly: "I know that private conversations are sometimes remembered differently in the future. That's why it's important to memorialize things in a public fashion where everybody's clear on what the understanding is." Translation: to get the chairmanship, Specter will have publicly to reject his own pro-abortion stand.

The irony: Specter will do anything to get the chairmanship, but the commitments he has to make in order to get it will make it inpossible for him to do the job with integrity! Will Specter understand this finally and drop out?

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