A Specter is haunting the 'Wingerdom ...
Actually, speaking of Sen. Specter, I want to make one point clear. Nothing I've written here should give anyone the impression that I feel any particular sympathy or concern for him in this brouhaha. He's very much made his bed. And I'm happy to see him sleep in it or, as the case may be, lose the privilege of sleeping in it, seniority notwithstanding.
I would even say that I would prefer
to see him removed from his (entitled) post as Judiciary Committee Chair rather than see him accede to it.
Allow me to explain why.
First, this is not a case where I'm hoping for things to get worse ("heighten the contradictions", so to speak) so that they can get better. Not at all.
If I thought he would provide any
moderating influence over the choice of Judicial Nominees in the next two or four years I would very much want him there. But everything that has happened over the last week (his public round of begging to be allowed to keep his post) suggests that he has been so thoroughly gelded that he will be a push-over for any and all nominees the White House might send up.
(If the White House is smart -- as I suspect they are but hope they're not -- they'll keep him right where he is since they have him right where they want him.)
I've heard it suggested that all he needs to do is get the gavel in his hand and then he can start to exert his own more moderate judicial philosophy, given that it would be much harder to strip a chairman of his post than deny it to him in the first instance. But little in Specter's background suggests to me that that is likely. And, to be frank, the current Bush-Frist axis
doesn't seem like a team that is particularly hung up on procedure. Since they're already threatening to end the filibuster rules, I don't see why they would hesitate to strip Specter of the gavel the first time he tried to derail a particularly right-wing nominee.
In other words, I think Specter has already lost the job, whether he takes up the position nominally or not. If he becomes Chairman he'll hold the post at the sufferance of Mullah Dobson
and the rest of the shura.
Given all that, better to have him stripped of the position since it would send a clear signal to the rest of the GOP moderates that their own power is equally contingent and their own status equally endangered.