Maybe the most telling shot across the bow of Arlen Specter came yesterday from a man who hasn’t even been sworn in yet as a senator: Sen-elect John Thune, the man who will succeed Tom Daschle.
Here are Thune’s comments from yesterday on This Week, as reprinted in the Frontrunner, when asked if he would support Specter for the Judiciary Committee Chairmanship …
I think all that’s going to be decided…next week when we get in for orientation and as the leadership begins to make committee assignments. There’s some proposals about changing the rules to give the leaders more latitude when it comes to making those types of assignments. The seniority system in the Senate is something that’s worked for a long time, but I do — I am troubled by what Senator Specter said. And I think he quickly, as you noticed, came back and said that he had misspoke. … My assumption is that, if he’s going to be the person that’s going to be set forward by the leadership, that we’ll all support him. … But I think it’s going to depend upon an understanding from many of us, particularly new members, the freshmen who are coming in, who are concerned about the things that he said and were, many of us, elected, you know, because we spoke about the importance of judges and having judges on the bench who are going to be judges who interpret and apply the Constitution, the laws of the United States. So I suspect there’s going to be — there will be some questions asked by those of us who are coming in as freshmen who ran our campaigns and built around that very central theme that we need to have good judges on the bench.
The question now, I think, is less whether Specter will keep his chairmanship through this process as whether he’ll hold on to any of his remaining <$NoAd$>dignity.
And it doesn’t look too promising.