Arlen Specter, who spent 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the Senate offended Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measures with maverick votes and a frank cockiness that finally ended his career in politics, died Sunday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82
Specter, who had battled a number of major illnesses in recent years, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was a hard-driving former prosecutor described even by some admirers as sarcastic. But he stood well above many of his Senate colleagues in his combination of intelligence and effectiveness.
Specter won no lasting gratitude from either liberals or conservatives during his career, and he especially alienated women.
After yet another “betrayal” of Republicans on the 2009 stimulus plan, he was forced to make the most dramatic leap in a career that was full of them. But this time he did not make it across the chasm. Facing defeat in the 2010 Republican primary election, Specter surprised the nation by announcing in April 2009 that he was switching parties – for a second time. (In 1965 he switched from Democrat to Republican after winning election as Philadelphia district attorney on the Republican ticket in an end-run around the city’s Democratic machine.)
His Senate change delivered a veto-proof majority there to President Obama. But not for long. Pennsylvania Democrats, many of whom had voted against him for years, refused to accept his final conversion. The party change did not secure his position, however. He avoided the Republican primary but got smacked in the Democratic primary. His career ended.
- Arlen Specter, dead at 82 (illinoisreview.typepad.com)
- Former Sen. Arlen Specter dies at 82 (rawstory.com)
- Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter Dies [Rip] (gawker.com)
- Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter dead at 82 (riehlworldview.com)
- Former Senator Arlen Specter Dies of Cancer (voanews.com)
- Sen. Arlen Specter Dies At 82 (npr.org)
- Former Sen. Arlen Specter dead at 82 (dailykos.com)