“The president is well aware of what happened, when a number of his nominees were sent up, with the filibuster,” Specter added, referring to Senate Democrats’ success over the past four years in blocking the confirmation of many of Bush’s conservative judicial picks. “… And I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning.”
“Contrary to press accounts, I did not warn the President about anything and was very respectful of his Constitutional authority on the appointment of federal judges.
“As the record shows, I have supported every one of President Bush’s nominees in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor. I have never and would never apply any litmus test on the abortion issue and, as the record shows, I have voted to confirm Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice O’Connor, and Justice Kennedy and led the fight to confirm Justice Thomas.
Some people are interpreting this as a flip-flop, but if you read Specter’s words carefully, he is warning Bush about what the Democrats will do to obstruct his nominations. Pro-choice Democrats actually supported Specter for strategic reasons, because they thought it would help to have a pro-choice chair of the Judiciary Committee. The reason I supported Hoeffel is because, from day one, Specter was trying to have it both ways: he was pro-choice, but supported all the President’s judicial nominations. There really is no point in believing in anything if you aren’t going to actually stand up and support it.
A long time ago, Specter used to be a Democrat but changed party affiliation for political expediency. The message of his campaign was that he has “clout”, which just means he can get pork projects for Pennsylvania. Specter isn’t really pro-choice. He isn’t pro-life either. Specter doesn’t actually stand for anything. And that’s a shame, because considering that this will probably be his last term in the Senate, he could actually be the voice of moderation in the Republican Party that he imagines he could be.