Arlen Specter was a Democrat. Then he was a Republican. Then he was a Democrat. Now he's trying to keep his seat in a primary battle against Representative Joe Sestak, a relative political newcomer from just outside Philly. Joe's got a little history worth recounting...you see, he's a retired Vice Admiral, an absolute legend in the Navy (and mostly not for good things).
This is an interesting race. I would likely give money to the Devil himself to run against Arlen Specter. No politician on the scene today has earned my scorn more completely. He is FAMOUS on Capitol Hill for his poor treatment of staffers and his sense of entitlement knows no bounds. I used to date a diplomat posted in Turkey--I'll never forget going to see her just a few days after a visit from Arlen Specter.....she was wiped out, as was much of the embassy, from the rigors of supporting this Philly Pasha.
Sestak is a story unto himself. He was essentially fired from the Navy--that is, when now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen was named to be Chief of Naval Operations, one of the earliest things he did was to tell Sestak his services were no longer required. You see, by the time Sestak had earned his third star, he had left a bloody wake. No officer in my time in the Navy had a more well-earned reputation for working people to death, for requiring hours and hours at nights and weekends to rework this or repackage that. There are people on active duty today who actually grow silent, or shake a little bit, when you start to talk with them about their time with Sestak.
But I always liked the guy. He is brilliant, there is no question of that. No one on his staff ever worked harder than he himself did--there was never a "you guys take care of this while I hit the golf course" about him. He was always very kind and gracious toward me--granted, in most of our interactions I was working closely with or for his boss--but he always had time to knock a few ideas around. When he first announced his candidacy for the House, one of his constituents--my brother, a.k.a Goldwater's Ghost--asked me what I thought of him. I told him the truth about his work habits and how tough he is on people, then said that I thought Sestak would make a very good Representative. I haven't tracked him closely in that job, so maybe GG can pipe up now and let us know how he's doing.
Sestak's way behind right now--but that won't last. He'll out-hustle Specter. He'll wear him down--not a hard thing to do with a man 20 years your senior, but it doesn't matter. Sestak would wear down someone 20 years his junior. The more PA Democrats get to see of Sestak, the more they'll like him--because he truly IS a Democrat, not solely an opportunist like Specter.
I'm going to give money to Sestak, even if it puts me on every single Democrat list there is, and I will do so for one reason. To knock Arlen Specter out. I will also give money to Sestak's general election opponent, Pat Twoomey--the first man I ever political money to--when he ran against Specter in the last Republican Primary. I want Twoomey in the seat--but I want Specter out of it more.