As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Party-Switcher Blames Opponent For Not Being Partisan

A clumsy, lame attempt by Arlen Specter to box in Joe Sestak.

"Congressman Sestak is a flagrant hypocrite in challenging my being a real Democrat when he did not register as a Democrat until 2006 just in time to run for Congress," Specter said in the statement. "His lame excuse for avoiding party affiliation, because he was in the [military] service, is undercut by his documented disinterest in the political process."

This would be because then-Admiral Sestak was on active duty until February 2006, and it's fairly standard practice for active-duty members of the military, particularly in the officer class, to maintain political neutrality. I don't want ranking military personnel registered with a political party for obvious conflict-of-interest reasons. Here's Sestak's response:

We've learned today that Arlen Specter can abandon his party, but he just can't quit making Republican swift-boat attacks on the integrity of Democrats who served in our military.

Like Colin Powell (who was also registered as an Independent while he served), I believe that military officers should be nonpartisan. The military depends on cohesion and unity, and the defense of this nation must never be political. I'm proud that I was an Independent during my 35 years in the Navy, and I was proud to register as a Democrat as soon as I retired from active duty.

Let's be clear: I voted for Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama while Arlen Specter was voting for George Bush and Bob Dole and John McCain. My question to Arlen Specter is this: do you regret voting for George Bush and John McCain? Why should Democrats support someone like you who actively campaigned - as recently as last year - for politicians with values like George W. Bush?

Needless to say, the very fact of Specter, who just switched parties a couple months ago, questioning the partisanship of anyone else is awkward, too.

Sestak needs to quit the Hamlet act and get in the race. But he's a much better campaigner than Specter, if this is any indication.

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