Arlen Specter is never one to get hung up on principles. Or demonstrate that he has any. In his new quest to out-liberal the liberal Democratic competition in his newfound party’s primary, he’s come out against the Afghanistan surge. Yes, the president wanted Specter on “his side,” and this is what it looks like. The pleasant surprise is his opponent, as Politico reports:
[Rep. Joe] Sestak, Specter’s more progressive-minded opponent, supports the surge however — and he has come out guns blazing, deriding Specter in an interview with POLITICO this week as a flip-flopper for “vot[ing] for the war in Iraq — and now he’s against a troop increase.”
“Sestak has routinely argued that Specter is not a real Democrat and his roots with the Republican Party run deep. He can add now the argument that Specter really has no principles here, and is just opposing the war surge for votes,” said Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll.
Sestak is a retired admiral who’s chosen not to run from the president on this one: “President Obama has presented a plan that will allow us to finally complete a mission that is as indispensable today as it was eight years ago: the elimination of the Al Qaeda terrorists who struck us on 9/11,” he declared. I suspect Sestak will suffer not at all from his position and gain some support from many former GOP voters who may have changed party registration in 2008. If so, it will be a lesson that politicians — the president included — should do the right thing and trust the voters to reward those who advocate smart national-security policy.