Sen. Arlen Specter probably used to dream about being on the front page of the New York Times. But now it’s part of his ongoing nightmare. The Gray Lady rubs in what many are saying privately:
Under intense analysis of his every move and utterance, Mr. Specter canceled a scheduled appearance on Wednesday night on “Larry King Live” on CNN.
Behind the scenes, he was scrambling to find money to save the jobs of several aides after losing the payroll authority that came with his committee and subcommittee chairmanships as a Republican.
Mr. Specter also issued a statement on Wednesday insisting that he would ultimately regain his seniority on Senate committees, which Democrats for now have stripped away. But there are no guarantees.
So it goes for Mr. Specter, a political chameleon who started out as a Democrat, spent 43 years as a Republican and abruptly switched parties last week in a naked bid to save his political career.
Mr. Specter, who is up for re-election next year, concluded that he could not win a Republican primary.
But he is having trouble fitting in. He voted against the Democrats in his first two big votes since the switch, opposing the Democratic budget and helping defeat a measure to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages for troubled homeowners.
Gosh, it’s almost like the Times doesn’t like the new Democratic senator from Pennsylvania. Well, some of his colleagues sure don’t. The ever cheerful Sen. Claire McCaskill pipes up: “He’s kind of a man without a country now.”
Perhaps falling into the “pity” category, McCaskill then adds that it will only be rocky “for a little while as people get used to him.” She should talk to her Republican colleagues about how long it takes to get used to Specter. Really, how does one get used to a non-stop gaffe machine and wildly unpredictable colleague who made known his sole concern is getting re-elected?